WATCH: China’s 7 Best Hot Sauces
For far too long Shanghai's hot sauce lovers have had to suffer the indignity of subjecting their tastebuds to a handful of overpriced imported hot sauces. Now, thanks to the team over at The Hot Box they can once again feel the pleasure of gulping down a range of stomach-ulcer-inducing spicy sauces.
While the Hot Box offers a wide range of international sauces we decided to put them to the test and asked them to pick out a range of China's best hot sauces. Here're our favourites.
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Hands down the strangest tasting hot sauce on our list. Utilising purple perilla as the main ingredient, this lameizi hot sauce has a strong, flowery, slightly fennely taste to it. Definitely not one for dipping, we’d recommend adding it to a Chinese-style fish stew.
Spicy and incredibly fishy, this Lao Luzi hot sauce should be used in Malaysian and south east Asian cooking. Unless you have a thing for fishy flavours, we’d avoid dipping chips in it.
In terms of hotness, the Spicy Porcini sauce has a little bit of kick to it, but not enough to overpower the flavour of the mushrooms. Again this isn’t a sauce we’d recommend dipping chips into but it works wonders on a bowl of plain rice or noodles.
The first hot sauce on our list for traditional hot sauce lovers. The rod chilli catsup delivers a strong spicy kick to the taste buds. Despite it resembling a traditional oil-based Asian hot sauce, the Catsup has an initial vinegary flavour similar to many western hot sauces like Frank’s or Crystal.
The first of two Yingchao sauces to make our list. This one, lovingly nicknamed “El Diablo” by the guys over at The Hot Box, leaves a slow-building, spicy burn in the back of your throat. In terms of flavour, this Yingchao is much earthier than our other selection, and while good for dipping and mixing, we’d recommend those who dislike spice avoid this sauce in favour of our other Yingchao selection.
Yup, it’s yak meat in a hot sauce. Don’t let that put you off though, this sauce tastes incredible. If you’ve ever tried a beef cup noodle you’ll instantly recognise that the sauce tastes fairly similar to the spicy beef paste that you add to the noodle mix. We like it as a dip but can imagine adding it to a spaghetti bolognese or a Lanzhou noodle dish to give it a richer, more comprehensive flavour.
Less of a hot sauce, more of a salty paste comprised of ground-up halos and unicorn tears. If you only try one hot sauce on today’s list make sure it’s this.
Unlike the Yingchao Diablo sauce listed at #3, this version is very mild with just a slight spicy aftertaste. Despite having no meat, it tastes like a delicious cold chilli and works well as both a dip and as an ingredient to make a bland dish pop.
Find it: Building 4, 273 Jiaozhou Lu, near Xinzha Lu (胶州路273弄4号, 近新闸路)