Saturday, August 18, 2018

Fusia Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce (Aldi)

As long as you don't expect this to be a knockoff of the "rooster" brand, this is good stuff.

There are those that believe thee original sriracha, manufactured by Huy Fong Foods, Inc. is the ONLY product that has the right to be called sriracha.  In fact, it even has the nickname “rooster sauce”, for the titular animal that appears on the front of the bottle.  I’m not a huge fan of hot stuff, which is to say, I don’t go around pouring hot sauce or anything of the ilk all over everything the way some people do, but I actually read about it in a Deadspin article of all places.  It discussed how the condiment was taking off, and suggested different ways of using it.  I don’t usually get caught up in mainstream media’s blatant advertising campaigns, but it just sounded so good, I had to track it down.

And so I did.  It wasn’t hard--even back in 2012, it was still fairly popular and available in almost any supermarket.  Over the course of the next year or two, my wife and I used it mainly as a condiment on tacos, giving them a delicious added heat that was far better than fast food hot sauce packets.  Eventually, we ran out, as is the case with everything.

But a year or so ago, we saw that Aldi was actually carrying their own off-brand of sriracha.  I was excited to try it, but my wife--who had gotten so accustomed to the flavor and heat of the original--was not.  I still bought a bottle, figuring that if it sucked, it was only a couple of bucks, and then used it a couple of days later in tacos.  Neither of us were completely sold, but I ended up liking it a lot more than my wife, who flat-out rebuked it.  She wanted nothing to do with the stuff, because it tasted nothing like what she was used to.  I was hesitant to agree, but was also leaning in that direction--it was okay, but not similar enough to really compete with the “rooster sauce”.

Well that’s the beauty of private label products.  Oftentimes, they are modeled after a national brand, often appearing exact (or as close as possible) to the originals, because that’s what consumers tend to clamor for.  They know if it tastes like the main brands do, only offered at a discount, people will gobble them up like candy.  But other times, for whatever reason (can’t get the formula for the original, etc.) they just kind of go their own way, creating something that stands on its own merits.  Likewise, sometimes consumers get so used to the taste of something that they can’t stand the thought of it tasting different, no matter just how good it is; it takes some time to re-calibrate taste buds that are expecting a certain taste, and come up with something totally different.  People just don’t have the time, or patience, for that these days.

Well let me just say that we inadvertently did our own study, and have discovered that our initial hatred was probably borne out of specific taste expectations from having gotten used to the original version: just yesterday we both came to the realization that this stuff is actually really, really good.  The test was accomplished simply by not touching the “rooster sauce” at all, and instead only enjoying Fusia’s version for over a year, which has eroded the flavor of the original out of our minds, and allowed us to focus on this as its own product.  The flavor is perhaps even more pronounced here, with the clear flavor of peppers dancing on the tongue before giving way to the sauce’s signature heat.

The heat level seems to be very similar between the two sauces--in fact, if memory serves me correctly, Fusia’s is actually a little bit hotter.  I remember the first time we used it, we both put on as much as we were used to with the national brand, and were surprised at just how hot it was here.  It’s not going to win over any heat connoisseurs, but the extra little kick means that even less goes a long way.  In all, we’ve had this bottle at least a year, probably even longer than that, and it’s still keeping “fresh” in our pantry.  If you have never tried the “rooster sauce”, or have an open mind to trying a sriracha that doesn‘t try to be like the national brand, and you happen to see these on store shelves, pick yourself up a bottle.  And if at first you don’t like it, give it time to win you over.  You just may be glad you did.

Overall: 7.5/10.  Purchasing this as a replacement for the national brand (aka “rooster sauce”), we both initially hated this.  But having not had the original for over a year, and instead settling on this for our sriracha needs, we both came around and realized that not only is this not as bad as we initially thought, but it’s actually really pretty good.  It doesn’t taste a thing like the other stuff, which we at first wrote off as its main reason for failing, but upon closer inspection, Aldi’s version actually has a more pronounced pepper taste.  If memory serves me correctly, I’m pretty positive this has slightly more heat, as well, but even if I am wrong, the spice level is very comparable.  If you can go in with an open mind--or, better yet, if you’ve never had “rooster sauce”--then this is a great pickup to add to the pantry.


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