Sriracha, it should come as no surprise, is loved by many. With 10 million bottles sold every year, the Irwindale, CA-based Huy Fong Foods (known almost exclusively for Sriracha, as well as its wonderful sambal oelek) slings staple groceries for a lot of people. Unfortunately, Huy Fong has been suffering from a shortage of red jalapeños grown specifically for the company.
With Sriracha expected to need a little bit of time to reboot itself before it lines the grocery aisles again, what brands are out there to fill the void in our fiery hearts? I tasted three different Sriracha alternatives: Harris Teeter’s take, Trader Joe’s version, and Lee Kum Kee's Sriracha chili sauce (this is found in most supermarkets). Here’s how they tasted.
Prices and availability are subject to change.
Harris Teeter Traders Sriracha Sauce
$3.49 from Harris Teeter
At first, Harris Teeter’s Sriracha isn’t too hot, but the spice quickly comes for you. It comes out of the squeeze bottle bright and shiny, like a candy button. It’s sweeter than the others, not unlike it was made with ketchup. I really hope that’s not the case. But, as for the answer you’ve come here for: Yes, this is a good substitute if you’re really starved for some ‘racha. But it’s not as good as the real thing.
Trader Joe’s Sriracha Sauce
Available in store
I have to tell you, it’s rare when I don’t like a Trader Joe’s product. This just isn’t working for me. Joe’s sauce is the mildest of the three, and the consistency is way too thin. It has no sense of thickness, just sweet, wet, chili-garlic sauce. I’m really disappointed, Joe. I thought I could trust you.
Lee Kum Kee Sriracha Chili Sauce
$15.95 for an 18-ounce bottle from Walmart
Uh … OK, I have seen this brand in grocery stores about 100 times now, and I have never once considered buying it. What wasted years. Chinese condiment brand Lee Kum Kee has put together an absolute banger here, with a thick, granular texture that really works. It’s very much in the gochujang neighborhood — pasty and almost fermented in flavor. I love the balance of the spice level and the garlic. This is not what I’d use as a substitute for Sriracha, though. Because now Sriracha might end up being a substitute for this.
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