When products hit shelves of high end and or trendy grocery stores it is a pretty good indicator that it will soon become explosively popular in Tokyo. I’ve been seeing granola and trail mixes, Greek yogurt but, the one thing that excites me more than anything is Rooster Sauce! Or Sriracha, as it is most commonly known.
For those who don’t know Sriracha it’s a widely loved condiment that hails from the U.S. Most people are a bit surprised to learn it was invented in America and became as ubiquitous as ketchup with zero marketing. The back story of how Rooster Sauce came to be epitomizes the American Dream. If you’re interested you can read about it here and here and here.
One of the biggest surprises when people visit Tokyo is how heat isn’t really a flavor profile in Japan. There are Sichuan pepper corns which evolved to suit a Japanese palate called sanshō, typically used with udon thick wheat noodels or unajyu eel over rice bowl. There is a seven chili pepper spice called shichimi tōgarashi used with noodles, sprinkled over grilled foods like yakitori and bowl foods donburi 丼. Rāyu which is a hot chili oil that is originally Chinese used in ramen but we don’t really use punch-in-your-face hot like Tabasco, habanero sauces and Sriracha.
As someone raised in the States, hot sauces are widely used and I even went as far as carrying my own bottle of Tabasco to sprinkle on foods at chain restaurants like Denny’s, IHOP, and diners. I used to douse almost all my food with Tabasco. When Sriracha came into the picture, I replaced Tabasco with it and used to carry my own bottle of that in my purse. I know, I’m weird.
I don’t really use hot sauce anymore, especially since moving to Japan but Sriracha has a special place in my heart. I never knew I could get excited over something as ordinary as hot sauce but when I saw these Sriracha potato chips, I had to buy them. And of course, document it here.