The new keyring-friendly bottle of Sriracha means you never need be without the red sauce. Photograph: Rebecca Nicholson/GuardianBananas, porridge, quiche, even sweeties – I smothered them all in the famous chilli-garlic sauce. It started badly, and ended in hot-tongued outrage.Urban Dictionary calls it “hipster tabasco”. When it looked as if its Los Angeles factory might be closed as a public nuisance, there were jokes with an air of panic about an international shortage.
Sriracha hot sauce, which originated in eastern Thailand, is a mix of garlic, sugar, chillis, vinegar and salt. It may be derided as a modish condiment, but it is extremely tasty, and sparks the kind of devotion that prompts fans of the bright red bottle to buy T-shirts with it on the front and say things like: “Oh, I have it with everything.” Now, you can get a keyring-friendly mini-pack, meaning that it can be on hand at all times. So, I decided to spend a day having it with everything.
Breakfast is where Sriracha got me hooked. At the weekend, it gets slathered on scrambled or poached eggs, like ketchup that punches you on the inside of your mouth. But that seems too easy, and I already know it’s lovely. So I stick with porridge. Unsweetened, watery porridge. Usually I’d blob some honey on top, but I’ve heard of savoury oats and I’ve eaten grits, which must be similar-ish, so I decide this will liven it up just fine. However, it looks like jam, which means I’m anticipating sweetness even though I know it will be spicy and savoury, which makes for a confusing mess of sensations. Plus, there’s a reason salty chilli porridge is not a thing – it’s disgusting.
I go for a mid-morning banana, and remember that I need to put garlicky chilli sauce on it. Scarred by the porridge slop, I think about trying again tomorrow. The keyring of heat did not let me down, though. Chilli goes with banana. It brings out the sticky sweetness, and it’s surprisingly moreish. But I’d forgotten just how punchy the garlic was. “I’m going to stink of garlic,” I say to a colleague. “Going to?” she replies.
Pret A Manger’s jambon beurre, its slightly fancy ham sandwich, is my comfort lunch of choice, and I feel as if I’ve earned something nice. Since I’ve already breached the garlic barricades, I put loads of Sriracha in between the butter, gherkins and ham, and it reminds me of what I love about it: it’s hot, salty – saltier with the butter and ham – and makes a decent sandwich taste even more decent.
My friends say this is too safe. One produces a bag of Percy Pig sweets. “I tried to think of something truly horrible,” she says. So we dab it on the pig’s eyes until it looks like a grinning demon, and chuck it down the hatch. It tastes like vomit. “That is genuinely the worst thing I’ve ever tasted. I feel sick,” says another friend, who may not be a friend for much longer. I wonder if it’s too late to start the 5:2 diet today. On a 2 day.
In for a penny, in for a pound, as they say, so I reach for a weird, vegan, coconut yoghurt-pot thing that I also got from Pret, not realising that it was:
A) a strange thing to buy alongside a ham sandwich, and
B) a strange thing to try for the first time when you’ve promised to put hot sauce on everything.
It turns it into a halfway-house between pudding and curry. “Curding”, perhaps. See, even the portmanteau sounds rancid.
By this point, I am googling “too much Sriracha” because my stomach is starting to hurt, and people are beginning to wince when I breathe near them. I have a quiche and some potatoes and peas for dinner. It looks so simple and so tasty in its unadorned, naked, fresh state. I want to eat it purely. I dot the sauce all over it with a heavy heart, angry at every dollop. My mouth is annoyed at me for making it eat chilli all day. I start reading an article on my phone: ‘The molecule that tells you when you’ve used too much Sriracha.” I am probably not dying.
But I am sick of Sriracha. I do not eat it again for two weeks. I hereby swear never to be that kind of idiot who says, “Oh, I have it on everything,” again, because we know not what we do.