Now the hot stuff is bound to be even more ubiquitous – popcorn, ketchup, crisps – and I can’t wait to get my hands on the powder I wish I didn’t like sriracha. I wish I didn’t like it because everyone else does, because every Saturday morning my social media feed is infested with fried eggs and avocado on toast, bacon sandwiches and kale, endless bloody kale, all doused in spicy, savoury red stuff.
But, despite my inherent cynicism, I don’t just like sriracha, I love it. I can’t resist its aggressively garlicky brand of sweet heat, its vinegary tang, and the fact it comes with a variety of amusing birds on the bottle, depending which of the innumerable almost indistinguishable brands you happen to pick up.
(For anyone who has been living under an arid rock for the past two years, sriracha is a Thai condiment rather like a spicier, funkier ketchup, though it’s used in many south-east Asian cuisines, and is wildly popular in the US.)
The bad(ish) news: sriracha is set to become even more ubiquitous. Glad tidings reach me from across the pond that Huy Fong, manufacturer of the Rooster brand, has licensed a range of snacks flavoured with its best-selling sauce. Popcorn, ketchup, tortilla chips, even hummus will soon hit shelves in the States, the last yet more proof of the ridiculous versatility of this wonder condiment.
More excitingly, as far as I’m concerned, the sriracha powder used to flavour these products will also be available over there – and, in time perhaps, here. For some indication of how laughably good this stuff is, when the company which created it sent a sample over to Huy Fong’s founder, David Tran, he took it home to play with. High praise indeed from a man who has been steeped in sriracha for the past three decades.
I’ve already used the sauce on everything from porridge to pulled pork and marshmallow crispy cakes (seriously, don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it), but the prospect of this powder opens up a whole new vat of culinary possibility.
I can already see it gracing the rim of a bloody mary, and tossed with caramelised nuts and chargrilled meat and vegetables, or the crunchy breadcrumbs on top of a cheesy gratin. Sriracha in powder form would work better with sweet things, where it would be easier to use in moderation; a pinch sprinkled over chocolate ice cream or a bowl of lime-spiked tropical fruit for example, or in places where a wet flavouring just wouldn’t cut the mustard, as in the coating for onion rings or calamari.
I am doing my best to avoid a metaphor likening sriracha powder to various other addictive substances here, because, like it or not, the stuff is going to be huge. Anyone who thought we reached peak sriracha at some point last summer should probably look away now.
Everyone else, brace yourself. Sriracha powder isn’t here yet, but it’s only a matter of time.
Sriracha hot sauce: as hot as it is addictive. Photograph: Scott Olson/Getty Images