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How the sriracha sauces taste

Sriracha flavor depends on the variety of chile, sweetness of the sauce, and the amount of vinegar in it. Here, we rank nine brands, in order of preference, after an informal tasting. The heat factor, on a scale of 1 to 10, is also indicated. Some sauces contain preservatives, others just chiles, vinegar, sugar, and whatever else went into the mix. Texture goes from thin to thick, color from bright ruby to an intense brown that looks like no others. Shark, Thai Taste, and Thai Kitchen are made in Thailand; others in the US.

1 Shark Mild

  • Strong heat balanced in taste, neither too sweet nor vinegary. Thin viscosity, light red. A large bottle with a poorly manufactured twist cap that will not stay on once removed. No preservatives on ingredient list. A 25-ounce bottle costs about $3.99 (available at Hong Kong Supermarket, Allston).

  • Heat factor: 8


2 Huy Fong Foods/Rooster Sauce

  • Intense heat from red jalapenos, sweet and sharp vinegar taste notes. Thick viscosity, deep red. A 17-ounce bottle costs about $2.99 (available at Hong Kong Supermarket, Allston).

  • Heat factor: 10

3 Organicville Sky Valley

  • Strong heat from cayenne chiles with sweet and vinegar notes. Thick and granular, deep red; certified gluten-free. No preservatives. An 18.5-ounce bottle costs about $6.99 (available at Whole Foods, Wellesley).

  • Heat factor: 8

4 Sun Luck

  • Intense heat and very sweet. Thick viscosity, deep red. No preservatives. A 7-ounce bottle costs about $3.69 (available at Star Market, Allston).

  • Heat factor: 9

5 Lee Kum Kee

  • Strong heat, pungent smoky flavor, some sweet notes; deep red. Label notes it contains anchovy extract. An 18-ounce bottle costs about $4.99 (available at Star Market, Allston).

  • Heat factor: 8

6 Thai Taste

  • Mild heat, vinegary sauce with sweet notes and garlic aftertaste. Thin viscosity, light red. Label lists preservatives and notes suitable for vegans. A 15-ounce bottle costs about $3.49 (available at Star Market, Allston).

  • Heat factor: 7

7 Trader Joe’s

  • Mild heat with garlic notes. Thin viscosity, bright red. Bottle design mimics Rooster Sauce with a dragon logo. No preservatives. An 18-ounce bottle costs about $2.99 (available at Trader Joe’s).

  • Heat factor: 7

8 Kikkoman

  • Intense heat with a bitter aftertaste, thick, brown sauce. Lists preservatives. A 10.6-ounce bottle costs about $3.29 (available at Star Market, Allston).

  • Heat factor: 9

9 Thai Kitchen

  • Low heat, very sweet, thick, light red. Tastes like spiced-up ketchup. No preservatives, but does contain additives. A 6.8-ounce bottle costs about $3.59 (available at Star Market, Allston).

  • Heat factor: 4

CORRECTION: Due to a reporting error, an earlier version incorrectly identified the labeling on two brands. Huy Fong Foods Rooster Sauce does have a preservative; Thai Taste does not contain preservatives; it contains additives.

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