A Guide to Hot Sauces Around the World


Hot sauce lovers rejoice! We’ve rounded up 10 of the best varieties of hot sauces from around the world in one ultimate list because, when it comes to hot sauce, there are as many varieties as there are opinions. Different parts of the world favor different types of hot sauce, ranging from thin, vinegary hot sauces in the U.S. and Mexico, to thick, paste-like hot sauces popular in African and Asian countries.

# 1 South Korea: Gochujang
With its origins dating back to 18th century Korea, Gochujang is a thick, hot pepper paste made with garlic, onion, rice flour, rice wine, vinegar and sugar. Gochujang gets its sweet and slightly funky flavor from notes of sticky rice and fermented soy beans. Due to its thick consistency, It is used as a base in everything from stews and soups, to the Korean dish bibimbap.

# 2 Mexico: Salsa Picante
Salsa Picantes are Mexican-style hot sauces with a thinner consistency made from chile peppers, vinegar, and spices. Salsa Picante is a versatile hot sauce that is great sprinkled on anything: tacos, eggs, pizza, you name it. Some popular Mexican salsa picantes are Cholula, Tapatio, and Valentina.

# 3 Tunisia: Harissa
Originated in Tunisia, Harissa is a flavorful paste made from dried chiles, olive oil, and various herbs and spices such as coriander, cumin, caraway, garlic and lemon juice. A highly versatile condiment, the spicy, smoky flavor or harissa is used on dishes such as tagines and couscous, as well as a mix-in for burgers, roasted vegetables, or pretty much

# 4 Thailand: Sweet Chili Sauce
Thais favor a sweet, thicker hot sauce that is mild in heat. Sweet chili sauce is made from ground pickled chilis, sugar, vinegar and salt and can be used as a marinade, glaze, or dipping sauce. It goes great on dishes like barbecue chicken or pork.

# 5 Peru: Aji Amarillo Paste
A staple in Peruvian cuisine, aji amarillo paste is a creamy, spicy sauce made from amarillo peppers and fresh jalapeños, as well as cilantro, mustard, peanuts, oregano, cumin, and oil. It also contains lime juice along and either mayonnaise or sour cream for its creamy texture. This savory Peruvian hot sauce is great on classic dishes such as Pollo à la Brasa or Lomo Saltado, as well as a dipping sauce for meat and potato dishes.

6 USA: Louisiana-Style Hot Sauce
Louisiana-style hot sauces are the most common type of hot sauce found in the United States. Similar to Mexican salsa picantes, these thin, vinegary hot sauces are salty and acidic, and go great on anything from eggs to macaroni and cheese to rice and beans. Crystals, Frank’s Red Hot and Tabasco are some of the more popular Louisiana-style hot sauces.

# 7 Yemen: Zhug
Originally from Yemen, Zhug, also known as schug in Israel, is a hot pepper sauce that is popular in Middle Eastern countries. The diverse condiment is made with red or green chili peppers, coriander, parsley, various other spices, and olive oil. Zhug is like a spicy pesto hot sauce that can be used on anything from a marinade for fish, a mix-in for soups or rice, or dolloped on top of eggs or falafel.

# 8 Portugal: Piri Piri Sauce
The Portuguese brought the piri piri (also known as peri peri) pepper back from the New World to its colonies in Africa and India in the 15th century, where it remains popular today. Piri piri sauce is made with the hot peri peri peppers, vinegar, lemon, garlic, onion, herbs, and oil to give it a smooth texture. Use it as a mix-in for soups and stews, as a marinade for meats and poultry, or to make the classic Portuguese dish, Piri Piri Chicken.

# 9 Haiti: Sos Ti-Malice
Named after Ti-Malice, a man who put a spicy sauce on his food to keep his friend from stealing it, sos Ti-Malice is a Haitian hot sauce that will make you want to steal someone’s food. It is made from hot scotch bonnets peppers, onion, shallots, tomato, garlic, and bell pepper. The spicy, onion-y hot sauce is great with fried pork and fish.

# 10 Indonesia: Sambal
This thick chili paste comes in many varieties, depending on the region you are in. Sambal matah is popular in Bali, and is made of lemongrass, shrimp paste, shallots, and kaffir lime leaves and juice. Sambal kecap is popular throughout the nation and is made with shallots, soy sauce and chiles. Sambal can be used in soups, stir-fries, noodle dishes, and tomato sauce to add depth of flavor.

Ready to travel the world to try hot sauces?  Choose from a variety of escorted tours, cruises and vacation packages.

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