The spice is right: 6 of the UAE's best home-grown hot sauce
Try these if you dare…
We here at What’s On (well, maybe not all of us…) love spice. And we just had to share with you some of the region’s best-loved, home-grown spicy sauce brands to spice up your meal,(and life in general).
Take note: The list is ranked from “tame” to smoking hot…
Here are condiments that are even hotter than the UAE’s peak summer weather…
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There are dozens of entry-level hot sauces on the market, but few hammer the flavour notes quite as succinctly as Excellence’s range of tongue-tinglers. Instantly identifiable by the (surely, spice-addled) eagle on the packaging, this sauce is a cupboard essential for spicy salsa sommeliers. There are habanero, garlic and jalapeno variations, but as purists, we feel the OG version is the brand’s magnum opus. Pairing suggestion: shake it all over your fries, and don’t stop till you reach the last drop.
A collection of craft Asian sauces, that includes such smouldering hotties as Vietnamese Chilli Sauce, Chinese Chilli Oil and Malaysian Chilli Sambal, all of which were tried, tested and received full commendations from the What’s On condiment quality assurance board. The heat quotient is placed a rung or two below profundity-of-flavour on the Curious Elephant priority ladder, and that makes it the perfect salve for giving your hob top sauces an extra-dimensional bang. Pairing suggestion: as comfortable on your grilled prawns as it is on your salad.
Mama J’s Hot Pepper Sauce
Found at the business end of Abu Dhabi, West to West Kitchen’s core mission is all about the party on your palate. They serve up an authentic mix of West African and West Indian (Caribbean) food (hence the name) but, there’s also a secret side quest that is well worth exploring. Mama J’s Hot Pepper Sauce is a volcanic flow of flavour burning a neat little hole into the condiments section of the menu. Conceived by W2W matriarchs Mama J and Aunty Lina, the sauce capitalises on Caribbean culinary staple, the scotch bonnet pepper, a hot but deeply flavourful chilli variety. There’s heat, there’s sweet, and there’s a whole lot of tang, up in this thang.
There’s a regal air around this fermented chilli paste. So much so, we can almost feel it judging us on what food vector choices we make for it. “Oh” it seems to say “smashed avo toast again is it?” Peasantries aside, the rich fermented embers of the sauce rumble across the palate with broad umami swagger. Themes of salt, sour and warmth are maintained throughout. This is posh hot sauce, but it’s got a delicious streak of feral in it too. Pairing suggestion: elevate your guac.
DK Hot Sauce
Discerning mouth-burning devotees relish in telling you that even the blandest meal can be vastly improved with the simple application of a few dollops of fire and spice. And the Caribbean-inspired hot ones from the DK range are real mealtime revolutionaries. Available via Kibsons, your little blue box will allow you to choose such fighters as the classic, non-generationally-discriminatory, Hot Pepper Boomer; the razor-edged Citrus Banger; the weapon’s grade, Double Bubble; ketchupy vibed Sweet Heat; and the totally tropical – Pineapple Pow. Pairing suggestion: get it on some freshly barbecued chicken drumsticks. Or air-fried if you simply must.
This fragrantly-scented, beautifully-presented, brand of six fermented hot sauces really runs the full heat level gamut. At one end you’ve got the mild, meek, rural and sleek – Smoke & Earth and at the other, you have the Black Reaper. As in the Grim Reaper – the literal embodiment of death – it’s made using one of the hottest chillis on earth, the Carolina Reaper (along with black cherry), and yet somehow manages eloquence and poise. Heat-seekers can also get involved with a reaper-sriracha crossover. We’re huge supporters of their commitment to ensuring their batches are low-sugar, low-sodium and low-carb. Pairing suggestion: slap the Reap’racha over some prawn gyoza.