Trend Spotting: Sriracha's "Totally Over" Says Bon Appetit!
Photo Credit: Serious Eats.com
While I’ve been an active Facebooker for some time, I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit that I’ve only just begun to recognize its foodie potential and started following all my favorite culinary sources there. Since I did, I’ve found it’s a great way to stay on top of it all (not to mention get some quality content in the midst of the selfies and zimbio quiz results normally filling our cues). If you haven’t taken the time to do this yet, I highly recommend you do! This past week for instance, was declared “Sriracha Week” on Bon Appetit.
In addition to general hot sauce and spicy food chat, sriracha recipes were posted…
fanatics shared proof of their sriracha obsession…
and debate over how best to enjoy your rooster sauce ensued.
BA: "...not to say there’s no room for Sriracha in the world of pho. But instead of adding it directly, grab one of those shallow little dishes from the wire rack, and squirt Sriracha only over half of it."
flockofdoves1: "Yes yes yes a million times yes! I used to drown my pho in sriracha when I was < 10 years old, but somewhere around my high school years, it dawned on me that, actually, pho tastes BETTER without any extra sauce."
tdmrussell: "as a lifelong vietnamese person who has eaten pho for 40 years Sriracha has no place even on the side"
JKNgyuen88: "I'll be damned to have someone who isn't from VN to tell me how to eat my people's food."
RaveChefDave: "Obviously written by a non-Vietnamese. Pho with Sriracha is a very native thing. In fact, it's written on the Sriracha bottle in Vietnamese that it's a condiment for pho."
BA: "Our post yesterday, 7 Tricks to Get Kids to Eat Sriracha—and Love Spicy Food, sparked quite a debate on our Facebook page, with some people writing in with tips, and others questioning whether it’s scrupulous to coerce children into eating things they don’t like."
Sarah Rah Thompson: "Why do we need to force kids to like anything? Their tastes are going to change over the years anyway."
Cyn Mackley: "Heat lovers need to understand that not everyone’s palate enjoys heat. For some, it literally burns with no flavor at all. No amount of trying spicy things can change that. Different tongues sense taste differently."
Agnes Jenglinska: "Your responsibility as a parent is to encourage children to try things, and work on their palate as soon as you can, so they don’t grow up to be very picky eaters…"
Niloufer Ebrahim: "“A lot of our food related prejudices come from the home we were parented in. As parents we should try to expose our children to various flavors and let them decide what they prefer."
After a year of pure sriracha frenzy it seemed only natural and about time the condiment got this fan fair.
However, in the midst of the festivities was an undertow of rebellion - the first sign, Tuesday, when sambal – sriracha’s cousin from Huy Fong - was named the “Official Hot Sauce” of Sriracha Week.
What. Can they do that??
But there was more. While, with sriracha being this fanatically loved condiment, you might expect there to be outrage, almost no one protested the decision - to me, as experienced internet user, even more telling. I mean, if there’s one thing I know about the internet, it’s that it loves a fight. Internet people will find controversy and offense where you’d have never imagined such things to be possible, but dishonor a product they love? Normally, you’re going down! As it turned out, that casual apathy may have been a symptom of a more significant discontent. Three days later Bon Appetit dropped the bomb - “Sriracha Awesome – or Totally Over? A BA Debate.”
As they explained:
“When we started planning Sriracha Week, we were fully aware that Sriracha—the Huy Fong Foods version of the sauce, that is—was a bit… overexposed. After all, when Subway starts putting it in sandwiches, how much more attention does it need from the food media, especially with a million other hot sauces out there worth trying. But does it still have its place in the pantheon? Or has rooster sauce jumped the shark?”
After some half-hearted debate between Matt Gross (Bon Appetit.com’s editor) and Mike Ley (deputy art director) they came to the only real conclusion they could have:
As they and Facebook’s commenters seemed to agree, it wasn’t that sriracha had changed or that it wasn’t as good or better than other some of the other hot sauces out there. Sriracha’s great! Well-balanced, earthy, sweet, salty, and yes, spicy too. No getting around that! It’s sriracha the trend that’s the problem - the never-ending flow of memes, the merchandise, and finally, as BA mentioned, the subway sandwich. Where did we go wrong?? In the face of this confrontation, I was forced to admit that where sriracha had been a constant companion, it was now moving further and further back in my fridge, peering (jealously?), behind my more recently used and new favorites, half full and neglected. In fact, I suddenly wondered, how long had it been since we last ran out? I couldn’t remember! We used to buy a new bottle every month!
On reflection, it occurred to me that sriracha had become like that song the radio ruined for us. The one we used to love until every station decided to play it all day, every day, for over a month until finally even our moms (Subway) were humming it while making dinner, and we suddenly knew - it was over for us.
It wasn’t the song’s fault, or our mom’s, or even the radio’s. The radio only gave us what we said we wanted and our mom was entitled to like the song - it was a good one, is a good one – and that, we had to admit, hadn’t changed. (“It’s not you. It’s us, sriracha!”) It’s just that what we have doesn’t feel quite so special anymore. Sriracha’s everyone’s song now, not just mine.
Still, I wouldn't say all hope for us is lost. Like that song, I imagine a little distance and some time to heal will make us fonder. While the infatuation may be over, I think sriracha will always have a place in my fridge and heart.
What to do you think about this? Agree? Disagree?
Are you currently seeing other hot sauces?
Do you still use sriracha?