Will gochujang be the next Sriracha?

For those of you who haven’t been back home in the states lately, you may be surprised to see that a hot sauce from Vietnam/Thailand has become nearly as ubiquitous as ketchup.  It’s called Sriracha and the most popular brand was brought to us by a refugee from Vietnam and is named after a town in Thailand.

(Image from ColumbusCook.com)

The American food industry is among the most innovative in the world and they are constantly looking for new flavors, particularly of the spicy variety.  What’s next?  It might be gochujang.  In a recent taste taste, a gochujang derived sauce compared favorably with the most popular brands of Sriracha.  It’s not just L.A. or NYC restaurants that’s experimenting with it.  It’s apparently had some penetration into middle America as well.

  • brier

    Not surprised. Gochujang and doengjung make excellent condiments. Anybody with some versatility in the kitchen will put these pastes to good uses. I find a dollop of Doengjung does well in home cooked oatmeal. Jr digs it too.

  • jg29a

    Doenjang (garlic,ginger, peppers) also makes amazing taco meat.

  • Aaron Meadows

    I’ve long said samjang should be more widely used, its great with just about any meat.

  • MikeinGyeonggi

    When I was in NYC, I bought a bottle of Annie Chun’s to bring to my buddy’s place because it was all I could find. It was completely different from “real” Korean gochujang, but I liked it much better. It was sweet and tangy. Definitely aimed at Westerners. I can see it becoming popular in North America.

    http://www.delish.com/food/recalls-reviews/korean-gochujang-sauce-annie-chun

    I may be derided for this… But I really don’t like real Korean gochujang. The taste is very one-dimensional to me. All I taste is chilies and vinegar. It’s like the ketchup of chili sauce.

    However I love the distinctness of doenjang and samjang. I’ve never had anything in other cuisines that tastes anything like them. And they don’t overpower other flavors the way gochujang does.

    I buy the green tubs at the store and add sesame oil and a bit of honey so it tastes more like restaurant samjang. Anyone else have flavoring tips?

  • bumfromkorea

    Wait, you can taste vinegar in gochujang? Not a cho-gochujang, right?

    I like my mom’s recipe for roasted gochujang. With that, I can just eat 상추 for lunch for days.

  • MikeinGyeonggi

    I don’t think there actually is vinegar in it, but I taste something astringent. Maybe it’s just part of the chillies.

    Roasted gochujang sounds interesting. I’d like to try that.

  • bumfromkorea

    쌈장 is a condiment, but I’m not sure if 된장 and 고추장 are. When was the last time you had a 찌개 equivalent for ketchup, mustard, or sriracha?

  • http://www.eslwriting.org/ eslwriter

    Good meat needs neither sauce nor pasty gunk. I guess that’s why samjung is so popular in Korea.

  • MikeinGyeonggi

    I think you meant good *steak* does not need sauce. Pork, chicken, and various cuts of beef are routinely served with sauces and toppings the world over.

  • bumfromkorea

    I think he was just trying to shit on the Korean cuisine.

  • bumfromkorea

    http://hls3790.tistory.com/1290

    But with a lot less beef and grounded pears + apples + honey instead of just honey. There’s something else that she does, but she never lets me read her recipe book.

  • cactusmcharris

    bum,

    Does your mom run a restaurant? I’m needing some Urishik when I’m down in the VOTS area later this month.

  • wangkon936

    Yeah, I was confused by that too since ssamjang is used primarily on samgyupsal, no?

  • wangkon936

    Either that or Korean taste buds. Not sure with this guy.

  • bumfromkorea

    She used to, but it was a Chinese restaurant. And Phoenix has some of the worst Korean restaurants in America, so you should stick to Mexican and (strangely enough) Thai food while you’re in the area.

    … Actually, I would just avoid this region entirely – it’s August. Stay in Canada. You don’t want to come here and get roasted alive with the rest of us.

  • bumfromkorea

    This whole discussion is making me crave 풋고추…

  • Duke of Qin

    Ive tried the gochujang that comes in the tubs and it was rather mediocre and as overrated as sriracha. When it comes to hot sauces, nothing really compares to Lao Gan Ma.

  • cactusmcharris

    I know, I know, but there’s nothing I can do about it – we’re going and will become night creatures for 10 days. So what are your recommended Thai places (hopefully near/in Mesa) and Mexican places?

  • wangkon936

    I have family in Sedona. I feel for you man. Is there some jar in a supermarket where I can donate money to help alleviate your plight?

  • bumfromkorea

    Malee’s is always good for Thai food, but that’s in Scottsdale. Tum Nak Thai is good too, and it’s in east Mesa. There was a great place in central Phoenix that my dad always went to after work, but I can’t remember the name of the place. It might be Thai Lotus, but I might be wrong. With Thai food, definitely avoid Pink Pepper and any Thai places around ASU (way, way too sweet. It’s like eating a bowl of candied noodles).

    As for Mexican, Rosita’s in west Mesa is really good for a sit-down meal, as is Los Sombreros (though it’s a bit overpriced in my opinion). Honestly, as long as the restaurant isn’t named “Chipotle”, “Macayo’s”, “Rubio’s”, or “On the Border”, you won’t be making a bad choice here….

    Unless you’re in east Mesa. Then you need to take the 60 West and venture into the more, uh, “urban” area if you want good Mexican food. 😀

  • bumfromkorea

    Why do you think I learned to cook Korean food from my mom? 😀

  • A Korean

    Gochujang is generally for cooking, not a table condiment, although it is sometimes served on table.

    Are you a Chinese? I hear Sezhuan peppercorn is now cleared for import into the US. Know any good Sezchuan peppercorn sauce for making the headline Sezchuan dishes (mapo tofu, spicy/dandan noodle, cold stripped chicken, etc.)?

    And what’s this Lao thing?

  • A Korean

    Ask bum for sushi joints. They got awesome fresh fish there – it swims in your mouth and smacks the inside of your cheek.

  • Duke of Qin

    I thought it was probably because of too much wheat which made it taste too sweet and didn’t have any body. I remember looking at the back of several different versions at the store and all of them had wheat as a primary filler instead of soybeans. I guess finding one without wheat is probably like finding ice cream nowadays with guar gum. Everyone adulterates ice cream with it now to prevent the formation of ice crystals since your standard ice cream now is more air than actual ice cream.

    Lao Gan Ma is actually a brand of a chilli oil sauce that tastes out of this world. I actually prefer the one with peanuts or just the regular version. Look for the label with a surly looking woman on the cover in black and white.

  • A Korean

    Now, I’m no expert, but gochujang is supposed to be made with sticky rice, not wheat or soybean. It’s the sticky rice that is supposed to impart the sweet flavor.

    Thanks for the elaboration on the chilli oil sauce – I’ll look for it.

    But are you a Chinese? Any info on Sezchuan peppercorn sauce?

  • A Korean

    You one of them expat douchebag, eh.

    “Expat”. Ugh.

  • Bob Bobbs

    I hope so! Yum!

  • Bob Bobbs

    Boo.

  • http://www.eslwriting.org/ eslwriter

    I understand why my comments might be confusing. So let me paint a picture.

    Take a grade A Alberta T bone steak. BBQ it till perfect. Let it sit for a few minutes. Now eat.

    Are you telling me that you need samjang to improve the taste of that steak? I agree a little salt and pepper is required and perhaps some ketchup for the kids. But samjung?

    Now take a fatty piece of pork and boil it. Yeah samjung improves the flavor because there is no flavour. Just texture.

    Now the final point. He’s shitting on Korea. When will you get out of that tunnel you’re in and stop pretending to be Guardians of the Han?

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    Your comment is confusing because an idiot wrote it. You.

  • wangkon936

    Dude, who exactly is advocating the use of samjang on grade A steak? You’re making an issue out of nothing.

  • Ewnerd Nasalo

    I am thinking doenjang won’t make as big of a splash as gochujang could. Miso, the Japanese equivalent is already quite popular, and there is little to differentiate. I totally think gochujang could kick ass in the states though.

  • wangkon936

    Nah. He’s more of a PRC nationalist.

  • gbnhj

    When cooking proteins, ingredients are only needed because a particular piece is off. However, chefs often add ingredients while cooking, or provide condiments for use while eating, because they want to create a particular flavor.

    That you suggest using salt and pepper on a steak after you’ve finished firing it tells me that you don’t really know how to use those ingredients – but also that you do know what you like. That’s great: enjoying food is a wonderful thing, and people should always try things out and eat what they like. For myself, I would never boil pork, but then again, neither would anyone making samgyupsal, as the cooking process doesn’t involve boiling. Many, many people, however, enjoy grilled pork (which is what samgyupsal is), and I would welcome them to eat it however they like it best.

  • http://www.eslwriting.org/ eslwriter

    I’m all for text deconstruction but using tool on blog posts is just hilarious.

  • http://www.eslwriting.org/ eslwriter

    Please excuse me. My reference to a steak was from a post a few line scrolls up. Those long periods of sitting in front of a computer monitor in your grandmother’s basement have perhaps taken a toll on your physical dexterity or cognitive skills. In the future I will cut and paste referenced text to aid your understanding.

  • bumfromkorea

    Now the final point. He’s shitting on Korea. When will you get out of that tunnel you’re in and stop pretending to be Guardians of the Han?

    Sorry, eslwriter. But you probably shouldn’t have included “I guess that’s why samjung is so popular in Korea.” at the end if you wanted to come off as a simple steak snob. Also, should’ve used “steak” instead of “meat”.

  • A Korean

    Apology to the duke if I had it wrong. Better lay off my expat rant.

  • redwhitedude

    Better avoid bringing up any PRC and Korea issues with him.

  • Keguri

    Gochujang gets a mention in the Aussie press/media every week or two – usually in a review of a new K-restaurant that’s opened or in a TV cooking show. Friends will now cook a BBQ and have gochujang on the table, like tomato sauce (or ketchup as some call it). Not exactly how it’s meant to be used, but the fermented chilli paste revolution is happening (and is being televised).

  • Judith Mopalia

    I think you need to buy a better gochujang. Read the ingredients label (they almost all have them in English) and avoid the ones with preservatives. I’ve found a few that I don’t like, and some that I love. Kind of like the Best Foods Mayo-Miracle Whip choice – depends on your taste.