Some Like It Hot: Locally Made Sriracha and Kimchee
You like spicy things? Most San Franciscans do (it’s like we have the salsa verde from Taqueria Cancun running in our veins) so we’re doing a two-part series of posts on spicy stuff that’s locally made. This first piece is on a sriracha and a couple kimchees that you can easily find all jarred up and ready to take home, and the next story will feature hot sauces made in SF restaurants and markets you can buy. It’s time for some dragon breath.
Lisa Murphy is known by some local sauce lovers for her organic Srirachup, a truly tomato-y and handmade ketchup with a bit of residual heat from her own sriracha she blends in—it will make you kick your usual ketchup to the curb. But now she’s making a whiskey barrel–aged sriracha, which is unlike any product I’ve ever tasted: it’s balanced, a touch smoky (and garlicky), and simply amazing on baked potatoes. Three months in a whiskey barrel do good things to sriracha, yesiree.
Contribute to the Kickstarter campaign and you’ll have all kinds of sriracha options to choose from, from a jar to a barrel (no sriracha shortage for you!), plus sriracha salt and a barrel-aged hot sauce made from the leftover pepper skins and seeds from the sriracha. Until the barrel-aged sriracha is released, you can get her Srirachup (and ketchup) at these local stores.
Sometimes you don’t want a mega-strong kimchee, or maybe you’re a kimchee beginner and you just want to integrate more probiotic benefits into your diet. The South Korean–born maker of the locally made Sinto Gourmet line, Hyunjoo Albrecht, has a few options in her delicious and preservative-free line of handmade products: there’s her spicy red napa cabbage (which also has a little daikon) and actually has a very modulated heat; I love her white napa cabbage kimchee (inspired by her Northern Korean grandma’s recipe) which is very mild and a touch sweet, and an easy accompaniment to many dishes (although I tend to eat it right out of the jar). Bonus: both are juicy, so you can pour yourself a little shot of the juice (or toss it into your Bloody Mary).
And if you want to go full throttle, Hyunjoo’s spicy radish kimchi is literally the bomb—the crunch and zippy heat will give your tongue a nice whip whap. Sinto also wins for the sticker on their jars which proclaim: “Kimchee has a bubbly personality, open with care!” Cute. Here are markets (and farmers’ markets) where you can find Sinto Gourmet products.
One bite of this potent and complex kimchee will have you immediately looking at the jar to figure out what’s in it—and then you’ll be reaching for your fork to take another bite. The three brothers behind Namu Gaji make this tangy kimchee that is a riff on their Korean mother’s recipe, which features baby shrimp and fish sauce, plenty of garlic and ginger, and it also has a thicker and slightly grainy texture, thanks to the paste they spread on the cabbage leaves before it ferments (which also has glutinous rice flour). This kimchee is flavor-forward and one that kimchee lovers will appreciate for its complexity and balance—the heat also registers a perfectly dialed intensity. You can pick up a jar at Namu Gaji, their farmers’ market stands, Noriega Produce, Bi-Rite Market, Salumeria, and 4505 Meats.