Good food is only moments away.

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So it says in the Parliament canteen, and for lovers of spicy food this was true, at least until Mai Thai moved away. The canteen food is fine, and the staff are lovely, but it is pretty bland. 

Hence this off-topic post, comprising my top ten hot sauces for livening up Parliamentary cuisine. 

A note on the heat ranking: I could, of course, use the proper Scoville scale, but I don't have the technology to do the tests. 

By my scale, anything below four isn't really hot, and anything over eight should be handled with caution. Also, I'm not an extremist: hottest doesn't necessarily mean best.

1. Mr Vikki's King Naga. The name says it all. The king of hot sauces, made from the hottest chili in the known universe, but full of flavour as well. There are plenty of hotter sauces, but this is rich and complex. Excellent mixed with houmous in a sandwich too. 
Heat: 9/10
Country of origin: UK

2. Sriracha. A thick red garlicky paste sold in big squeezy bottles, internationally loved and great with simple things like fried egg rolls. My favourite version here is by Flying Goose.
Heat: 7/10
Country of origin: Thailand 

3. Mr Vikki's Hot Banana. Apologies, this is really cheating. It's not a hot sauce, it's a chutney, and it's not even particularly hot despite the name. It is, however, so outstandingly and implausibly good that it can come third even in the wrong list. Buy several at a time - I find jars sometimes don't last very long, in one case less than twenty minutes. (note: we've only had the regular - they're now doing a habanero version, to which the link refers)
Heat: 3/10
Country of origin: UK

4. Swazi Fire. A multi-award winning sauce, this is quite the hottest thing I have ever eaten. It's fair trade, too, so that should offset the carbon footprint. Best used in small quantities as a substitute for fresh chillies.
Heat: 11/10
Country of origin: Swaziland

5. Lingham's with garlic and ginger. A classic southeast Asian dipping sauce, also available as just chilli, or just with garlic, or just with ginger. Seriously, just have the lot in one sauce.
Heat: 5/10
Country of origin: Malaysia

6. Tabasco brown. This is their chipotle-based sauce, and quite the best from the most mainstream hot sauce manufacturers: ideal for veggie breakfasts, and presumably meat ones too. Their garlic version is great as well, and the habanero is an excellent hot hot sauce. In fact, the only one I wouldn't recommend is the rather bland one you get everywhere. Available in gallon jugs (!) for $38.95, but they won't ship to the UK. Ask a friend to help you with that one.
Heat: 5/10
Country of origin: USA

7. Patak's Chilli Pickle. I'm cheating again, this isn't a proper hot sauce either. It is the Indian equivalent, though, a very finely balanced oil pickle, both hot and still curiously subtle. A sandwich staple.
Heat: 6/10
Country of origin: India/UK

8. Reggae Reggae sauce. I found out it'd been on telly after I got into it, believe it or not, so don't let the celebrity put you off. Properly more of a barbeque sauce, but also hot enough to spice up any breakfast. Not recommended on porridge, though. Also, I'd avoid the guava version. It sounds like a good idea, but it's actually really tasteless.
Heat: 4/10
Country of origin: UK

9. South Devon Chili Company's Hot Habanero. A really citrusy number, more so than one might expect from a habanero-based sauce, but also one to apply sparingly. A 60ml bottle should last ages, at least a month.
Heat: 9/10
Country of origin: UK

10. Mama Africa's Peri-peri.  Another really fierce one, made from sacanas (not a variety I've come across elsewhere), but again with a nice broad flavour to it. Approach with caution. Comes with a nice tassel on the bottle, if you like that sort of thing.
Heat: 10/10
Country of origin: South Africa

Finally, seeing as I'm endorsing businesses, Edinburgh and Glasgow residents should check out Lupe Pintos, where many of these sauces can be found and many more besides. It's a spicy treasure trove.


you forgot the daddy - Frank's Red Hot!

the authentic sauce for chicken wings - probably OK for veggies too!

J ;)

I had the chance to try this one in Tapa recently, but I can't find anywhere selling it here:

Ever seen it on sale in Edinburgh?

I have never had either of these, but I can assure you I will pick up a bottle if I see them. "Quasi-fermentation". I love it. And I bet Frank's funky grandma would too.

I was gonna say... Lupe Pintos is amazing. I had to move to Edinburgh to find a good place with ingredients for Mexican meals.

And what about Indonesian chilli pickle – Sambal see

It comes in many versions though the most-often eaten are Sambal Ulek (red, spicy, quite thin) and Sambal Bakjak (sweeter). Some are exceedingly hot like Taliwang, made with Naga jolokia peppers which rate a 800,000 on the Scoville scale and Sambal Setan (the name speaks for itself).

Sambal definitely should have made it - apologies to Mama Africa, but yes, true. Also, I should have included a harissa, before someone points that out too!

A bit late in coming to this but three cheers to Lupe Pintos for providing years of entertainment by letting me try to get my husband to pronounce "Hershey's Sauce" in his thick Glasgow accent.

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