This post is Part 1 of a three-part series dedicated to the modern holy grail of hot sauces, sriracha. Stay tuned for a Halloween-themed post and a behind-the-scenes look inside the sriracha factory!
The 2nd Annual Sriracha Festival hosted by Josh Lurie of Food GPS & Randy Clemens, author of The Sriracha Cookbook was by far the hottest event to hit Los Angeles this past weekend, taking place at the historic Chinatown Central Plaza. As an avid heat seeker, this was an event I especially looked forward to this month, even with a total of three events to attend that very same day!
By far, the Sriracha Festival showcased some incredibly unique and impressive eats. Chefs and mixologists alike highlighted the versatility of the most trendy chili sauce to date with creative uses in savory and sweet dishes, as well as in cocktail form.
The Mexican chocolate fountain you see in the video above is to dip crispy, sriracha sugar-dusted churrones (similar to chicharrones) courtesy of Eagle Rock Brewery, whose beer on tap included Witbier and IPA. And those meaty smoked ribs being doused in sriracha BBQ sauce come from Beachwood BBQ.
The deviled eggs also featured are not your mama’s deviled eggs. They’ve got a chicken skin crumble and sriracha caramel on ’em, thanks to “Top Chef” contender Mei Lin. Speaking of a great sauce, Willy B’s pork belly had some great flavors from their hot sauce.
Mud Hen Tavern’s Kajsa Alger served a smooth, creamy sriracha-braised pumpkin purée with white chocolate yogurt and basil oil, along with some fresh greens for texture… and the flavors came together beautifully. Meanwhile, “Next Iron Chef” & “Chopped” alum Nate Appleman of Shophouse served a moist and flavorful pork and chicken meatball with tamarind vinaigrette and green papaya slaw, along with a Thai basil and cilantro salad with crispy garlic.
Newcomers on the scene such as The Gadarene Swine and Little Jewel of New Orleans served diverse dishes such as a vegan crispy yucca with sriracha and avocado mousse, and a not-at-all-vegan crawfish mac ‘n cheese with house smoked Andouille sausage, respectively.
Last but not least, you know Eggslut brought the heat (and the longest lines!). Chef Alvin Cailan dished out his spicy pork tan tan men and explained (see video above) that the dish, topped with a seasoned soft-boiled egg, togarashi and bacon, symbolized the debut to their new Ramen Champ concept, set to open in Chinatown by the end of the year. You heard it here first, straight from Alvin!
The smoky bacon, tan tan noodles with a bite, the spicy kick from the togarashi, and the perfectly cooked egg with a soft yolk made for a splendid symphony of flavors in each sizeable bowl.
I also appreciated that there were plenty of cocktails and ice cream to cool palates down for another round of spicy goodness. There were frozen treats such as McConnell’s sweet cream and salted caramel chip ice creams, as well as cooling drinks like a cucumber jicama beverage by Hollywood bartender Jason Bran. However, being the sriracha fanatic that I am, my cocktail and ice cream of choice still incorporated sriracha… in very innovative ways!
Jason Bran mixed up a DiSaronno cocktail with mango, lemon and sriracha (see video), while Santa Barbara-to-L.A. transplant McConnell’s Ice Cream scooped pumpkin pie ice cream with a generous drizzle of thick, crave-worthy sriracha caramel. So simple, yet brilliant when paired with the pumpkin ice cream!
Crème Caramel LA brought their “Holy Petit S’mores” to the party. Want to know what those are? Buckle up before you read this: A sriracha marshmallow layered on a dark chocolate fudge brownie, dipped in white chocolate, rolled in graham cracker crumbs and sprinkled with sriracha honeycomb dust! The marshmallow had just a little kick, and complemented the chocolatey goodness of the brownie.
My absolute favorite dessert of the night, however, came from Red Bread. They served up plates of their (deep breath…) Whole Wheat Crusted Sriracha Black Bottom Meyer Lemon Custard Pie! It was heaven in a pie slice. They also served a Sriracha Apple Crumble Pie, which was a great sriracha-fied version of the classic American dessert. But I can’t deny that it was love at first bite with the Meyer lemon pie! That layer of sriracha-chocolate bliss on the bottom was superb, and I could eat it anytime, any place I tell you!
Thanks to the L.A. Sriracha Festival for a delicious experience. From what I heard while chatting with repeat attendees, last year was great… and this year was even better. I have no doubts that the Sriracha Festival will continue to impress in the years to come. Also, props to the fest for donating a portion of the proceeds to Food Forward.
Stay tuned for more heat in the next two installments of the Sriracha Series, right here on Tanaya’s Table!