Ever wonder why Sriracha is so good? There’s no question that Americans love Sriracha in all its forms. Regardless of if it’s sporting that iconic rooster logo, or it’s from its native Si Racha, Thailand, the basic Sriracha formula is the same. Every Sriracha sauce has ground red chili peppers, vinegar, garlic, salt, and sugar, giving it that familiar, addictive flavor.
Why Sriracha Is So Good | A Scientific Point of View
Why Is Sriracha So Popular?
While there are many reasons to love Sriracha, one of the best explanations of its overwhelming popularity is its iconic combination of sweet, sour, and spicy flavors.
Sriracha Sauce Peppers: No Pain — Plenty to Gain!
The secret to Sriracha’s addictive taste is in its chili peppers. While these peppers generate the same heat as other chili sauces or spicy condiments, they don’t have the same negative consequences of these other ingredients, like hotter chili peppers, mustard seeds, or horseradish.
In fact, ultra-hot Tabasco and chipotle sauces, along with hot mustard and horseradish condiments, are made with base ingredients that contain compounds made up of molecular structures that literally drift into your sinuses.
The peppers used in Sriracha, in contrast, have more “gravitas” than the drifting-molecule compounds found in hotter peppers. In other words, the molecules are larger, weightier, and stay in your mouth, which allows your taste buds to experience the pleasant spiciness without your eyes and nose stinging.
Though some people consider the streaming nasal cavities part of the authentic hot pepper experience, most people register Sriracha as delicious precisely because the taste isn’t compromised by nasal pain and burning.
The Science Behind the Peppery Pleasure
Many spicy foods set off an internal chain reaction that literally causes physical pleasure. In Sriracha and its peppers, there are two compounds that do this: capsaicin and dihydrocapsaicin. As mentioned, their molecular structure is heavy enough to prevent a painful nasal passage reaction.
Instead, these compounds release a protein known as TRPV1, which the body produces in order to protect us from burning sensations. Once the protein is released, our body is flooded with endorphins, evoking the same pleasure response that we get from vigorous exercise or chocolate.
Again, in Sriracha sauce, this flood of spicy pleasure comes without the burn associated with other hot sauces ranking higher on the famous Scoville heat scale, which is why Sriracha is so good.
The Intangibles and How to “Scientifically” Choose Your Own Sriracha
Of course, there’s more to what tastes good to us than the chemical reaction caused by molecular structures. When it comes to Sriracha, it pays to hunt around in specialty markets.
For example, if you love your American-made “rooster sauce,” by all means stick with it. However, some aficionados prefer the “true Sriracha” brands actually made in Thailand. These brands focus on balancing their flavor components. With the “rooster brand” and other Western offshoots, the emphasis is more often on achieving a spicy blend.
In addition, “rooster sauce” Sriracha is thicker than Thai versions. Thai classic Sriracha is more liquid and much sweeter. These thinner versions can be easier to use for dressing baked seafood.
All of these elements contribute to the science of why Sriracha is so good! Thank goodness there are so many Sriracha options for you to try and enjoy!
Do you now appreciate why Sriracha is so good? Let us know in the comments below!