FOOD CURRENTLY: Sriracha, Foraging, and (iPhone) Apps

Bro, do you even forage?

With the amount of coverage regarding the looming Sriracha shortage – beloved condiment to gutter punks, French chefs, food bloggers, and your mom, (and starring briefly as a Lay’s flavor) – one has to ask if we’ve hit Foodie Critical Mass. There’s never been more excitement or conversation about food, restaurants, and the food system, which is great. Sriracha is the perfect embodiment of where we are with food culture, a rags to riches story featuring an entrepreneur bringing to light a previously unappreciated cuisine by using an easy-to-get and very bold flavor profile. Its ubiquity is shocking; a recent trip to the Bahamas landed me in the island’s poorly stocked grocery store, featuring only cans of tuna, wilted iceberg, and a fully stocked Sriracha aisle.

Mass appreciation at hand, the widespread obsession with eye-wateringly hot foods has grown as well, so facing this shortage, now’s the chance for a new star to take center stage. Gochujang, the funky fermented Korean hot spread (you’ll find it in any Koreatown BBQ) is an easy sub. Szechaun peppercorns, made famous by Danny Bowien’s Mission Chinese, make your tongue numb, and the still-long waits suggest that Mission’s cinnamon challenge quality has definite appeal.

Perhaps, though, Fredrik Berselius’s brilliant foraging for Aska could be the buzzy new thing (maybe facilitated by the help of the anything-on-demand Wunwun app). It’s hard to imagine drunk bros foraging for conifer sprouts in Washington Square Park, but I don’t think that anybody foresaw sending children the to the hospital with inflamed stomachs from Flaming Hot Cheetos. Just imagine what it would mean for Santacon. Next year…

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