Spice up your life: Philippine Hot Sauce Club celebrates first anniversary
MANILA, Philippines – Thrill seekers of the burn-your-tongue kind recently got together to celebrate the first anniversary of the Philippine Hot Sauce Club.
The group, composed mainly of chili hot sauce makers and aficionados, gathered recently at Tomato Kick Morato for what they dubbed as "the hottest party in Manila."
It was a lively event that featured a tasting buffet with over 200 local and imported hot sauces. A number of people were seen wiping sweat off their faces; no doubt a direct consequence of sampling the hotter items on the table.
A definite highpoint in any PHSC gathering is the mini bazaar that serves to emphasize the various products created by the members themselves. What’s amazing about these concoctions is their very imaginative take on otherwise straightforward hot sauces.
Among the standouts is Epic’s dessert hot sauce called the Mad Hotter. Its maker, PSHC co-founder Eric Del Rosario, was inspired by an ice cream he had in Bicol that incorporated siling labuyo. “I think we need to have something that we just add to desserts and not really have it blended into it or cooked into it,” he says.
My taste buds perked up when I had a taste of HangHangHang’s Chili Mayo Sriranch. It's a creamy mixture of spicy Sriracha and tangy mayo. I hear it goes well with chicken wings, pizza, shawarma, and fish & chips.
Then of course, there are the Spicy Diwata and Spicy Bathala catsups from Isi Laureano of Chili Asylum. Made from all-natural ingredients, these tomato-based catsups come in a variety of flavors: pineapple, banana, strawberry and radish. They are just the right mix of sweet and tang, and enough heat to spice up the palate; a testament to Laureano’s belief that spicy condiments should not burn but accentuate the flavors of your dish.
While I consider myself to be a bit more open-minded taste-wise, I have to admit that I was wary of the more extreme variants. It does not help that they come with names and logos not meant for the faint of heart, such as Anthrax Hot Habanero Sauce or Esqui’s Jolokia hot sauce which have smiling skulls on their labels.
I was kind of put to shame when I saw a girl of 10 gamely tasting every thing that had been laid out. Paulette, a fixture at chili festivals and hot sauce events, has been steadily pushing the boundaries of her taste buds since the age of 7. Fellow enthusiasts have come to call her their Chili Princess.
The Philippine Hot Sauce Club started as a unit under the much larger group of chili heads, the Chili Federation. Justin Yenko, co-founder and the brains behind Bad Boy Tikboy and Garapal, thought of concentrating on hot sauces “since everyone was already into pods and plants.”
Its first meet on December 2016 attracted all of 6 people, Yenko and Del Rosario included. But since then, the group has grown by leaps and bounds. As of last counting, their Facebook group has nearly 3,000 members; many of them actively participating both in online discussions and real-life monthly meets.
Still in its infancy, the PHSC has already inspired many member-hobbyists to take that next step and finally introduce their own concoctions to the public. Aside from their pop-up events, PSHC makers have their wares available via their individual online shops and in a number of specialty stores such as Sweatshoppe in Malingap St., Teacher’s Village, QC.
Membership into the club is not at strict as other chili enthusiasts like, say, Labuyo 100, (where you have to eat 100 siling labuyo in one sitting to be accepted). All one needs is to have an appreciation of the zestier side of life. Visit their Facebook page for more information.
The evening was capped off with equally spicy musical performances from some of the hottest bands in the country. – Rappler.com