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Monday, August 9, 2021

Trader Joe's Peri-Peri Sauce

Okay, here's something totally new to me.

Never heard of peri-peri sauce before. It's pretty rare I'll find something at Trader Joe's that I'm completely unfamiliar with. Usually, I've at least heard of the product online or I've seen it on an ethnic cuisine menu. I'm reviewing it today as much to open up a discussion about it as I am telling you my thoughts and opinions.

What it is: it's a thin, orange liquid. It's thinner than most condiments—definitely thinner than ketchup, cocktail sauce, or sriracha. It's spicy. There's a taste of hot chilies. Has some kick for sure. Higher than a 5 out of 10 on my spice-o-meter. Mouth and throat-tingling from the first bite.

What it's not: it's not sweet at all. This isn't a desserty thing. There's absolutely no sugar or sweeteners of any kind in the bottle. It's not like curry in any way. It's not coconutty, nor milky, nor by that same measure is it bitter—although it almost has the same effect on the palate that bitter tastes do, if that makes any sense at all. It's a little harsh in a way that makes me want to wince in the same manner I do with bitter foods.

Ten seconds into an internet search and I'm seeing that this is, in fact, a traditional African sauce. This variety contains no tomato or vinegar which, from what I'm reading, might not be the norm for this condiment.

I can confirm it goes well with white fish, and I'm certain it would work on grilled chicken, too. I had it with crab cakes and tried it on French fries, and it's okay with those. It obviously provides some heat to whatever you add it to. I'm struggling to think of other applications for this stuff.

Once again, I'm grateful to try an international product for a reasonable price, thanks to Trader Joe's: $3.29 for 6.76 fl oz. I have no idea how to score this fairly. I'd love to hear your thoughts, particularly if you're familiar with other versions of peri-peri sauce.

Product of South Africa. SA is crazy chaotic right now. Hope the folks there are doing okay. Wonder how long until that type of discord is seen in the good ol' US of A..?

Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.

6 comments:

  1. I have a bottle of this in my fridge, though I haven't opened it yet. But there is a restaurant chain called Nando's Peri Peri that has helped popularize this kind of sauce, and there's a location near us that we eat at a decent amount. Their version of the sauce is a little thicker than what this sounds like, though not up to ketchup consistency. It has a great garlicky vinegary bite along with the peppers. They offer different heat levels and variations, and it's primarily used on chicken (that's all they serve at Nando's), though they also make a more dippable version by mixing it with mayo.

    So - I haven't tried the TJ's version yet, but I'm excited to, based on what I've had before.

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    1. Yeah someone just mentioned Nando's on the FB page. Looks like they're only in the DC and Chicago areas. I grew up 1.5 hrs north of DC but I left the region before Nando's came there.

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  2. Yes- thinner than most condiments. I bought a bottle and used it with bite-sized English cucumber- worked great. Tried to buy a second bottle, but my local (NorCal) TJ said it was out of stock until sometime in late August.

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  3. Years ago I dined at Nando's in London and in Washington, DC and recall that Nando's Peri Peri is much sharper, spicier, hotter than TJ's Peri Peri. Nonetheless, I do like TJ's Peri Peri.

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  4. I happened to find Nando's Peri-Peri sauce in a grocery store recently, I think maybe Lowe's foods. Might have to do a taste-test with the TJ's variety!

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  5. your description of it made me think of Tabasco sauce. I love using Tabasco on scrambled eggs. Maybe Peri Peri sauce can be used on scrambled eggs?

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