Eye Openers: Kimchi Jews Deliver Heat, but Not at the Expense of Flavor

The line of sauces from Jeremy Blutstein and Jason Weiner’s Kimchi Jews. Ashley Fresa photo

Thanks to outlets like Instagram, the Feed Feed, food blogs and the Food Network, people are getting more adventurous with their tastes. And thanks to those evolving palates, Sriracha — a hot sauce blend that originated in Thailand — has never been trendier.

That’s according to Jeremy Blutstein, the chef at Almond Restaurant and co-founder, along with Almond proprietor Jason Weiner, of the Kimchi Jews line of fermented sauces and spreads, dressings, oils and spices, and pickled produce sold at L&W Market.

“Srirachas, in general, are typically not as spicy as, let’s say, Tabasco, which is more about heat than flavor,” Blutstein says. “In Srirachas, you can really taste the pepper, you can taste the garlic. And they’re more user-friendly.”

The Kimchi Jews make four basic types of Sriracha plus a Sriracha mayonnaise, and the majority of the ingredients come from local farms.

Its proprietary red Sriracha ($10) is a blend of Fresno peppers, garlic, salt and sugar, fermented between two and eight days. The smoked green sriracha ($10) is a blend of jalapeno and poblano peppers, smoked before they are fermented, with a slightly milder heat than the first blend. The cherry pepper and apple Sriracha ($10) has a consistency reminiscent of applesauce, packing a sweet heat. The black bean ssäm label ($10) is “a spicy, Korean version of A1 Steak Sauce,” Blutstein says. A yellow Sriracha mayonnaise ($12) is blended from a Ho Chi Minh pepper base, which is one of the hottest things the Kimchi Jews make. A fermented hemp Sriracha made with Open Minded Organics hemp sold out faster than anyone anticipated, and more is on the way.

“They’re unapologetically hot,” Blutstein says. “They definitely open your eyes.”