Star-Bulletin Features

Wednesday, May 5, 1999

Choose your weapon

By Betty Shimabukuro


Forget Tabasco. Buy local. Satisfy your hot tooth with a Hawaii-made pepper sauce. Not only will you spike your food, but in many cases you'll get a taste of the islands as well -- a little ogo flavoring, a touch of mango or lilikoi, ginger or miso.

Local hot sauces are a thriving industry, being produced from Honokaa to Waialae, in temperature levels from mild to painfully hot. They are available at many supermarkets, specialty food stores and Longs Drug Stores. But the most comprehensive selection is at It's Chili in Hawaii, 2080 S. King St. (945-7070), a tiny storefront dedicated to the proposition that a good meal is a spicy meal.

Co-owner Ken Martinez helped compile this chart of hot sauces, comparing them against the known quantity -- Tabasco. If you're thinking of trying one out, but aren't sure which one to take a chance on, this should help. If you need more help, stop by Martinez's store. He'll give you a sample of any sauce, served up on a tiny spoon, cup of water on the side. Be prepared to gasp, cough and wheeze.

Photos by Dennis Oda

Giovanni's Hot and Spicy Sauce: Seriously, dangerously, hot. Use lightly. Brush over meat on the barbecue, or blend with butter and use to cook seafood.


Arturo's Nitro sauces:
Three levels of heat, ranked 3, 7 and 10. Serve with soup, noodles, rice, oysters. Replaces hot sauce in any recipe.

Maui Tacos Hawaiian Hula Heat: Roasted flavor. Use as you would Tabasco.


Paradise Hot Mango Sauce from Real Fresh Cookin': Vinegar base. Use as you would Tabasco.


Poele by Max:
A soy-chile mix, available hot or mild. Try over green mango, or mixed with rice and a raw egg for breakfast.

Hawaiian Kine Tasty Splash: Use with stir fries, lumpia, tofu or as a marinade. On the salty side.


Chile pepper waters:Combinations of water, salt, peppers and garlic, use in poke, dressings, over fish and chips or french fries. Brands include Uncle Bill's, Hawaiian Chili by Max (the hottest of the bunch) and Avalon, from the Maui restaurant.


Aunty Soon's Kimchee and Hot Stuff sauces:
Like Tabasco. Use for kim chee or to spice up cucumbers.

Hawaiian Hot Sauce by Noh: Mild, Korean-style sauce. Good for serving with steak.


Arturo's Island Flavors sauces: Seven flavors include Makai, an ogo-flavored dressing good over clams or oysters. Others are named for the Hawaiian islands, the most popular being Maui, a traditional onion/tomato sauce. Molokai is a curry sauce; the others are fruit flavors for dipping meat or drizzling on cheesecake.

Exotic Ginger Miso or Chinoiserie Hoisin Raspberry Dressing by That Personal Touch. For salad dressing, tofu sauce or meat marinade.

Hawaiian Kine Ono Drizzle: A mild dressing with a sweet-sour taste. Good as a salad dressing or dipping sauce for spring rolls. Mix with yogurt for a dip.


Homemade 'Tabasco'

"The Chile Pepper Encyclopedia," by
Dave DeWitt, William Morrow, 1999

1 pound fresh Tabasco chiles, chopped (see note)
2 cups distilled white vinegar
2 teaspoons salt

Combine chiles and vinegar in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in salt and simmer 5 minutes.

Remove from heat, cool and place in a blender. Puree until smooth, strain and place in a a glass jar.

Allow to steep for two weeks in the refrigerator.

Strain the sauce again and adjust the consistency by adding more vinegar if necessary.

Keeps indefinitely in the refrigerator. Makes 2 cups.

Note: Personalize your sauce by substituting any small, hot, fresh chile, such as the Hawaiian chile pepper.

Nutritional information unavailable.

Do It Electric
Click for online
calendars and events.

E-mail to Features Editor

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
[Stylebook] [Feedback]

© 1999 Honolulu Star-Bulletin