My bottle of Men P’aw Gourmet Hot Sauce finally arrived, and it was well worth the wait. It’s a Haitian-style hot sauce, which is to say that it’s packed with spices, it’s on the chunky side, and contains oil as opposed to the thin hot sauces you’re probably used to that contain a copious amount of vinegar.
Men P’aw hot sauces use five different types of hot peppers: red habaneros, orange habaneros, chocolate habaneros, cayenne peppers, and fatalli peppers. The less commonly known peppers of the group––the chocolate habanero and the fatalli pepper––both add the most flavor to this hot sauce.
The chocolate habanero, with its smoky undertones, is typically spicier than the regular habanero pepper that you’re used to, and the fatalli pepper bears a fruity, citrusy flavor with heat comparable to the standard habanero.
Aside from the hot peppers, Men P’aw Gourmet Hot Sauce includes onions and garlic, which you taste up front, a little apple cider vinegar––though its presence is not strong, and definitely not overbearing––and monosodium glutamate, also known as MSG. Let’s make this clear, though: although some report that MSG causes them to feel bloated, there is no substantiated evidence behind that. In fact, MSG is naturally occurring––among the most abundant naturally occurring non-essential amino acids around, found naturally in tomatoes, parmesan cheese, potatoes and other fruits and vegetables. MSG adds umami to a dish, which for all practical purposes, is a sense of “savory.”
When it hits your tongue, you taste the onions, garlic, and a very floral burst of the spices. Moving the oil and the seeds around on your tongue brings to the forefront a distinct smoky and habanero taste, in which you can taste some bright nodes, probably from the fatalli. The sauce is not going to burn your head off; the burn is even and enjoyable. Typing this, my mouth is starting to water. The sauce is deeply savory and hearty. If you’d like to watch someone try it, check out Ted Barrus’ review. He’s a pro.
Here’s the Men P’aw website, in case you want to get your hands on it. I highly recommend it. I will be adding this hot sauce to the crab soup I make every few months or so. Can’t wait to find other purposes for it.