Hot Sauces Around The World

Hot sauce is a condiment found in nearly every country in the world. For the Americans there’s the ubiquitous Tabasco, China has Chili Crisp, and Peru has Aji. However what about the rest of the countries? As a world traveler, my goal is to continually update this article about hot sauces around the world as I discover, taste, and even learn how to make them.

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North America

South America




North America

The United States Of America

The good old US of A is quite the hot sauce addicted culture. What many people don’t know, is that most hot sauces in America come from the Louisiana style . This sauce of just peppers, vinegar, and salt is made most famous by Tabasco…although many Louisianians will argue Crystal is the better hot sauce.


Mexico is known worldwide for its hot sauce, and it would be impossible to pick just one style or brand that is significant. However, as anyone who has been will tell you, the most popular hot sauce in Mexico is Valentina.

Valentina is far less vinegar forward than Tabasco or other Louisiana style sauces. In fact, the bottles do not have a dripper insert so you can just pour the sauce on whatever you are eating. If you like street food and happen to be in Mexico, make sure to ask the vendor for some hot sauce, it’ll most likely be Valentina.


Picamas hot sauce will be familiar to those from Guatemala, as it’s the most popular hot sauce in the country. The green as you might guess is quite mild, but the red adds heat AND flavor to your dishes.

What differentiates this Guatemalan hot sauce from your basic Louisiana style is that they add a thickener. In this case a bit of flour to give the sauce more richness and texture.

South America


Colombia isn’t known for its spicy food (I should know, I lived there for a while). In fact, it’s not really known for using much seasoning to start with. However if you are a hot sauce fiend, then you can still find some peppery goodness in Colombia.

Colombia’s hot sauce is known as Aji. Yes, the same word as Peru’s exceptional hot sauce. In Colombia you will find that Aji is more herb forward than spicy, but every once in a while you’ll find a restaurant or vendor who has an Aji that just knocks your socks off.


Peruvian chicken with aji verde recipe

Peruvian Aji Sauce is in my opinion the best hot sauce in South America. It is a perfect pairing for roasted or grilled meats and something you will find all throughout the country. I will warn you that it can be very, very hot.

Interestingly, unlike Tabasco which uses…tabasco peppers, Peruvian Aji doesn’t have a set chile. Sometimes you get a sauce that is as mild as can be, and sometimes it makes you sweat at first taste.


The national hot sauce of Brazil is Molho Apimentado. This sauce is primarily made with Malagueta peppers which have a range of 60,000 to 100,000 Scoville units. For reference a Jalapeno is around 5,000-10,000 units.

You’ll find Molho Apimentado at Brazilian BBQ restaurants as well as at street food vendors, and one of the most popular brands of Molho Apimentado is Mendez. This Brazilian hot sauce has an almost mayo like consistency, even though mayo is not an ingredient. It is creamy, fruity, and hot, making it great with fish, poultry, and red meat.



Hungarian sweet paprika paste.

Hungarian cuisine is often considered the spiciest in Europe. That might not mean much if you are from Mexico or Thailand, but for Europeans they tend to feel it. It all comes down to the famous Hungarian paprika. While they grow many varieties, the hottest is known as erős, or erős pista.

This spicy condiment is used in plenty of Hungarian dishes. Most popular are in the national dish of Gulyas (goulash) and Paprikash, a dish named after the pepper itself. The paste or sauce is also commonly added to Halászlé, or Fisherman’s Soup.

To Be Continued…