Hot Yuzu Sauce Review

Like a little citrusy tang in your sauce? Muso From Japan’s Hot Yuzu Sauce delivers there in spades. It’s got that lemony tartness that’s totally fresh and zingy, but does that “zing” include a well-balanced chili pepper bite as well? And how usable is it with its bold citrusy bite? We dive into this unique pepper sauce to tell you all that and more.

Flavor

Let’s start things off with the Hot Yuzu Sauce ingredients list. The ingredients are: distilled vinegar, yuzu citrus pepper (yuzu zest, chili pepper, and salt), chili pepper, and sea salt.

You see some common motifs here (chili pepper and salt), but first: What is a yuzu? It’s not a familiar fruit for many. Yuzu is a citrus fruit that’s common in Asian countries, and it has sort of an “all citrus rolled into one” flavor. Sort of a mix of lemon, lime, grapefruit, and orange simultaneously.

Yuzu zest (what’s used here in this sauce) is pretty potent compared to other citrus zests. And you get that here right up front. Initially, you taste a lemony flavor combined with a really decent vinegar punch. It’s a tart opening, for sure (with a hint of fragrant floralness), but never quite bridges into sour. And that’s soon followed with chili pepper spiciness and a noticeable saltiness on the back-end.

A simple litmus test to whether you’ll like the flavor of Hot Yuzu Sauce: If you like the taste of lemon, you’ll like the flavor here. If you don’t, you may find Hot Yuzu Sauce a bit too much on the tongue.

The sodium rings in at 150 mg per teaspoon (6% of your daily allowance), so this is not a low-sodium sauce by any means. But it’s also tart, so you may not be taking multiple teaspoons in one sitting.

Hot Yuzu Sauce on a spoon
Hot Yuzu Sauce on a spoon

Heat Balance

Hot Yuzu Sauce doesn’t list the chili peppers used in its making, and they aren’t listed high up in the ingredients list. And that’s ok, the star of this sauce is the yuzu — any heat is complementary to it and any chili pepper flavor nuance sits well behind the citrusy flavor of the yuzu.

Overall, Hot Yuzu Sauce is mildly spicy. Not as mild as some super-mild hot sauces out there, but it doesn’t come near the likes of Tabasco or other low-medium heat everyday hot sauces.

The chili pepper spiciness hits you on the back-end, but, as said, it’s nothing too powerful. Your tongue will warm up and the back of your throat will feel a sting, but it doesn’t linger too long. I could eat about thee to four tablespoons of this stuff back-to-back with no issues with the spiciness. A lot of that has to do with the tartness. It sort of shocks the chili pepper heat to a secondary place in the flavor profile, and clears it out pretty quickly.

Usability

Fish (filets and shellfish) immediately come to mind as perfect uses for Hot Yuzu Sauce. It’s that lemony flavor, and it works so well with fish of all kinds. Seriously, this is now a go-to sauce for me for oysters. And I also love having this around as an alternative to soy sauce for sushi. It’s a really delicious lemon and vinegar twist.

The citrus and floral notes also work incredible well with chicken and vegetables. It really can turn bland into something pretty bold. But know, it can also overwhelm. If your dish already has a lot of nuanced tastes, they may all be masked by the citrusy flavor of Hot Yuzu Sauce.

Also note: Hot Yuzu Sauce is very watery. Shake it up before use, or you may find the end of the bottle a lot more potent than the start. And go slowly on the pour. The spout opening is the shape of a key, so it provides some control over the pouring, but not as much as if this had a dasher-style spout.

Collectibility

Hot Yuzu Sauce is more of a “sauce with spice” than a hot sauce, so it may not be the first thing a collector leans towards. But don’t overlook it. The flavor here is unique — it’s not for everyone, but it’s a perfect sauce to pull out as a “and now for something completely different” moment. It’s so different.

You’ll actually find this being more an alternative for other sauces (like soy sauce) rather than hot sauces, so it fills a totally different need in the kitchen.

The Score

The name says it all. Hot Yuzu Sauce pairs the citrusy flavor of yuzu fruit with chili pepper spiciness. It’s a unique flavor — lemony and floral, making it perfect for use with fish, shellfish, and chicken.

FINAL SCORE4.1
Overall Flavor4.5
Heat Balance4
Usability4
Collectibility4
X-Factor4
Based on a scale from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest)

UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on December 28, 2021 to include new content. It was originally published on December 11, 2021.
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