Mendez Hot Sauce has a mix of Malagueta peppers and vinegar tang that will leave you wondering, “How can I fit this into my pocket to take with me everywhere?” This popular Brazilian hot sauce is a unique flavor experience, with a mild-medium kick of heat and a surprising flavor profile and consistency. How does it all work together? Let’s break down what makes this sauce so special.
I honestly don’t know how Mendez Hot Sauce is vegan; it amazingly tastes like a hot (read – “perfect”) version of how a spicy (but thinner) mayo should. The ingredients list is simple and doesn’t specify the peppers (but it’s known they are predominantly Malagueta peppers): Mix of special chili peppers, vinegar, sunflower oil, sea salt, preservatives, thickener, and antioxidants.
On the first bite, you get the fresh taste of the malagueta peppers right away, and even though they’re high on the Scoville heat unit, they are very rounded out well in this sauce (more on that below). You will not be running for milk with this sauce, you’ll only be running to order more. You can even taste little chunks of the fresh peppers which reminds you you’re eating the real thing, not a powdered pepper.
The vinegar in the sauce is very mellow and there’s just enough saltiness – neither overwhelms. There’s also a sweet undertone, all-natural likely coming from the Malagueta peppers since there is no sugar in Mendez Hot Sauce. The sweet and salty flavors here round out the heat and bring out all the fresh flavors of the peppers quite nicely.
Overall this sauce has a really nice warmth to it, with flavors that won’t overtake your meal, but simply add to it.
Don’t let the sound of malagueta peppers scare you from trying this. Yes, these chilies can range from 50,000 to 100,000 Scoville heat units – the top being near the same heat as a milder habanero pepper. But in this sauce, the heat is mild to medium and it quickly dissipates. The level of spiciness here allows this sauce to be a family staple.
Compared to a typical hot sauce, Mendez Hot Sauce may be harder to find things to pair with due to the exotic build and mayo like feel. But I was pleasantly surprised each time I used it in testing.
I used it as a salsa with chips all on its own and it worked really well as a salsa alternative. On steak it added just the right amount of heat and salt kick that I like. I also added this to my pizza and I didn’t even reach for my ranch! Yes, we’ve been through this, I am one of those people. Even though this sauce sits nowhere near the taste of ranch, the thickness and flavor of it was a nice touch.
The bottle doesn’t feel or look exotic at all. It’s made of plastic that’s easy to squeeze, with a spout the size of a pencil eraser. The label reads “homemade” and also reminds you that the Mendez Hot Sauce company actually employs families in Brazil to make its sauce. Every 5,000 bottles sold employs one whole family in Brazil for one year, which is just another reason to keep ordering this sauce (and possibly ordering in bulk.)
The collectibility here is in the homemade feel and Mendez’s altruistic mission. It doesn’t read gourmet and there are no cool pictures on it, but it does read that it’s made with love. It simply delivers flavor and heat, alongside a heartwarming mission. When you buy this, you know you’re buying from a family who cares.