We all know what it’s like heading to your local Mexican restaurant for dinner. There are a few things that are pretty much guaranteed – there will be food envy from the person who ordered salad not fajitas; someone will drink too many margaritas and slump into a tequila-coma in the corner; you’ll be fighting for the last guacamole-laden nacho. And also at least two people are going to have a Scoville Sauce-Off.
No, this is not some weird ketchup vs. mustard event performed by the silver-fox ex-Gordon the Gofer handler – for those uninitiated with the Scoville Scale then here’s the (peppery) juice.
In 1912, Dr Wilbur Scoville decided it was high time we had a resource for measuring just how blisteringly hot some chills were compared to their more mild counterparts. Assumedly this was so the wusses could be distinguished from the real fire-breathers that didn’t bat an eyelid at necking a Trinidad Moruga Scorpion (yes friends, that really is a beast of a chilli).
The Scoville Scale measures the capsaicin concentration – these are the heat components of the dried peppers. And making chills into Hot Sauce isn’t a new thing – there is evidence of Aztecs using them as far back as 7000 BC. We bet they used to have competitions to see who could bear up under the heat as well – in fact, this could be how they sometimes chose their leader.*
Depending on your tongue tolerance, you’re either going to love or loathe a drop of the spicy stuff. At El Camion Mexicana we adore a bit of hot condiment, and this has evolved into our Wall of Sauce.
We have on average about 350 – 400 sauces to choose from, from the milder Tabasco to one simply labelled ‘Pain 100%’. We get them from an American based supplier plus, whenever we see anything tempting, we grab that too. Generally we like to pop a bit on the side of a burrito or quesadilla to bring out the flavours (especially when there’s cooling sour cream to hand), but every now and then it’s fun to test our taste buds and go for something a little more radical.
For a website that gives an indicator of the kings of hot sauce check US Hot Stuff here , then drop along to El Camion in Soho for the fiery ride of your dining life.
*Note – this is in no way a fact.