In recent years, Korean food has been one of the most celebrated cultural foods in the world. Among popular Korean dishes like Bibimibap and Tteokbokki, many incorporate the pioneering Korean sauce, Gochujang. Our KPOP Foods Fam should be no stranger to Gochujang especially since our KPOP Original Sauce is made with authentic and unaltered Gochujang. However, many of us don’t truly understand the difference between Gochujang and Sriracha, the latter being another popular and versatile hot sauce used for various dishes. We examined the similarities and differences between these two hot sauces to make it easier for you to choose the best hot sauce for your next meal. 😋
Gochujang originates from Korea and is primarily made up of red chile pepper flakes, glutinous rice, fermented soybeans, and salt. With the combination of these ingredients, Gochujang is traditionally fermented for many years in an earthenware pot kept outdoors.
The fermentation gives time for the glutinous rice to convert to sugar, giving the sauce an underlying sweetness while creating a thicker and starchier texture than Sriracha. Many brands have modernized this process, but Gochujang is still fermented for months to thicken and create a rich, complex flavor. The chili pepper flakes provide the perfect amount of heat and the soybean creates a unique umami flavor. Gochujang is typically used in stews, braises, marinades, and sauces. Mix Gochujang into a marinade for beef, buttery sauce for chicken wings, or mayonnaise spread for sandwiches. This sauce is definitely not meant to be used as a finishing sauce on its own like Sriracha because the fermented soy notes might be too aggressive. Gochujang has the tangy and funky flavor found in all fermented foods, but Sriracha does not have that quality.
Sriracha originates from Vietnam and is primarily made of chiles, sugar, salt, garlic, distilled vinegar, potassium sorbate, sodium bisulfite, and xanthan gum. The chile provides a moderate spice and the vinegar adds tang to the sauce while breaking down the peppers to act as a preservative. The Huy Fong factory mixes the chiles with salt, vinegar, and preservatives and seals them in barrels because their special peppers are only in season for four months out of the year. The factory then draws from their stash throughout the year to make their famous hot sauce.
The consistency of Sriracha is similar to Ketchup due to their unique combination of ingredients and the addition of xanthan gum, their primary thickening agent. Sriracha is milder than Gochujang because it’s a condiment that is meant to be added to cooked food to bring heat without being overpowering. While Gochujang gets its umami flavor from fermented soybean paste, Sriracha gets its savory quality from the garlic it contains, which is much milder. A key difference between the two hot sauces is that Gochujang needs to be refrigerated after opening while Sriracha can be stored at room temperature for prolonged periods of time. Sriracha can be used in any dish that calls for a basic hot sauce such as fried rice, scrambled eggs, sandwiches, pizza, and more.
We hope that the next time you're looking for the perfect hot sauce to add to your meal, you'll be able to easily make the decision between Gochujang or Sriracha! Stay saucy 😉