As far as hot sauces go, Tapatio isn’t actually very hot. The American-made “salsa picante” only registers around 3,000 on the Scoville heat scale, which is about three times hotter than the very mild, yet similarly flavored, Cholula sauce.
But Tapatio is one of those all-purpose hot sauces that you should keep on hand in your kitchen.
Tapatio, which means ‘one who hails from Guadalajara,’ Mexico, (even though the sauce is actually produced in California), is an excellent companion spice for just about anything: salads, eggs, chicken and meat, nachos, etc. They even make Tapatio-flavored Doritos and Fritos.
Tapatio is not too hot and not too weak - it’s got just the right amount of chili pepper kick without all the ridiculous, lip-numbing heat that comes with some of the really hot hot sauces. Tapatio’s recipe has been secret since the company formed in 1971, but its main ingredients are listed as follows: water, “red peppers”, salt, spices, and garlic.
Another reason Tapatio is so popular is that it’s extremely versatile. It comes in many shapes and forms, from industrial-sized plastic gallon jugs to seven-gram packets that are basically good for one squirt on a taco-to-go.
But like other American or Mexican bottles of hot sauce that are not Tabasco, Tapatio is extremely hard to find in the Middle East. It is currently only sold in the United States, Mexico, and recently in some parts of Europe.
There is, however, a restaurant in Abu Dhabi called Taqado that can help with this problem.
Taqado is an Emirati-run fast food Mexican restaurant with outlets in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The restaurant is all about serving fresh, authentic Mexican ingredients in all their food. Lucky for spicy food lovers – that includes imported hot sauce like Cholula and Tapatio. Both hot sauce bottles can also be sold to customers if the restaurant has enough in stock.
If you do buy Tapatio in Abu Dhabi, it will cost you an arm and a leg. Taqado sells 5-ounce bottles of Tapatio for 28 dirhams (around $7.60). By contrast, you can order a case of 24 of the same sized bottles for $20 in the United States.
But if you don’t have a trip to North America planned and you’re really hankering for one of the best edibly-hot hot sauces on the planet, then you’re probably also willing to shell out the cash.
Tapatio is worth it.