Monday, September 20, 2010

Discover a New Exotic Condiment: Yuzusco!

The West has pasta, the East have noodles; America has bourbon, Japan has sake, so what is Japan's equivalent of hot sauce? A recent phenomenon in the condiment world is Yuzusco, a spicy liquid yuzu seasoning. The name Yuzusco is shortened from "yuzu suko," which is a summary of its ingredients: yuzu peel, vinegar (su) and pepper (ko). Yuzu is a citrus fruit that is used primarily for the rind that tastes kind of like lemon and orange.

Yuzusco uses a particular variety of yuzu that is native to Kyushu. Kyushu is also the birthplace of yuzu kosho, the original yuzu chili condiment base, which is the predecessor of this more enhanced and easy-to-use yuzu seasoning. Similar in taste to jalapeƱos, but a little more tangy, this zesty (but not incredibly overpowering) condiment is incredibly versatile and can be used to add and enhance the flavor to almost any dish, be it meat, fish, salads, or even crackers. Adding Yuzusco to pizza is also highly recommended! Hakata Tonton, which serves soul food from Kyushu, uses it intensely in their tonsoku dishes. One of our favorite of these dishes was slathered with a lickable Yuzusco and miso sauce that brought out the complexity and meatiness of the tonsoku. It comes in many different varieties, and Takahashi Shoten, the company that makes it, now offers Shogasco, a ginger pepper seasoning. Yuzusco has such a unique flavor that it's definitely going to be a regular on my spice rack.

Spicy, flavorful, and exotic, Yuzusco is the taste of Kyushu cuisine in a bottle. Come to the Soul Food Festival and have a sample of it this Sunday!

Hakata Tonton's tonsoku pork with miso and Yuzusco sauce
Yuzusco, yuzo kosho, and yuzu chili