Once upon a time, there existed only ketchup, mustard, mayo, relish, barbecue sauce, and salad dressings in the American canon of condiments. Now, thankfully, there’s literally a whole world of condiments out there, and we’ve gathered 10 that you should really know about.
A condiment, in its simplest definition, is “a substance that’s used to add flavor to food.” Salt is a condiment. And while we tend to think of condiments as simply something we can squirt out of a bottle to jazz up a burger or sandwich, their uses are actually infinite.
Every culture around the world has its condiments. In Chile, there’s spicy ají, usually made with tomatoes, peppers, onions, and cilantro. Walnut-based satsivi is popular in Georgia. Indians have hundreds of varieties of chutneys, based on everything from mangoes to dates and ginger. Garlicky, yogurt-based tzatziki is popular in Greece, malty black vinegar is popular in Korea, and spicy nam phrik is a Thai staple. So why just stick with ketchup?
Not every condiment on earth is intended to top a burger or dip fries into, obviously, so read on to learn about 10 condiments from around the world, what foods they best complement, and where to find them if you want to try them out for yourself.
Achaar is a family of pickled fruits and vegetables popular in India, chopped into small pieces and cooked in oil and brine with lots of salt, turmeric, and other spices. They vary from region to region, but are usually made from mango and lime, and can also contain cauliflower, carrot, tomato, onion, and eggplant. It can be eaten as-is or served alongside just about any Indian dish; you can order it online at PickleMasti.
This Indonesian condiment is made primarily with chili peppers; other ingredients can include fish sauce, garlic, shallot, ginger, lime juice, sugar, and vinegar. It pairs perfectly with fried chicken and grilled or fried fish. Sambal oelek, a popular variation, is commonly used in cooking, and is a great way to spice up sauces, soups, and marinades. Dean & Deluca sells it online.