Spicy Tangy Funky Dipping Sauce // One Culture Foods // New York, NY
You local Asian grocery’s condiment aisle (or aisles, typically) can be a daunting bestiary of unfamiliar labels — roosters and scorpions, sharks and ducks — that makes picking the right sauce a shot in the dark. One Culture makes it easy. Street-market-inspired, restaurant-quality goodness, right in your cupboard, with no filler and no secrets — it’s all there in the name. Spicy from fresh chilies, tangy with exotic tamarind and lime, and funky from fermented Southeast Asian fish sauce — first-pressed fist sauce, at that (damn right, it’s a thing). Wrap fresh shrimp-and-veggie spring rolls in lightly moistened rice paper, fill a bowl with sauce, and get dipping.
Black Rice Crackers // Laiki // Fremont, CA
So easy to munch, so hard to do so healthily: call it the cracker conundrum. In search of wholesome crisps (less salt, less processing), the folks at Laiki found either flavorless airy puffballs or tooth-cracking flakes of drywall. So, naturally, they made their own, with whole-grain black rice, good Thai palm oil, a pinch of salt, and nothing else — no frills, not even on their packaging. Perfect alone for mid-meal snacking, sturdy support for crudités and cheese, and — our favorite — a surprising snap when stuffed inside a sandwich or spring roll.
Shrimp & Super Green Rice Paper Rolls Recipe Here
Borsellino Salami // La Quercia // Norwalk, IA
Italian salami from Iowa? We warned you about breaking rules. The secret’s in the name: The oak trees under which Parma pigs fatten up on acorns is also the official tree of the company’s founders’ home state. But when you use local, sustainable meat (fennel-spiked Duroc-Berkshire butt), do your work in an energy efficient factory, and hawk the finished product in biodegradable plant-based packaging, well, who cares where it’s made? Don’t sweat the provenance — focus on the pan at hand. For a perfect meaty sandwich spread, fry a few salami slices in olive oil until crisp, toss in a handful of mushrooms, turn down the heat and simmer, adding butter as needed. Spoon onto thick-as-an-oak-trunk toast, and top with a fried egg.
Mushroom Toast With Fried Borsellino Salami Recipe Here
River Of No Return // Caboose Spice Co. // Middleton, ID
This spicy, savory mix of smoked salt, brown sugar, and earthy marjoram gets its beguiling citrussy snap from sumac, a deep crimson Middle Eastern spice. It’s a global blend, complex and broad, heavenly with salmon, but great on anything that swims. As long as you cook it right: mix with olive oil, brush on whatever’s fresh and local, toss on the barbecue, and watch closely — shellfish are done when they open up, prawns and squid in a minute or two, and grill-ready fillets or whole fish, depending on thickness, in two or three minutes per side.
Fresca Salsa // La Fundidora // Brooklyn, NY
Salsa is a grill-side staple these days, but those neon red jars of store-bought extra-chunky are as authentic as your shrink-wrapped buns are bakery-fresh. Grow up, hombre. Simple and fresh and bursting with flavors bright as beachside sun, La Fundadora makes the real deal: spicy serranos and tangy tomatillos, hot as sand, cooling as the waves. Give your fresh-grilled fish the dressing it deserves.
Char Grilled Seafood with Salsa Verde Recipe Here
Heirloom Black Calypso Beans // Rancho Llano Seco // Chico, CA
On this two-and-a-half-century-old central-California Mexican land grant, when the cowboys finish herding heirloom cattle, they ride the oak savannah, beckoned home by hearty farmhand soup: Caramelized onions, a charred jalapeño, a bay leaf or two, and these plump and polka-dotted beans, succulent and slowly simmered. A Caribbean native that thrives here in the fertile soil, Calypsos can give even landlocked cowpokes a taste of the islands. Hey, paradise is where you find it.