Lingham’s Hot Sauce

There are countless hot sauces out there, but I don't think any are as versatile or as addictive as Lingham's, which has been produced in Penang, Malaysia, for over a century. There's nothing in there but fresh red chiles, vinegar, sugar, and salt. Still, the bright red sauce delivers a special fiery kick and just enough sweetness. It's sort of a cross between the garlicky Sriracha you see at many Asian restaurants in the United States and Thai sweet chile sauce. The condiment was supposedly concocted in 1908 by an Indian immigrant whose last name was Lingham; by the 1950s, the sauce was popular all over Asia. Nowadays, you find it at street-food stalls across Malaysia, where it's sold as Lingham's Chilli Sauce and is often served as a dip for fried spring rolls, but you can also get it at Asian supermarkets in this country. I use it for barbecue marinades, sweet-and-sour pork, chicken, and fish, and I even drizzle it on omelettes and rice. —Bee Yinn Low, Irvine, California

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