Some like it hot. and then there are the rest of us who like it even hotter. While many of Toronto's Caribbean kitchens rely on two-for-$1 bottles of Grace's thin Tabasco-esque sauce for their modified heat, a few concoct their own explosive cocktails. These are our picks for the most incendiary sauces.
Popular Parkdale roti shop Bacchus (see mini-review, page 41) may look like an old-fashioned fish-and-chips shop, but its island fusion grub couldn't be more cutting-edge. Pump the volume even higher with take-home jars of the house red-chili hot sauce ($4.95/8 oz), a condiment the menu claims is available in three strengths: mild, medium and "hotxhot." Order the strongest and be told by the counter staff that it's all the same: just add more.
We suggest using an eyedropper to apply the salty red fire-starter sold at Chicken Plus (216 Close, at Queen, 416-516-0747) across the way. Sold in a pint-sized Mason jar ($3.50/4 ounces), even the smallest amount gives the surprisingly sizable boneless chicken roti ($5.75) the knockout punch of nitro-glycerine.
Two-month old Island Man (797 King West, at Bathurst, 416-703-6485) is the latest addition to condoland. Alongside a short card of island standards -- jerk chicken dinners ($6.50 small/$8.50 large), veggie rotis ($6) and patties ($1.25) -- the Man carries bottles of Sade's sadistically hot pepper sauce ($3.50/5 ounces). Any relation to the marquis? Not to be outdone, The Real Jerk (see listing page 43) sells five-ounce bottles of its flamethrower-strength hot pepper sauce for only $2.99.
Irene Morales of Jumbo Empanadas (245 Augusta, at Baldwin, 416-977-0056) doesn't just make the mightiest South American savoury turnovers in town; her relish-style Chilean hot sauce goes as well with her terrific tamales as it does with slow-cooked JA-style oxtail with lima beans. Grab a 32-ounce tub for only seven bucks and watch it disappear in a week.
For a wickedly scorching taste of the diaspora, you can't beat the heat at Liban (211 Queen East, at Sherbourne, 416-214-5901), a Somali spoon legendary for its green-chili hot sauce. But be careful if you order takeout. By the time you get it home, the styrofoam coffee cup this killer condiment comes in is likely to have melted.
True connoisseurs of the flame flock to Cajun Corner (920 Queen East, at Logan, 416-703-4477), a N'Awlins-style café and specialty shop that carries more than 30 fiery elixirs, among them Terror Alert Hot Sauce ($7.95), Bayou Butt Burner Hot Sauce ($6.49) and our vote for most accurately described: Hottest Fuckin' Sauce ($9.95/all 5 ounces).