It's not exactly a secret that I love Thai Nakorn in Garden Grove and Stanton. My happiest lunches are when I open the menu to the page marked “Thai Nakorn Special”, close my eyes, and point. Crispy catfish and shredded mango salad? Yes, please. Dry-fried, sausage-stuffed squid? YES, please.
I usually eat in, though, and get the Wheel O'Chiles put on my table with the pickled chile paste, the green chiles floating in vinegar and the dry toasted Thai bird chiles. These all provide the required heat to Thai food, but when I stopped by the other day to get take-out (skip the pad Thai, by the way, in favor of the other wonderful things on the menu) I got the two tiny cups pictured above.
They've developed what has to be the most pungent, most effective hot
sauce in Orange County. Note that I didn't say the hottest–though it
packs a huge chile punch, it's not technically as hot as things like
Dave's Insanity Sauce or the other powdered-capsaicin-and-vinegar
creations intended for 19-year-old boys with something to prove.
This sauce, which appears to be made from chiles, fish sauce and vinegar, was so strong that upon leaving it open on my desk at work, a few minutes later I had people asking what on Earth I was eating and to please stop gassing them. They weren't kidding–my eyes were watering. You could load this stuff into plastic water pistols and cause some serious damage.
The best part, though? It tasted AMAZING. A big chile burn and a deep funkiness that vinegar alone wouldn't have developed.
I just can't eat it at work.