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It has been a trying week for me, so I wanted to do something “just for fun” to take my mind off of some of the stuff that’s been going on. I first encountered Bajan Hot Pepper Sauce at Surfside Restaurant and Bar in Holetown a couple months into my stay in Barbados. It was love at first taste! I bought some at a grocery store and quickly realized it is considered one of the food staples here.
But when you go to buy it for the first time, the sheer number of choices can be pretty overwhelming. How do you know which one tastes the best, or which one is the best for the price? It didn’t take long before I had it in my head that I wanted to do a taste test to find my favorite.
Obviously, no two person’s taste buds are the same, so I pulled my partner Reuben in so we could provide a more comprehensive review of each sauce.
Disclaimer: We are not food connoisseurs nor chef Gordon Ramsays by any means. We’re just a couple of people who can appreciate a $10 meal just as much as (if not sometimes more than!) a $100+ meal. So this is our average people review of 8 different Bajan Pepper Sauces.
Although there are actually even a few more brands than we tried, we did cover the majority of everything available in smaller sized bottles at our local Jordan’s Supermarket. We stuck with mostly the generic flavor, but decided to add in one “Red Hot” and one “Cucumber” version into the mix for a little variety. Here’s what we ended up with:
• Amanda’s Bajan Pepper Sauce
• Country Boy Pepper Sauce
• Delish Bajan Hot Pepper Sauce with Cucumber
• Delish Bajan Hot Pepper Sauce
• Delish Bajan Red Hot Pepper Sauce
• Beta Hill Bajan Pepper Sauce
• ECAF Pepper Sauce
• Edward’s Pepper Sauce
To make sure we were passing fair judgement, we tasted each sauce with three different types of food.
• Food #1: Fish (Dolphin)
• Food #2: Vegetarian Nuggets
• Food #3: Potato Wedges
Before diving into the taste test, we did a quick analysis of how well each sauce poured and what the textures and consistencies were like. This information will be noted below with each sauce.
Finally getting to the good part! We have ranked our choices below, starting with #8, our least favorite and ending with our top choice as #1. Without further ado…
I don’t like to bash brands, so my sincerest apologies to Beta Hill (or Beta Hill lovers) if you happen to be reading! Sadly, I do have to report that the Beta Hill brand came in as our mutual least favorite of all the sauces we tried.
It tasted the best on our first round with Dolphin, but did not pair well with the veggie nuggets or wedges. By the third round, we weren’t even looking forward to tasting it again.
Price: $4.40 for 5oz.
Texture: The absolute most chunky of all the sauces we tried.
Pour Rating: 2nd Best!
Despite how chunky this sauce was, it somehow managed to pour the second best of all the sauces.
I was prepared for this to be the hottest of all the sauces, but it actually wasn’t as hot as I expected. Additionally, it also tasted better than both Reuben and I expected with the Dolphin.
Unfortunately, things went downhill on taste tests #2 and #3. With the vegetarian nuggets, all I could taste was ketchup and by the third round, I was somehow picking up hints of cinnamon in it. I’m not a ketchup fan at all, so this one ended up being a no-go for me.
Price: $4.50 for 355ml
Texture: Very, very thick and very red. A bit like ketchup with a few small chunks in it.
Pour Rating: The worst!
This bottle required shaking and repeated tapping on the plate to get it to come out at all.
ECAF was a conflicting one for Reuben and I. I thought it was much hotter than every other sauce, but somehow he thought it wasn’t as hot. No idea how that works!
My ratings were that I kept expecting it to taste better and it never really did (I thought it was worst with the wedges). Meanwhile Reuben gave it pretty solid 6.5/10 ratings across the board. To each their own!
Price: $3.10 for 6oz.
Texture: This one had a pretty middle of the road texture, leaning toward slightly more chunky than less. Somehow, it was also still one of the most watery sauces.
Pour Rating: 3rd worst.
Between the chunks and the wateriness, you either got a pile of chunks or a puddle of liquid.
I thought Country Boy had one of the more unique flavors of all the sauces we tried. Not necessarily the best, but it had a very homemade, mama’s cookin’ kind of taste to it, and I appreciated that about it. The flavor was pretty good, and not too overpowering.
Reuben and I mutually agreed that the Country Boy sauce with potato wedge was an underwhelming combination, as you could taste the potato more than the sauce. Not bad with fish or veggie nuggets though!
Price: $3.30 for 5oz.
Texture: This sauce had the most balanced texture – it wasn’t too liquidy and it wasn’t too chunky either. Like Goldilocks, it was juuuust right!
Pour Rating: Middle ground.
No real complaints. It didn’t gracefully fall out of the bottle but didn’t require much effort to tap out, either.
I have gone through a couple bottles of Amanda’s already, so I might have started developing a slight bias toward it. Oddly, I thought this sauce tasted most boring with the fish, but it was slightly better with nuggets and then actually quite good with potato wedges.
Of course, Reuben completely disagreed with me on this one giving it 4/10 ratings for each food we tried with it. He said it was mostly due to it being “boring” rather than having an actual negative taste to it, so at least there’s that!
Price: $??? for 12oz. (We already had this sauce and I didn’t think to note the price when we were in the store. Will take a look and update next shop!)
Texture: This sauce is definitely on the thicker side, coming in at the 2nd most chunky. It also definitely stands out as the most vibrant, neon orange.
Pour Rating: 3rd Best!
This one poured well and with a well distributed consistency all around.
This one was another unique flavor in our taste test line-up. For me personally, it had a stronger vinegar undertone than the rest of the sauces. In combination with the cucumber, I just kept tasting salad dressing.
To be fair, I like salad a lot and Reuben (who doesn’t even like vinegar) also liked the unique flavor. So Delish with Cucumber gets a mutual thumbs up from both of us!
Price: $2.95 for 6oz.
Texture: Not a lot of chunks, but the chunks are bigger than most of the other sauces – likely because they’re bits of cucumber.
Pour Rating: 2nd Worst!
The cucumber chunks make this one a difficult pourer.
When we were selecting all our sauces in the supermarket, a lovely local woman approached us and insisted we had to give the Edward’s brand a try. We were glad to have a local recommendation and added it to our collection.
And turned out, you should definitely listen to food recommendations from Bajans! This sauce came in as our mutual second favorite. The flavor worked great with all the foods we tried, and it was actually my favorite sauce combination with the dolphin.
Price: $2.50 for 8.4oz.
Texture: Another middle of the road one with just the right amount of chunkiness to it, but considerably more watery than all the other sauces.
Pour Rating: Winner!
This thing is surprisingly liquidy and flows right out of the bottle.
Delish was easily our favorite combo with both the veggie nuggets and wedges, and still scored high ranks with the fish. In fact, Reuben didn’t give it any scores under 7/10, and he doesn’t even like hot sauce very much.
So we’ll just say they have earned the right to their brand name – and we agree – this hot pepper sauce is delish!
Price: $4.75 for 12oz.
Texture: The least chunky of all the sauces, not too thick but not too liquidy, either.
Pour Rating: Middle ground.
Like the Country Boy brand, no real complaints here. Didn’t smoothly flow out but didn’t take effort to pour it out, either.
By the end of our taste test, we were referring to it as more of a “Bajan Hot Pepper Sauce Challenge“. Going through each round of food got progressively harder as your taste buds start to form opinions about which sauces they do and don’t like. Unfortunately… the ones you don’t like just taste worse and worse. Additionally, the heat does build up in your mouth, so keep some water or milk nearby!
None-the-less, I hope you found our taste test enjoyable and maybe even informative! I’m not sure I’ve seen anyone else do a comparison, but we had a lot of fun. It’s definitely something to try on a rainy or lazy day in Barbados, locals and tourists alike!
Agree/disagree with our ratings? Did we miss out on an important one? Leave your comments below and let us know!
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