Following on from the huge success of spicy sauce taberu rayu last year, food manufacturer’s are racing to produce the next sauce sensation. The media are also keen to get a hold of the next big thing and quite a bit of attention has been devoted to Ebara Foods’ Ougon no Aji Gudakusan Korean barbeque sauce, due to hit the shelves on Feb. 21.
Online magazine J-Cast ran a piece on the sauce with a headline speculating whether the sauce had the potential to become the next taberu rayu. Predictably, much of the copy was regurgitating the hype from Ebara’s press release, without providing any convincing reasons why the sauce might become a hit. The sauce, which contains onion, white sesame seeds and garlic, is merely a thicker version of the existing Ogun No Aji sauce already on the market, and doesn’t appear to have the unusual appeal of taberu rayu.
Our money is on jelly ponzu (ジュレぽん酢) coming out on top. Manufacturers claim that this gloopy jelly version of the citrus sauce is highly versatile and can be used to good effect on almost any dish. While traditional ponzu sauce is used as a salad dressing or eaten with fried foods such as tempura or chicken, jelly ponzu can be spread on virtually anything you fancy. We liked the sound of tofu with a jelly topping or seared tuna steaks and ponzu jelly.
Two new ponzu jelly products are launching this month. On Feb. 15. Yamasa Shoyu released their Kombu Ponzu Jelly (昆布ぽん酢ジュレ) and on Feb. 21 House Foods are bringing out Jelly Ponzu Topping (のっけてジュレぽん酢). Yamasa Shoyu’s PR representative Hiroyuki Ooshika explained in a recent article in Tokyo Walker where the jelly trend comes from: “Recently we’ve observed that many restaurants are using condiments in the form of jellies. We wanted to create a product which you could freely use at home.”
The Tokyo Walker editorial team did a trial run of the Kombu Ponzu Topping, testing it out on convenience store food to see if it really was as versatile as the maker’s claimed. The results were positive: The sauce went great with karage but even better with the more unusual food pairing of oden.