How did sambal and sriracha become ubiquitous with Middle Eastern food like falafel and schwarma?

These two seemingly separate cuisines share these two condiments? How did that happen? Is it just complimenting flavors or some kind of entwined history?



usuba D. September 19, 2012
I do not associate sambal with Middle Eastern food, but rather Indonesia food. The food of today has blurred the line between cultures with fantastic results. If you study the fusion, you will see how many cultures have similar ingredients, but different. Even my explanation is blurred.
susan G. September 19, 2012
I have had falafel in Israel served with hot sauce, but something indigenous. (Ever had zhug, a hot sauce with Yemenite origins, very popular in Israel? I doubt it was that, but that would be more 'from the culture' than Asian condiments.)
finzurriaga September 19, 2012
Sure. Those answers all make sense. I should've clarified more, I meant a quick service type places that are more focused on schwarmas and sandwiches. My bet would've been on the availability and put sriracha on everything mentality, just wondering if there was more of a history to it than that. Thanks.
Reiney September 19, 2012
I've never seen sambal or sriracha served with felafel or schwarma. But if I had to guess, I'd say it's either

1) because they're easier to find, and perhaps more versatile, than harissa, or

2) a victim of the "let's put sriracha on everything!" trend (see also: bacon)
pierino September 19, 2012
Sarah just nailed one of my peeves, "let's put sriracha on everything!". It's the new Heinz ketchup. I have great admiration for the guy who founded Huy Fong Foods but there are places where I just don't want to taste it.
pierino September 19, 2012
I'm not sure that "ubiquitous" is exactly true but sambal and sriracha have a lot in common with the popular Tunisian table condiment harrissa. I would agree that they complement the same types of foods.
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