Lao Gan Ma Scoville

Without knowing the name, this hot sauce was elusive to find. I searched high and low all over the Internet. I had tasted it before. There are hot sauces spanning the whole range of that Scoville scale heat index. Most are just plain straight heat. Most are either plain liquid or whipped into a puree finer than baby food. Some have 2 layers of flavors, like being mostly spicy hot with a vinegary touch a la Tabasco. Very few have the robust complex layers of yummy flavors that this Chinese hot sauce has. I knew what the jar looked like. It’s red and yellow with a stately lady’s face. But I couldn’t find an match until I bought a jar at 99 Ranch last week and read the label over dinner tonight: LAOGANMA. And a quick Google search for Laoganma turned up 149,000 results! That’s far short of the number of jars that the LaoGanMa factory produces daily, numbered at 430,000 jars. In a day!

Now, here’s where I need help. Especially those of you who can read Chinese and are bilingual. I can’t read Chinese. I don’t know what it says on the jars, so I don’t know what I’m getting into with the 3 different jars above. Can you explain and enlighten me before I do my taste test?


The latest innovation in small-scale Scoville testing is the Chilica-Pod. The device is not currently on the market but similar to the ChiliPot also uses a smartphone to display results. This and the ChiliPot are both great accessories to have for hot sauce recipes to determine the SHU and would be much more reliable than stamping a hot sauce label with mild, medium, or hot. Read more on the Chilica-Pod here.

Capsaicin is responsible for heat in a hot pepper

Capsaicin is the chemical component in a hot pepper that is responsible for the heat. It is a tasteless and odorless element but can be measured within the pepper itself. Tasting hot peppers is a fairly accurate method of testing the heat and was how the Scoville scale developed originally. However, not everyone feels the same sensation from a hot pepper because some people can tolerate it more than others.

Wilbur Scoville invented the Scoville method by slowly diluting a pepper extract in precise intervals until the heat was gone. The original scale was based on tasting hot sauce, but contemporary methods used advanced laboratory testing. As new pepper varieties were being added, tasting no longer became accurate due to the exhausting efforts of tasting sauces repeatedly. This eventually exhausted the taste buds and could not produce as accurate results.

Jamaican Scotch Bonnet Sauce will spice up any dish.

Lao Gan Ma Scoville

Popular throughout the Caribbean, the Scotch Bonnet pepper (100,000-350,000 on the Scoville scale) has particular importance to many cooks of Jamaica, who use this vegetable in a wide variety of recipes, including Scotch Bonnet Hot Sauce.

This incendiary condiment typically includes pureed Scotch Bonnets, vinegar, salt, and seasonings like allspice, and some choose to temper the sauces powerful heat (and bring an extra flavor level) by adding fruits like mango or pineapple.


Why is Lao Gan Ma not spicy?

It’s a little spicy and full of flavor, great texture, crispy with great fragrance. Aside from all the flavors, it will make you addicted for no other reason than its mild spicy nature. This sauce is best used when making mapo tofu and stir-fries among other dishes.

How hot is 6000000 Scoville units?

Chili in Guizhou are large in size, full in body and contain more water. This difference makes Guizhou chili more suitable for making hot sauce, which can give the sauce an aroma other than the spicy flavor. According to some, after switching to Henan chili, Lao Gan Ma lost its unique flavor.

How spicy is 8000 Scoville units?

Chipotle Pepper Scoville

Chipotle peppers range from 2,500 to 8,000 on the Scoville scale, making them just as hot as jalapenos.

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