• Charles Pludthura

Destination Dining: The Chilli Oil-Jam-Sauce at Neighbours Restaurant

You know just looking at that sauce on the dumplings it's going to be good

I know what you're thinking. How can a sauce be a dish of the day? Look, good point. And to be fair, you are absolutely bang on. It shouldn't be defined a dish but this is the Foodcraft blog and at Foodcraft, if you get the chance to come on one of our eating tours, you'll soon realise there are no rules, other than to enjoy and have a damn good time. And a damn good time this chili oil is. Actually you'll notice I have already called it a sauce and an oil within the same paragraph, so welcome to my dilemma....what the hell is it? Well, it's really both but the consistency of it is almost jam-like. Regardless of how you define it, it is indeed a thing of beauty.

Neighbours Restaurant is a Taiwanese eatery in the city centre. They have another branch in Somerville, for your interest. Whether you can get this sauce there I have no idea but if you go to the CBD, get your butt here and ask to buy the large chili sauce. For $14, you will get a decent sized plastic container which if you keep in the fridge will last you as long as your spice addiction allows it to last.

My spice addiction means that I fairly (and unfairly) judge every spice condiment that comes my way from eatery to eatery and household to household. The title of best sauce I've ever tasted goes to the XO sauce prepared at a Claypot restaurant which used to be in the food court of the QV shopping centre in the Melbourne CBD. It's no longer there sadly. But it was complex, tasty and the most amazing thing you could ever put on any type of seafood. Now, most chili oils that you get at Chinese restaurants in Auckland are usually pretty timid. I highly rate the chili sauce at one of Foodcraft's all-time fave cheap eats in Otahuhu - that is right up there in the pantheon of world's greatest chili oils. It is slightly hotter than the Neighbours version, however the latter has a hint of sweetness to it along with what I think is a touch of garlic as well. There's probably other cool stuff in there but it's all very subtle. The end result is a sauce that is toasty, spicy, and tasty. A condiment you can douse on any of your typical Asian rice or noodle dishes, or add to other sauces to give it a spot of spice. I've used it on cold roast chicken sandwiches, hot roast chicken baguettes, slathered over cheap Dominos pizzas, and even over my breakfast fry-ups. It is without doubt an all-purpose sauce. And worthy winner for today's Dish of the Day. Go buy some now.

Keen on checking this dish out? Go to:

Neighbours Restaurant, 6 - 8 Lorne St, Auckland CBD

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