There's a case to be made that the more diverse a cuisine's array of condiments, the better a meal is likely to be. Pho, the Vietnamese beef soup, is often served with bean sprouts, spicy-minty Thai basil, lime wedges, fish sauce, chili sauce, and hoisin. Condiments are the foundation of America's marriage to hot dogs. And without the layer of cheese curds and gravy, Canada's beloved poutine would be a sad plate of French fries.
Miami, with its strange blend of food and cultures, has its own condiments that are as welcome in your refrigerator as they are on your table.
5. Hot sauce from Huahua's Taqueria
Earlier this year, Todd Erickson, who dragged us kicking and screaming to a date with fried chicken tacos, began blending his own hot sauce ($6.99) to slather atop a taco or to grab to go. There are plenty of varieties, and the chipotle-malt is a good starter, with smoked peppers, jalapeños, cumin, coriander, agave nectar, and malt vinegar.
4. Sazón completa
This unsuspecting seasoning ($1.59) -- along with garlic and sour orange -- is the heart of the mojo marinade that gives lechón asado its vaunted place in our hearts. Ingredients: dehydrated vegetables, salt, and monosodium glutamate. What more could you ask for?
Once in your fridge, this fermented Central American topper will find its way onto nearly every one of your dishes. The vinegary, spicy mix of cabbage, onion, and carrots from El Gallito Coffee Shop ($4) in Little Havana fits perfectly with eggs, sandwiches, tacos, steak, chicken, fish, and salads. You'll never want to part with it.
2. La Sandwicherie Vinaigrette
How many stumbling-drunk fools have demanded, "Extra vinaigrette!" when ordering their Brie and French salami from this late-night institution? Five bucks gets you a jar to go, giving you a ubiquitous salad dressing and ending the fear of never having enough for your sandwich.
1. Joe's Stone Crab mustard sauce
It's that time of year again, when this mayo-mustard concoction flows as freely as the morning and evening tide. But don't buy this one -- you can make it at home from a half-dozen easy-to-find ingredients, some of which are probably already lying about. Once blended, it's a good dressing for potato or macaroni salads. Want to make crabcakes? Just mix this sauce with some knuckle meat, diced red peppers, and breadcrumbs before frying. Mix a little with a heap of lobster and tuck it into a bun for a solid homemade lobster roll. It's that easy, and you should always have some on hand.
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