Saté – Vietnamese Chili Oil
Vietnamse saté* (Vietnamese: tương ớt sa tế), is a Vietnamese chili oil sauce primarily used as a topping since a small amount goes a long way. We use this sauce to add that extra kick to soups and dipping sauces, but can also be applied as a finisher directly onto dry dishes such as rices and noodles.
As a Vietnamese-American, I’m no stranger to saté. Growing up, the saté in my house was whatever brand of Vietnamese chili oil that they stocked at the local Asian grocery store or leftover from the condiments given with takeout. I can’t say I was ever particularly attached to one brand. When An reached out to me to try their saté, it made me realize I had never have seen a locally-made saté brand. Very surprising given that Houston has one of the largest Vietnamese populations in America. Of course, I wanted to taste what she had to offer! Pantry by Natureis a Houston-based company creating authentic Vietnamese saté chili.
*not to be confused with Indonesian satay
An Dao, the owner of Pantry by Nature, is originally from Vietnam and now residing in Houston, TX. She created Tiger Saté* because she could not find a Vietnamese chili oil satisfactory to what she had eaten in Vietnam. Due to the coronavirus, she had free time which led her to start selling online. Tiger Saté makes their chili oil in small batches with high-quality ingredients and authentic flavor.
Pantry by Nature makes their saté the typically the key ingredients of peppers, lemongrass, garlic and oil. Tiger Saté is a vegan-friendly and gluten-free product. It does not contain preservatives nor MSG. The retail value of the 4 oz. sample pack (3 jars) is $25.
*The product I was sent is labeled SATÉ, but since then they updated their name to Tiger Saté.
The sauces are packed into glass jars with a plastic screw-on lid. They sent me the jars in a non-descriptive cardboard box with plenty of bubble wrap and packing peanuts to ensure the safety of the contents. The package was shipped via USPS priority mail which arrived to me in one day since we’re in the same city. All US-based orders have free shipping.
The Flavor of Texas in Vietnamese Chili Oil
The spice’s appearance is red blend of the ingredients topped with a layer of oil to help prolong the shelf life. The sauce comes in 3 levels of spiciness: mild, medium, and hot. All spice level uses the common ingredients of lemongrass, garlic, and olive oil. They use a different type of pepper for each spice level.
- Mild is created with red pepper flakes with a Scoville level measuring 700 SHU.
- Medium is created with jalapenos with a Scoville level measuring 2,000 SHU.
- Hot is created with habanero peppers with a Scoville level measuring 8,000. SHU.
Typically, saté is made with dried red chili flakes as seen in the mild, but with the medium and hot she combined local Texas ingredients into it using the jalapenos and habaneros.
What I like about this brand is that there are three levels of spiciness to choose from. I like to think that I have a decent spice tolerance; I especially like it when the burn hurts, but by no means am I spice expert. The sampler pack is very convenient since some days I feel like suffering and some days I don’t want to. Mild is the best for all-around use; sometimes you just want a tiny kick.
Here are some of examples of how I’ve used this sate.
The first dish was rather unconventional and scraped together using the contents of my fridge. I made a Vietnamese-inspired avocado toast using Tiger Saté in mild, smoked salmon, fresh herbs, microgreens, and fried garlic. Mild is the least spicy making it convenient to use in all sorts of dishes. The saté pairs well with other foods that also contain garlic.
For my family’s at-home hot pot, we used the Tiger Saté in medium and hot as a key ingredients in the soup base. I recommend using the hottest flavor in boiling soups since the flavor will eventually fade the longer it boils.
Pantry by Nature’s saté is was a big hit, Vietnamese grandma-approved! My favorite of these Vietnamese chili oils is medium level since it’s a good middle-ground. Hot is reserved for special occasions like clearing my sinuses. I recommend capping yourself at mild if your heat tolerance is not high. I store the jars in my refrigerator after opening to have it last longer. When you store it in the fridge, the oil will congeal, but it only takes a few minutes for it to liquefy at room temperature. Often I find myself reaching for to add more of these satés to my meals since these little jars are so convenient. They do come in multiple sizes as well and there’s even subscription, gift card, and corporate order options available. If you’re new to saté or want to add the flavors of Texas and Vietnam to your food, I highly recommend this small-batch Houston-based local brand!
If you’re in for a taste of Houston and Vietnam, use my discount code EATINGWITHSTEPHANO for 20% off your order from now until July 8, 2020! No minimum purchase required and all orders within the US ship free.
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Disclaimer: I received this product in exchange for a review. I did not receive any money and I do not receive a portion of sales.