The Clog’s power ranking of bottled condiments at dining halls

Amanda Ramirez/Staff

For the freshmen (and even seniors) who still swipe their way into the dining halls, the food can be, well, questionable. It’s decent for the most part, but we know that the food in the dining halls needs some sort of “extra flavor” to get them to that “hey, this isn’t half bad!” state. Yes, there’s always ketchup and mayonnaise, but these sauces are hardly a match for a crusty grilled cheese sandwich. Read on to open your taste buds to a hidden gold mine: bottled condiments!

8. Tabasco sauce

Tabasco sauce is at the bottom of our list for multiple reasons, but the Clog will give you the main few. At least in the dining halls, Tabasco sauce tastes watered down but overly like vinegar at the same time. The pepper separates from the liquid faster than it should and ends up overwhelming whatever you put near it. Pro tip: avoid it. It might just make the food worse.

7. Kikkoman low-sodium soy sauce

Well, it’s soy sauce. It isn’t that exciting. Sure, it goes great on rice, noodles and the like, but you can’t really put it on anything else without your food getting too salty (even though it is low in sodium). If you decide to get spring rolls from Bear Fusion in Crossroads, then by all means, go for it.

6. Tapatío

It’s not the best hot sauce on our list, but it’s not the absolute worst bottled condiment, either. It packs a pretty spicy punch, and it’s nice to dip things in. We don’t recommend dumping it all over your food, or the next morning probably won’t be pretty. Just saying.

5. Heinz malt vinegar

This condiment has an acquired taste, but those who have grown to like it know what’s up. It’s basically vinegar but milder, and has a nice, rich taste to it. We like to put a little on the bread of sandwiches to give them the little zing needed to revive them. The malt vinegar goes great with fries, too (since they always seem to have fries at the dining halls).

4. Sriracha

You can’t really go wrong with this one. Unless, of course, you just can’t handle your spice. If that’s the case, go ahead and skip this one. If you can, or if you’re adventurous, try drizzling it on whatever food the dining halls happen to have that day. It has a nice chili-garlic flavor: Can’t make things any worse, right?

3. Thai sweet chili sauce

Occasionally, you’ll see Thai sweet chili sauce at the dining halls, for that spicy-sweet addition to your food. Don’t restrict yourself to putting this on just Asian food. This sauce is versatile. Hell, mix it into spaghetti with Alfredo sauce if you want to. If you see it, grab that shit. It runs out faster than you can say Mae Ploy sweet chili sauce  just once.

2. Crystal Hot Sauce 

This is as good as hot sauce here gets. And it’s pretty high up there outside of UC Berkeley dining halls, as well (and we don’t just mean high up on the shelves at Walmart). It has a nice blend of cayenne and vinegar, and neither flavor is too overwhelming. Plus, it soaks really nicely into everything you put it on.

1. A.1. Sauce

The sultan of sauces, A.1. steak sauce tops our chart. It has a whole lot of tang from orange zest, but it’s paired with a nice smoke that’s a milder and less sweet version of barbecue sauce, creating a drool-worthy combo. It’s a great thing to put on more than just steak (we recommend fries, burgers, your hand and a flaming tire). 

Whether you decide to give your dining hall food a little pump in the cheeks or a total facelift, most dining hall bottled condiments will do more good than bad for your food. Let us know which ones you think are the best!

Contact Pooja Bale at [email protected] .