As we enter the hottest stretch of the summer — I mean, have you seen the forecast lately? — it’s also time for the Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival, which returns for the 28th year on Sunday.
The event, which takes place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Fiesta Gardens, 2101 Jesse E. Segovia Street, will include tons of live music and free samples, but you can also buy jars of locally made salsas. Not all the salsas and hot sauces are super hot, but you’ll find plenty of those, too. Admission is free with a $5 cash donation to the Central Texas Food Bank, or three non-perishable food items.
Several restaurants will be selling their salsas at the festival, but to find one of my favorite salsas in the city right now, you’ll have to head over to Loro, the Uchi/Franklin hybrid on South Lamar that is becoming known for its ample parking and frozen mango sake slushies.
I’m partial to the gin and tonic slushy myself, but it’s this tangy, spicy, sweet salsa that I keep thinking about.
The restaurant serves the bright green dip with fried wonton chips, but if you can find the Pantai soybean paste at an international market, you can make a version of it at home and serve it with whatever kind of chips you like. The pineapple fish sauce is an infused ingredient they make at the restaurant, but regular fish sauce is fine.
Loro’s Green Chili Salsa
3 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/3 cups chopped green tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup Pantai soybean paste
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup pineapple fish sauce
3 tablespoons garlic, minced
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons Thai chile peppers, minced
1 teaspoon ginger, minced
Salt to taste
Melt sugar in a saucepan with a splash of water. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend. Combine all ingredients in food processor and blend, or for a more similar texture to Loro’s, use an immersion blender to combine. Salt to taste.
— Loro chef Jack Yoss