8. Lao Gan Ma Black Bean
This Chinese sauce, with a sad looking man on the label, actually has a happy international following. Its mouthful of flavors is brought to life by fermented black beans, dried chilies and pure umami. Spicy hot, but in an edible way.
This sauce created in Maywood, California in 1971 by the Mexico City-born Jose Luis Saavedra, who was sick of seeing only Tabasco sauce, has a slightly sweeter tang than most of the others, which might be from the “spices,” “garlic” and sodium benzoate in the ingredients.