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You can buy schug in some Mediterranean groceries, or find it at your favorite Israeli street food joint. (Photo: Hadasit/Shutterstock)

Introducing schug, the spiciest food trend of 2019

You can buy this trendy hot sauce in stores and restaurants, but we’ve got our own recipe for it, too.

Apparently, many of you have been getting 2019 off to a very spicy start.

According to Tastewise, an Israel-based food trend analytics startup, a Mediterranean hot sauce called schug (also spelled zhoug) is the No. 1 spice this year. The fiery relish, originated by Yemenite immigrants, has become a natural part of popular Israeli cuisine and is catching on beyond the Mediterranean as well. It’s sold in some Mediterranean food stores here, and hummus maker Sabra makes its own version, too.

Sabra red and green schug.Schug is a red- or green-pepper-based hot sauce, and it’s quite potent. (Photo: Courtesy Sabra)

The startup, which just emerged from stealth mode this week, released a Consumer Food Trends Report, along with a map detailing where the biggest health food opportunities are for restaurants in each state. The company’s platform analyzes billions of consumer habits to discover people’s real-life interactions with food. That includes more than 1 billion food photos shared every month, 153,000 restaurant menus across the U.S. and more than 1 million online recipes.

And, evidently, a lot of people are interacting with schug these days. Tastewise is even calling it “the new sriracha.”

green and red peppersHot green and red peppers, plenty of garlic and coriander leaves make schug one of the spiciest sauces in the world. (Photo: Miriam Kresh)

Though the startup was developed to help the restaurant industry stay on top of trends, it’s also quite useful and a fun dive for anyone who’s interested in food and culinary trends.

“Today, many of us are adventurous eaters, constantly searching for new food experiences, while prioritizing our health,” said Alon Chen, the former Google executive who co-founded Tastewise. “In this new environment, all CPGs (consumer packaged goods suppliers) and restaurants whatever their size have to become as dynamic as food trucks and pop-ups. Tastewise provides the freshest analytics to help them stay at the forefront.”

Also on Tastewise’s radar? Denver’s hunger for fitness-related food; an unmet demand for organic options in Philadelphia; and the rise of spam musubi, bone marrow and truffles on American menus.

green schugEnjoy this schug on your favorite bread, crackers or veggies. (Photo: elenamych / Shutterstock)

As for schug, though, our Israeli Kitchen channel caught wind of the trend years ago, creating its own original recipe courtesy of contributor Miriam Kresh. Traditionally, though, there’s no one way to make schug; spices and flavors can be varied according to taste and preference. Perhaps that’s why it’s so popular; everywhere you go, it’s just a little bit different.

Click here for that recipe.

The sauce is also served commonly with jachnun, another Yemenite original. It’s a flaky, hot pastry bread with slow roasted eggs. We’ve got a recipe for that, too.

Jachnun finishedJachnun was brought to Israel many years ago from Yemen. It’s now a favorite dish in both countries. (Photo: Sarah F. Berkowitz)

Source: Introducing schug, the spiciest food trend of 2019