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The World’s Most Commonly Used Condiments 

Check out the best condiments used around the globe.

I have sometimes felt that something is missing from my favorite dishes. Sometimes, your favorite food just doesn’t work without the right condiments and toppings. But what are the most popular condiments to use around the world?

A popular Indonesian condiment of fresh red chili peppers and tomato in traditional mortar and pestle

I decided to go on a food journey to expand my palette and broaden my culinary horizons to escape the trap of eating the same things. In my journey, I discovered the magic of condiments. I don’t necessarily need to change what I am eating, just what I am pairing my food with!

Delicious condiments can completely change my perception and dynamics of the taste of my favorite foods.

Condiments allow you to experience their favorite foods in a new light. I am happy to share how my experiences with different condiments improved my relationship with foods that I had grown tired of.

Most Popular Condiments 

I have decided to break down my experiences with the most popular condiments below; read on to learn more!

Aioli

First, I tried Aioli! It was my first time trying it on my favorite dishes, and I liked it.

Aioli is a creamy and rich sauce that is popular in Mediterranean countries and made from an emulsion of olive oil and a mashed garlic paste.

It has the consistency of mayonnaise, and much like mayonnaise, I really enjoyed the extra garlic flavor that it added to my favorite sandwiches.

A turkey sandwich on rye bread with swiss cheese really benefited from a good serving of Aioli sauce before I put the other half of bread on top.

I would be careful when buying Aioli because sometimes it can be mislabeled and contain dairy despite what is on the label.


Ketchup

Ketchup is a classic American condiment with which I was already familiar.

It is a puree of tomatoes, water, onions, and green peppers flavored with vinegar and sugar with a sweet and tangy flavor.

I had always eaten ketchup with fries, but I discovered that putting ketchup on my eggs was a delightful flavor combination.

The red color of ketchup comes from Lycopene, an antioxidant that can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Ketchup sometimes gets a bad rap as a condiment. It can be the butt of jokes when someone puts it on a nice steak. However, it does have its merits when flavoring other foods, like french fries.


Mayo

I was surprised to discover that mayonnaise, another classic American condiment, has French origins.

The french make mayo by emulsifying raw egg yolks and vegetable oil. Once the mixture thickens, lemon juice, vinegar, and mustard add lots of flavor to it.

I had always used mayonnaise as a lovely sandwich topper, but mayonnaise also makes for great deviled egg recipes.

You turn eggs into mayonnaise and then mayonnaise into eggs, and the circle of life is complete!

Mayonnaise has high cholesterol and fat content, so I eat it in moderation. Everything is good in moderation!


Mustard

Mustard was one of the most diverse types of condiments that I tried.

It can be paired with meats, vegetables, and cheese and has an eclectic flavor range.

Mustard has varieties that are sweet, spicy, and everything in between. People make mustard from ground-up mustard seeds and then add additional flavors.

Once mixed with other flavors, producers boil the mustard and let it cool in a water canning bath.

After about four weeks or so, mustard is ready to consume. It is great on hotdogs, but I find that it also pairs great with burgers and ham. Some types of mustard even go great on pizza!


Ranch 

People make ranch from a combination of buttermilk and egg yolks.

Like with most condiments, individuals use various ingredients and blend them until a creamy mixture emerges.

I had always used ranch dressing as salad dressing, but it also makes for a great dipping sauce for meat and pizza.

Ranch is a recent invention. Steven Henson, the owner of Hidden Valley, first developed it in the 1950s. The dressing did not get its iconic buttermilk flavor until the 1980s.

Sometimes people add sour cream and yogurt to replace buttermilk, and ranch dressing has also become a popular flavoring for potato chips.

Approximately 40% of Americans consider ranch dressing their favorite.

Check out our favorite ranch dressings you can buy at the grocery store to add to your next meal!


Wasabi

Wasabi goes under the name of Japanese horseradish as well and is a popular paste eaten with sushi.

It is a spicy green sauce that gets its coloring from the Wasabi plant that grows on the stream beds in river valleys in the mountainous areas of Japan.

In the 1980s, sushi became extremely popular in Japan. The general public gained exposure to wasabi paste due to its popularity.

I have found that it makes an excellent salad dressing and have tried out a few soup recipes that call for wasabi paste.

The extra spice can change the flavor of a classic recipe quite a bit.


Fish Sauce

Fish sauce refers to any sauce that people make using the fermentation of fish and salt extract in liquid.

Making fish sauce takes between three and twelve months, which makes it one of the condiments that take the longest to make.

I had never tried fish sauce before and found the taste, well, fishy! It has a salty and funky flavor, but it nonetheless tastes good.

People will also add lime juice to fish sauce to balance the taste and smell.

I would not recommend consuming fish sauce on its own; it is best used in soups, stews, or stir fries or as a flavor enhancer.


Honey Mustard

Honey mustard is one of my all-time favorite condiments, and it is easy to see why it is one of the most popular condiments.

Honey mustard is the result of a combination of other great condiments. Its ingredients include honey, mayonnaise, vinegar, and other spices.

Because it did not take any hard work, honey mustard was one of the easiest condiments that I made. All you need to do is mix the ingredients and let them sit for a few hours so the flavors come through.

The honey in honey mustard gives it a very sweet taste that does not have a lot of sharpness.


Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar was my all-time favorite salad dressing before I started this food journey, and it will keep its place at the top for me.

People make balsamic vinegar by freshly pressing grapes into a sweet juice that is later boiled into a concentrate and fermented.

Making traditional balsamic vinegar takes between twelve and twenty-five years. Modern methods have sped the process, but the results are less than desirable.

I was surprised how well balsamic vinegar tastes when poured over fresh fruits and used to cook meat.

I even dared to try it over vanilla ice cream, and though I did not enjoy it, I can see it as a viable option for some people.


Soy Sauce

Soy sauce is a condiment with a salty and dry flavor. It has a sweet taste in the middle, followed by a slight bitterness.

People make soy sauce by mixing soybeans, salt, and wheat and fermenting them for several hours.

Soy sauce has origins in the world of Ancient China.

I use soy sauce as a base for lots of different flavor combinations for stir-fries and sushi. Soy sauce also makes an excellent marinade for chicken breasts or salmon fillets.

My favorite way to use soy sauce is as a dipping sauce for a juicy piece of sashimi.


Sriracha

People make Sriracha sauce by combining chiles, salt, sugar, garlic, and vinegar.

I had always seen Sriracha sauce everywhere I went, but my food condiment experiment was my first time actually trying it.

I absolutely love the flavor. It tastes tangy, sweet, and has a great spicy kick.

I tried an excellent noodle Sriracha recipe, and it created a great combination that I found even better than regular noodle recipes.

I was expecting it to be hot and overwhelmingly spicy, but it turned out to be much milder than others led me to believe.


Gochujang

Gochujang paste is a Korean cooking specialty.

People make it by combining red chili flakes, sticky rice, fermented soybeans, and salt.

It tastes savory, which means it has an equal combination of sweetness and spiciness. This condiment has zero fat and only thirty calories per tablespoon.

It is spicy enough that it immediately cleared my sinuses when I tried it for the first time!

When I was trying it out, I used it as a meat dipping sauce, and I thought it made a great alternative to a chipotle sauce. I was happy with the little bit that I tried and would get it again.


Salsa

The great thing about sala is that you can make it from pretty much everything.

Instead of changing my food recipes with a new sauce, I changed my salsa recipes by adding new flavors.

Salsa has origins that started with the Inca people in Central America along with the Aztecs and Mayans.

I have always liked chips and salsa; they are a classic combination. Texas agrees with me, as in 2003, chips and salsa became the official state snack.

I tried adding salsa to my pizza, and it has become one of my favorite ways to eat it. Luckily, they sell salsa pizza at the grocery store now!


Tartar Sauce

People make tartar sauce by mixing mayonnaise, lemon juice, pickles, capers, and different herbs.

I never had any experience with tartar sauce growing up, even though it is a standard sauce eaten with fish.

Tartar sauce is a semi-sweet sauce that tastes quite tart. It is a smooth and creamy condiment that complements soft textures like fried fish or chicken.

I tried tartar sauce with a veggie dish for the first time, and I can report that it went pretty well as a nice veggie spread.

Tartar sauce is low in calories but high in micronutrients like vitamin K and sodium. I would consider it nutritious if eaten in moderation.


Tahini

People make Tahini sauce by grinding sesame seeds into a rich, creamy paste.

Because of this, it has a strong and earthy flavor and can be a little bitter.

I would compare the flavor of Tahni sauce to peanut butter minus any hints of sweetness. Tahini sauce is highly nutritious and contains protein, fiber, and many vitamins and minerals.

This sauce originated from the middle east and became popular in Mediterranean countries and Northern Africa before spreading worldwide.

Tahini has immune-boosting properties, and experts say it can help protect someone from developing cardiovascular issues and heart disease.


Barbecue Sauce

Barbecue sauce was the condiment I grew up with. Before I even knew what the word condiment meant, I knew what barbecue sauce was.

People typically make barbecue sauce by mixing ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and other ingredients until they thicken into a flavor powerhouse.

I used barbecue sauce on practically every piece of meat that I ate growing up, but I found that it goes great on salads and pizza as an adult.

After my food experiment concluded, my dipping sauce became my ultimate anything sauce.

Many people add barbecue sauce to dishes like grilled cheese and chicken pot pie to give them an extra splash of flavor.


Hot Sauce

People make hot sauce by crushing spicy peppers down into a base and combining them with other powders, vinegar, and salt.

A little-known fact is that a chili pepper hot sauce contains more vitamin C than an orange and more vitamin A than a carrot. It also happens to be lower in calories than both.

Hot sauce makes for a great dipping sauce or a flavor enhancer for a taco or fajita mix.

Hot sauce has antioxidants that can help a person’s immune system fight off viruses and can reduce their appetite to help them lose weight.

My hot sauce journey involved adding it to my morning eggs with mixed results. I guess I’m not a hot-head.


Most Popular Condiments 

  1. Aioli
  2. Ketchup
  3. Mayo
  4. Mustard
  5. Ranch 
  6. Wasabi
  7. Fish Sauce
  8. Honey Mustard
  9. Balsamic Vinegar
  10. Soy Sauce
  11. Sriracha
  12. Gochujang 
  13. Salsa
  14. Tartar sauce
  15. Tahini
  16. Barbecue Sauce
  17. Hot Sauce

Final Thoughts

I am incredibly thankful for the experiences that have led to me starting my culinary journey. I was surprised by how many of these condiments are popular besides the classic ones that everybody knows about.

There is a condiment for everyone and a taste out there for me just waiting to be discovered. I was glad that I was no longer confined to the tastes and flavors I grew up with and could go out into the world and bring back new flavors to enhance old food favorites.

I look forward to the possible new flavor combinations as I keep exploring what the world’s different cultures have to offer!

Learn more about food on our blog, like the best toppings for your bagel or the difference between strombolis and calzones.

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Written by Ryan F.

Ryan is a local foodie who enjoys checking out the area's restaurant scene every chance he can. Ryan also enjoys traveling and checking out local eateries in every city he visits.