Food Box

Yuzu-It, a sprightly condiment from Japan

If you’ve promised yourself not to bring home one more new hot sauce, you might want to reconsider. As a food writer, I sample a lot of condiments, sauces and such. Few remain in my cupboard long.

But I’ve found a new staple: Yuzu-It, a Japan-made bright green sauce combining yuzu (a Japanese citrus fruit) and orange juices, green peppercorns, salt and other mysterious flavors. I sampled it first at–where else?–Yuzu restaurant at Ala Moana Hotel. Smitten at first tangy taste, I bought a bottle there and have been drizzling and dropping it on comestibles of every sort–from pizza to mandoo–for months.

The sprightly flavor is hot but not burning in the manner of Sriracha; citrusy, but not distractingly sweet, and there are undertones of summer herbs. Everyone I’ve introduced to Yuzu-It has run out and bought a bottle, too.

Strictly speaking, Yuzu-It, made by Miyako Oriental Foods under the Yamajirushi brand, isn’t anything new: It’s a liquid form of a favorite condiment of sushi chefs and others, yuzu kosho. Yuzu kosho (available in jars at Japanese groceries, and next on my list to try) is a fermented paste made with yuzu zest, chilies, and salt.

Yuzu fruit, a tart hybrid of mandarin orange and ichang papeda, aren’t generally available here, although Frankie’s Nursery in Waimanalo does have young trees for sale. Bottled yuzu juice, yuzu kosho and, of course, Yuzu-It, are available at Don Quijote, Marukai and other local Japanese grocers, online and at Yuzu restaurant (prices vary from $6-$10 a bottle, so shop around).