Condiment Chaos

I am always impressed with the vast range of customization that is possible from a properly stocked supply of condiments.

Some restaurants have the disappointing minimum… Just the required salt, pepper, and ketchup. But other places excel in providing their guests endless options to ‘doctor’ their dish. I have been to Mexican restaurants with an entire ‘salsa-bar.’
I have enjoyed BBQ when each cut of meat can be paired with a different BBQ sauce, where it then gets difficult to decide between three different flavors of honey-BBQ-sauce. Here in Louisiana, it is not uncommon to find a neighborhood spot whose are tables crowded with various hot-sauces and spices so that your dinner can reach your desired heat level.

Jus a small sampling of some of the ‘condiments’ found at a restaurant in Hong Kong. I have no idea what to pair half of this stuff with.

But some countries take it too far. Choice can be a good thing…but TOO much of anything can be bad. Too much choice leads to condiment chaos and results in confusion. Germany seems to be out of control with the huge selection of tost-toppers and various pastry add-ons that are available for breakfast. I stayed at a hotel in Cologne Germany, that had an endless supply of honeys, jams, butters, and spreads so that you could have the perfectly manicured piece of bread. There was EVERYTHING including cream cheese, peanut butter, Nutella, and plenty of things I had never seen before. Many Asian countries also overwhelm the non-native by supplying the eater with a ridiculously large selection of condiments to choose from. I often stare in anxiety when I go to find something to ‘spike’ my sitrfry with, and encounter more salty sauces that I thought existed. Then there is things like seaweed, and fried garlic, and onions (both red and green), and ginger and plenty of other stuff that  have no idea what to do with. If I choose wrongly and add the inappropriate ingredient, then my meal will be too salty, or too hot, or just too damn funky tasting. I have to admit defat sometimes and just resort to accepting the dish ‘as-is,’ and deal with any potential blandness.

Sometimes you have to stop and wonder… Do you even need to order a main meal with all these condiments already being provided? When your meal is composed of more condiments than actual entrée, it is a little crazy. Breakfast buffets with a higher ratio of condiment to real foods are overwhelming.

I am all about options and choices…but when a waiter asks you if you want to order anything with your condiments, then I think it has all gone too far.

Keep the condiments coming, just try not to eclipse the main stars or confuse hungry people.

As they used to say on the AWESOME TV game show, Legends of the Hidden Temple: “The choices are yours and yours alone.” So choose your condiment wisely…the wrong one can lead to nasty results and an empty stomach.


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Categories: Rants, Unexpected Randomness

Author:Mr. Fed Up

A guy looking for good grub. and YES....I have a website...and I am not going to bore you with one of those personal journal type of blogs. I promise. Check it out;


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15 Comments on “Condiment Chaos”

  1. June 26, 2012 at 11:46 am #

    Haha! I love the Legends of the Hidden Temple reference! I used to watch that show all the time! 😀

    • June 26, 2012 at 6:36 pm #

      Great show! I think i have actually seen tshirts for sale that were the team colors: Green Monkeys, Blue Barracudas , etc.

  2. June 26, 2012 at 1:18 pm #

    It’s like you want to enjoy the meal itself, not just taste a whole bunch of condiments! Good post, I’ve also been to places with a salsa bar. I just get confused. >_<

    • June 26, 2012 at 6:40 pm #

      Yep, sometimes the variety of the condiments lures me in and I put so many toppings that it becomes one giant mess. It sucks when you have a great dish, and then ruin it by adding conflicting condiments… But I have also found condiments that taste surprisingly well together: pickle relish and tomato-based BBQ sauce taste great together.

      • June 26, 2012 at 8:40 pm #

        Yes it’s all about what actually goes good, and what really should never go together. You have to resist the urge to pile up on all the toppings! 😀

      • June 28, 2012 at 12:08 pm #

        I am VERY guilty of going overboard with the toppings… Especially when I get ambushed by a surprisingly large selection.

      • June 29, 2012 at 8:23 pm #

        I know! I feel like I want to try all of them because they’re all right there, so, why not? And then I regret it.

      • July 1, 2012 at 1:46 pm #

        They needs to be a condiment constitution that provides proper articles regulating condiment combination and usage.

  3. elangomatt
    June 27, 2012 at 9:57 am #

    I think what it probably is that there are a ton of condiments that people use for the food they serve, but each person probably only uses a couple of them. Forget the unknown factor for a second and think about what condiments we might use on a good old hamburger. Some of the burger places I’ve been too have a buffet bar of toppings/condiments. For condiments they might have a couple of ketchups, a few mustards, bbq sauce, mayo, sriracha, horseradish sauce, and so on, but if you put more than a couple of those condiments on it will just mess up the burger. As for the unknowns on the condiment area, I’d probably just leave them be or else I might even consider asking a local person what the unknowns are good for.

    • June 28, 2012 at 12:12 pm #

      … What is funny is how some people/cultures LOVE certain condiments and you find them everywhere in their respective region. Look at Vegimite (Australia) for example. I guess my palate us just not used to that intense topping. I do like though when condiments are adapted from other countries. Sirachi is a great gift from Asia… And I hope one day we see FRESH chives available at every restaurant , like is so common in Germany.

  4. June 29, 2012 at 10:46 pm #

    You get bonus points for a Legends of the Hidden Temple reference! 😀
    The pictures reminded me of a restaurant here called B.D.’s Mongolian BBQ. Basically, build your own stir-fry. Mmmmm…

    • July 1, 2012 at 1:50 pm #


      True story: I was IN Mongolia’s capital city two years ago and ate at a B.D.s Mongolian BBQ restaurant there. It was kind of funny eating Americanized Mongolian food while in Mongolia. I still have the Tshirt i bought from the restaurant, because I thought the whole idea was so crazy…. Oh, and BDs is not like the stuff the Mongols living in gers(huts) actually eat. BDs was good though


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