What Swicy Sauce Really Means

The culinary world and the words we use to describe it are constantly evolving to be au courant and fit the food trends of the day. As Texas News Today explains, French cooking terms used to dominate gastronomic discussions, but as our tastes have become more global in nature, so have the words we use to characterize and explain what our taste buds are craving. In fact, you may have noticed that words like "swalty" and "swicy" have slipped into our lexicon, and if they have you thinking about Molly Shannon, Ana Gasteyer, and Alec Baldwin in their now-famous "Saturday Night Live" Schweddy Balls skit, we're with you.

If you're wondering what these whimsical words actually mean, don't worry, you're not alone. Per a Stack Exchange forum discussion, these terms are popping up in our vocabulary in an effort to describe combination flavors like sweet and salty, which is exactly how one forum member defined "swalty." To wit, the word "swicy" follows suit and, according to The New York Times, is a combination of the words sweet and spicy. In fact, if you've been following NeNe, the South Korean fried chicken chain that recently made its way to Vancouver (via Pistachio Picks), then you might be aware of their swicy sauce. So what exactly is swicy sauce? We're so glad you asked.

Swicy sauce is similar to yangnyeom sauce

According to Pistachio Picks, NeNe's swicy sauce is the brand's approximation of a "sweet and spicy yangnyeom sauce" that tells the fiery tale of two taste sensations. On the NeNe spicy sauce spectrum, swicy sauce is at the lower end of the chain's hot sauces, and as Pistachio Picks notes, it is likely made with corn syrup, which adds the sweet to the spicy, making it swicy. The corn syrup also helps the sauce stick to the fried chicken. But what ingredients go into a traditional yangnyeom sauce to give it a savory, sweet tang?

The blog Drive Me Hungry explains that yangnyeom sauce is a South Korean specialty that also goes by the name gochujang sauce, named after the red chili paste that is central to the recipe. In addition to this paste, there is "soy sauce, sugar, rice wine vinegar, garlic, and ginger." The end result is a sticky sauce with a syrupy consistency that is often used to flavor fried chicken wings. However, the blog also lets us in on a secret sweet ingredient added to their version of this sauce that they use to counter the spice: strawberry jam. This swicy flavor definitely sounds like a food trend we can support.