The best fridges are full of mystery, and there is no part of the fridge more mysterious than the top shelf. Filled with jars, bottles, and packets loosely wrapped in tin foil, the top shelf is full of opportunity. Opportunity to dunk. Opportunity to spoon. Opportunity to tentatively stick a finger in and see whatever that is tastes like. Needless to say, the top shelf and the inside of the fridge door should always be topped up. And what better stocking filler than something off of this list?
MEI MEI - KAYA COCONUT JAM
For all the toast and sugar lovers out there: this one goes out to you. Singaporean spot Mei Mei has a few tasty pantry bits for sale on their website, including this kaya coconut jam. It’s based on Hainanese kaya and it’s made with fresh pandan leaves and a load of luscious caramel.
PECKHAM BATCH ONE - HOT SAUCE
We can’t write hot sauce without singing feeling hot, hot, hot which is a bit of a problem, considering the contents of this guide. Anyway, this hot sauce from Peckham Sauce Company is the business. It’s made with Dutch chilli, scotch bonnet, some other bits. And it’s vegan too.
LUCKY & JOY - CUTE CHILLI OIL
It’s not officially called cute chilli oil, but thanks to Lucky & Joy’s adorable logo, that’s what it is now. Swing by Lower Clapton for a jar of this lovely, fragrant, and oh-so-spicy stuff. Prepare for Sichuan pepper.
PATTY & BUN - MAYO, HOT, AND BBQ SAUCE
AKA the three muskateers. AKA the three amigos. AKA The Jam, but it’s sauce. But yeah, Patty & Bun’s excellent, mega-dollopable sauces are available online. They’re just over a fiver a pop or you can get all three. Prepare to load up on that smoky mayo.
NASI ECONOMY RICE - TOMATO SAMBAL
There’s an absolute treasure trove of pantry delights from Nasi Economy as well as Sambal Shiok, their sibling restaurant next door. Like a big tired labrador or one of those really long pillows, their tomato sambal is totally spoonable. On crispy fried eggs, in sauces, or anywhere, really.
FALLOW - HANDCRAFTED SRIRACHA
Ooh, ‘handcrafted’. Well la-dee-da. But Fallow’s sriracha does look very lovely, to be fair. Like all sriracha, it’s made with vinegar. But not any type of vinegar. It’s chardonnay vinegar, So if you’ve got one those types of relatives, then this could be their kind of chilli sauce.
QUALITY CHOP HOUSE - BEER MUSTARD
‘Phwoar, pass the boozy mustard will you’. That’s what you’ll be saying Christmas Day, having bought a jar of QCH’s Kernel mustard for someone else, only to dollop a large load of it on your own plate. The beer-y bit comes straight from Kernel’s brewery in Bermondsey.
KOLD SAUCE - HOT PEPPER SAUCE
A very ‘klever’ name, we’re sure you’ll agree, Kold Sauce is a naturally fermented hot pepper sauce that has both fruity sweetness and fiery spiciness in equal measure. They’ve got a green pepper version and some excellent merch as well.
CATALYST - COFFEE SRIRACHA
The well runs deep when it comes to delicious ingenuity and semi-ponciness in sriracha varieties, and this coffee-infused number from Catalyst in Holborn is no different. It comes in three levels of heat: no spice, ’lil spice, and big spice. Head here if you’re looking to spice up someone’s life.
LAHPET - TAMARIND SAUCE
Shoreditch spot Lahpet has got your fridge and cupboards covered for all of your Burmese needs. Their tamarind sauce is sour and kicks, so is a brilliant addition for any condiment enthusiast.
TONKOTSU - JAPANESE CHILLI OIL
‘Eat the bits’ sounds like our internal monologue whenever we take a bite of a sandwich and see a bit of filling bounce on the floor. It’s also the name of the delicious Tonkotsu chilli oil, that you can buy here.
BLUES HOG - SMOKEY MOUNTAIN BBQ SAUCE
In case it needed saying, any sauce with two Blues Brother inspired pigs on the label, jamming, presumably tapping their little trotters, has our vote and hearts. You can get this Tennessee-made sauce from Sous Chef, an excellent website full of all kinds of delicious stuff.