Salsa is a notoriously fickle friend. You can make it at home, but with a limited fridge life, who really has the time to do so regularly? Grabbing a freshly made salsa from a Mexican market is a great alternative, but if you don’t have that option, you pretty much are stuck with the grocery store selection. And as it stands, grocery stores do not carry a whole lot of quality wares.
An honorable exception is Herdez. The brand, while Mexican in origins, is now a part of MegaMex Foods, a venture it co-runs with Hormel. I do not blame you if that gives you pause. Hormel doesn’t have the reputation of anything good in and of itself, but you’d be surprised by the number of products it has its hands on.1
That is neither here nor there, and I will with some confidence proclaim that Herdez’s Street Sauce is the best salsa you will find on your average grocery store shelf. That is how I feel, and I will not apologize for it.
I’m sure this salsa is wholly processed to extend its life, but it still has a fresh tinge, and it should, in most circumstances, at the very least be
good enough. I personally recommend the Roja variety, which is spicy, but not to any extreme degrees. It delicately coats the tongue, and the smokiness gently caresses the palate. Not challenging yet still flavorful. There’s nothing wrong with that.
Importantly, its consistency is well suited for tacos. The Street Sauce is thick enough not to be running all over the tortilla without being molasses thick. It’s important to be able to accurately gauge how much salsa a taco needs, which Herdez gamely assists you with.
So, is the Street Sauce a competitor for something you’d get from an actual taqueria? No, but it’s closer than most anything else on the grocery shelves.
I suppose the liberal coastal elite – which, let’s face it, is a group any true tortillaphile is part of, no matter where they live – can sniff at having to get any salsa from the grocery store. For many, though, that is the hardship they have to live with, and Herdez helps make their days just a little bit brighter.
1 Including Applegate amazingly enough.