Investor Stories: Saucey Sauce
By Roger Sachar, Guest Contributor
I will gladly admit to being a Smallknot addict. At first it was a fun game to “win” as the last investor in every campaign, but when I found out I was moving to New York, my interest in the company became more than passive. I invested to get yoga lessons from Makara Studio, contributed to Ruffeo Hearts Little Snotty’s campaign and nabbed a gift bag, and have been anxious to redeem my lunch at Egg in Brooklyn. The reward I was most anxious to try was the Vietnamese Food Tour I’d earned by contributing to the Saucey Sauce Company, and as soon as she found out I’d arrived in the City, Mahira from Saucey Sauce was in touch to schedule it.
The food tour opened at the Hong Kong Supermarket in Chinatown, where Toan, Saucy Sauce’s CEO, President, Resident Sauce Guru and all around fantastic person, gave the gathered group a lesson in Vietnamese culinary culture and tradition. I joined them just as they sat down for dinner at Cong Ly, a small Vietnamese restaurant at Hester and Chrystie. Since none of us could read the menu, we left ourselves in Toan’s hands, and she did not disappoint. We started with drinks, salty lemonade and a sweet basil concoction, which we all enjoyed (despite Toan’s likening the basil seeds to tiny tadpoles).
Then it was on to the main course, with the emphasis squarely on main. There was an absolutely delectable Pho, Banh Beo (steamed rice cakes), Banh Hoi (grilled pork), egg rolls, two different types of soup, a pork chop, shrimp in various forms (including tiny little shrimp that are ground up and sprinkled about), and spring rolls. Toan ordered so much that our poor waiter was forced to find a second table to hold some in reserve.
Once the food was all in front of us, we were let in on a little secret; the magic of the fish dipping sauce. As Toan explained, the key to Vietnamese food is to dip it; for example, taking a portion of the spring roll, wrap a little lettuce about it, and dunk it ever so gently into the dipping sauce. Each Vietnamese family has a special recipe which is passed down from mother to daughter, and Toan’s family’s recipe comes complete with a nice little spicy kick. You can try it by ordering a bottle of the spicy ginger sauce here, or better yet, help yourself to a basket of three sauces. If you’re feeling brave, you can try the extreme version of ginger sauce.
Of course, it wasn’t just Toan and I dining, and I had the pleasure of meeting some fantastic people (not to mention that I got a lead on an apartment and a blind date). To me, the evening demonstrated the reason I’m an addict. Not only was there a great, one-of-a-kind experience I would have been unable to find elsewhere, but I had discovered a new restaurant, and met new friends and neighbors. Smallknot’s slogan is “Make Your Neighborhood Awesome,” and one of the best ways to make your neighborhood awesome is to go out and discover the fantastic people and places that are in it.
In the interest of full disclosure, I went to law school with Jay Lee, one of Smallknot’s co-founders, so I’ve always kept a close eye on Smallknot.