Social media is currently lit up about, of all things, a bottled sauce—doesn’t take much, as you all know. It’s simply called “Pink Sauce,” and it’s the creation of TikTok user @chef.pii (59.9K followers). True to its name, the sauce is a radiant, Pepto-Bismol pink, and it’s been the source of nonstop controversy. We love culinary chaos on our social media feeds, but this sauce is rife with curiosities beyond the typical Twitter fights, so I’ve spent some time examining its existence. I’ve emerged from the rabbit hole with more questions than answers.
What exactly is Pink Sauce, anyway?
The driving force behind my curiosity is that very few people seem to understand what Pink Sauce actually is. All we have to go on are several videos from @chef.pii spotlighting the stuff, absolutely dousing it over stuff like chicken wings and cheeseburgers and taking big, sloppy bites. (I love my food videos, but when I see people just pouring sauce all over their food like there’s no tomorrow, I immediately suspect it’s for attention.)
The sauce, first posted about on June 11, appears creamy, not particularly thick, but also not runny. Okay, so it’s a sauce. But there’s one big question on everyone’s mind.
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What does Pink Sauce taste like?
Multiple people have pointed out that there’s very little mention anywhere as to what Pink Sauce tastes like. Notably, @chef.pii doesn’t describe it much, if at all, in the various videos hawking Pink Sauce, which is very curious—wouldn’t that sort of information boost sales? I watched at least 10 videos about the sauce on @chef.pii’s feed, and there is not a single mention of flavor.
One TikTok user, @jade.amberrrrr, does go in depth as to what it tastes like.
In the video above, the user shows off a homemade “power bowl,” which I’m assuming is a knockoff Power Bowl from Taco Bell, and absolutely drenches it in Pink Sauce.
“The sauce is not bad,” says @jade.amberrrrr. “It’s not nasty. That’s the thing, it’s not nasty.” That’s certainly a ringing endorsement if I’ve ever heard one. After a few more bites, a more detailed description is provided:
“It kind of reminds me of the blackened ranch from Popeyes, but, like, sweet.” The sauce is also compared to all the sauces mixed together at a seafood boil. Fascinating.
What are the ingredients in Pink Sauce?
Pink Sauce does in fact have a website, thepinksauce.com, where the ingredients in this mysterious condiment are listed:
Ingredients: WATER, SUNFLOWER SEED OIL, RAW HONEY, DISTILLED VINGAR (sic), GARLIC, PITAYA, PINK HIMALAYAN SALT LESS THAN 2% OF: DRIED SPICES, LEMON JUICE, MILK, CITRIC ACID
CONTAINS: SUNFLOWER SEED OIL, MILK
MAY CONTAIN SOY AND EGGS
The sweetness, I’m assuming, can be attributed to the raw honey, which is the third ingredient on this list. And the curious color comes from the pitaya, also known as dragonfruit. Some varieties of dragonfruit contain a reddish-pink flesh, which would account for the pink color in the sauce.
One thing that doesn’t quite seem to add up, to me at least, is the creamy appearance of the sauce. While it’s described in the video above as a sweet ranch-like dressing, the fact that there’s no mayonnaise, egg yolk, or mustard listed in the ingredients means it’s farther away from ranch than the flavor might suggest. These things are all natural emulsifiers that would give the Pink Sauce the body and creaminess it appears to have, as emulsifiers function as a way to bind oil and water together into a stable mixture. Of all the listed ingredients, garlic might serve the function of an emulsifier, but it’s not likely.
Garlic can function as an emulsifier, but usually only when there’s a large quantity present, such as in toum, a Middle Eastern condiment made of garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil. (Toum, by the way, is absolutely delicious.) Considering garlic is toward the bottom of the Pink Sauce ingredients list, I’m assuming there’s not a ton of it by volume. If I were to mix all those ingredients together at home, I’d end up with something like a pink, very sweet vinaigrette, which I’m sure would be perfectly good to eat—but I don’t think it’d look like Pink Sauce.
I hate to say it, but I’m increasingly convinced the Pink Sauce ingredients list is flat-out lying in some fashion. I think there’s mayo in it. The “may contain soy and eggs” disclaimer at the bottom of the list might be a way to try concealing this fact.
Where to buy Pink Sauce
If you want to take the risk, you can purchase a bottle of the mysterious condiment on the Pink Sauce website, but it’ll run you a whopping $20. I’m willing to throw down money on sauces, but damn, $20 is a shit-ton of money for a bottle of anything other than alcohol. I guess the TikTok hype machine is real, though, because people are indeed buying it in droves. And not all of them are happy customers.
People are claiming that Pink Sauce is making them sick
Yikes. There have been claims from people who allegedly purchased the sauce that it’s not being packaged and shipped properly, and that some people are even getting sick as a result.
Because I haven’t found any documented evidence that people are becoming ill after consuming the sauce, we’ll have to take these TikTok claims with a grain of salt and approach all the information with skepticism... something that purchasers of a mysterious, unspecified sauce might have been wise to do. But if this really is how Pink Sauce was shipped to someone’s home, then yes, it’s clear that it wasn’t sent with proper storage, packaging, or refrigeration techniques to promote food safety:
The video above shows a bottle being delivered in a bag via the U.S. Postal Service, and I’ve seen multiple videos of the Pink Sauce bottles allegedly arriving with clotted product inside and/or with exploded packaging. Considering there aren’t any preservatives in its ingredient list, there’s no way this kind of thing would be safe left at room temperature for a few days, let alone in the back of a truck during the sweltering heat waves most of the country has been experiencing lately.
Plus, if there is mayonnaise in it as I suspect, and it’s been left out at unsafe temperatures for long enough, I’d hate to see how I’d feel after eating questionably stored Pink Sauce. As much as I like supporting small independent businesses, I wouldn’t buy something like this after seeing it on TikTok, unless it was somehow proven to be USDA approved (which itself is a time-consuming process). And while these social media reactions can be entertaining, I think I’ll just live vicariously through this condiment saga for now, and skip dousing my ham sandwich in Pink Sauce.