A couple of weeks ago, I reviewed one of three products I received from Culinary Twist, a company that specializes in creating exotic tastes based on travel destinations around the world. Although the flavor of that last product was decent, it had practically no spice or kick of which to speak. Considering our purpose on this website, I was ultimately a little disappointed. Still, I found that one interesting enough to merit a second review of a Culinary Twist product, and this one could hold some promise. After all, Maya Bay is a Thai-inspired sauce, and Thai food is often associated with bold, spicy flavors.


Water, Soy Sauce, (water, wheat, soybeans, salt), Brown Sugar, Honey, Peanut Oil, Garlic, Less than 2% of: chili, salt, lemongrass, galangal, rhizome, kaffir lime peel, shallot, pepper, lime juice concentrate, coriander seed, organic cornstarch, shrimp paste, xanthan gum, soy lecithin, mixed tocopherols.

Whoa. Compared to Bora Bora, Maya Bay has a huge list, including some things I’ve never seen before. For those of you as unfamiliar with some of this stuff as I am, here’s a brief rundown. Galangal is a rhizome of plants closely related to ginger, though apparently stronger and different than common ginger (incidentally, the ingredients list has rhizome as a separate ingredient, so I’m not sure what plant it is talking about there). A tocopherol is a chemical compound that likely has Vitamin E activity. I’ll let you read the Wikipedia entry on that one. Back to the point, though. I’m surprised to see that Maya Bay contains so many minute ingredients, especially when Bora Bora made do with such a short and simple list. Honestly, this sort of list isn’t really my style, and I can’t help wondering what the difference in flavor would be without some of this stuff. Please be aware, also, that there are many potential sources for allergic reactions in this bottle.


Maya Bay does not look much different from Bora Bora. Once again, we have a murky brown sauce. It’s a little on the thin side, but the honey in it lends it some stickiness, so it won’t just run all over your food. That’s a good side, at least.

Smell and Taste:

I sure hope you like soy sauce, because that’s about all you’ll smell from this bottle. I’ll accept that it’s basically soy sauce cut with honey, but that’s as far as I’ll go. Interestingly, though, the first flavor I noticed when I tasted Bora Bora was peanuts. Interesting, though, since the product doesn’t actually contain peanuts. That goes away, though, leaving a predominantly soy sauce-based flavor profile for this product.



There’s nothing here to really write home about. Chili and pepper both fall into the “less than 2%” category, so unless you’re really sensitive to capsaicin, you’ll likely not make much of the heat here. There’s no question: this one’s a Mild, which is kind of a letdown, given its inspiration (and yes, I am aware that not all Thai food is spicy). In fact, the only real heat comes from that soy sauce bite. Still, a low-heat sauce can more than make up for that with a good flavor. Alas, this one, much like Bora Bora, falls just a bit short of the mark. Though far from repugnant, it just doesn’t strike me as something I would willingly buy for myself after today. However, I’m not averse to eating more of it in order to give it a fair review, so I’ll give it a Nominal. That means it gets the same ratings as its sister product.

Suggested Uses:

I could see this being decent on some chicken and rice. It may even make an interesting marinade for some fajita meat, which would create a neat little Thai-Mex blend. I might just try that. I’m not a fan of seafood, but the label recommends using it for that purpose as well.

Fun Fact:

The 2000 film The Beach, starring Leonardo DiCaprio was filmed at the real-life Maya Bay, on the Thai island of Koh Phi Phi. In any case, I have one more of Culinary Twist’s products to review, so look for that one two weeks from now. Hopefully the third time is the charm.



  • Lynn Milos 2012 Jun 23 / 09:36

    Hey: Everyone is entitled to their opinion and I’d like to point out that these sauces were not created to be Hot Sauces. The Maya Bay won 1st place as a meat condiment at the 2012 Scovies too, so some people disagree with you. Just to clarify a couple of points: there are no peanuts in the Bora Bora, so you must be confusing that with the peanut oil used in the Maya Bay. The list of ingredients is longer than with Bora Bora because we use an authentic Thai spice paste and we have shown all the ingredients from it. We don’t want to give away all our secrets though so I’m not revealing what the paste is. Also, you mention that the heat in Maya Bay comes from the soy sauce…that may be true, but there is a lot of locally sourced garlic within which in my opinion, lends some heat as does the galangal. Just sayin’

  • Brian Sellers 2012 Jun 24 / 00:16

    Ms. Milos,

    I knew this review would get some feedback, and I appreciate your courtesy. I should (and have done so now) edit my review to be a bit more clear – while there are no actual peanuts in this product (just the peanut oil), that’s the general flavor that hit my taste buds first. It was in no way unappealing, but I definitely didn’t mean to say “the peanuts.” Rather, I should have said that the flavor reminded me of peanuts.

    In the past, I’ve received a bit of flak when I’ve reviewed products that aren’t designed for the chilehead audience, as I’m quick to point out when they lack heat. Given our own target audience, though, I’m not in the wrong here. A rating of “Mild” in the heat department is generally not an insult; rather, it is simply a classification that allows our readers to know what to expect, as not everyone can handle high levels of heat. Occasionally, we get products that promise high levels of heat and completely fail to deliver, in which case the Mild is sort of a negative rating. In the case of this review, though, any expectations of heat were entirely my own, as I tend to equate Thai food with spiciness. Consumers of Maya Bay should take note that it is in no way meant to be a spicy product, though the tang from the soy sauce and garlic isn’t bad at all.

    You should be proud of your accomplishments, whether in the Scovies or anywhere else. Maya Bay certainly has some interesting prospects for meat dishes, but I don’t quite feel like it stands up on its own. This one is purely a complement to other foods. In any case, I like what you folks are doing with your product line. I still have the Baja flavor to review in a couple of weeks, and eat or no, I’m really looking forward to that flavor combination. I hope you’ll check back then to see how that one goes. Thank you again for your reply, and take care.

    ~ Brian

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