I am known for having an extremely heat-tolerant tongue. Food that has left others in tears has left me craving for a sip of water. Alright, maybe I’m exaggerating just a bit but there’s no denying that I can take spicy food. In fact, I love spicy food. I can’t imagine life without it. I'd rather not. This is why I’m thankful for chili flakes and siling labuyo to add an instant kick to my food. I don't just appreciate pure heat. Hot sauces are essential as well. They deliver spiciness as their main factor but with a harmony of other flavors in tow. But if there's one hot sauce that tops them all, it would be sriracha from Huy Fong Foods.
What is Sriracha?
Sriracha is a type of Thai hot sauce composed of chili paste, water, sugar, salt, garlic, and distilled vinegar. Sriracha’s role in Thai cuisine is mainly as a dipping sauce while for Vietnamese cuisine it’s a condiment for pho, fried noodles, spring rolls, and etc. The sriracha that I'm talking about with is the red glistening liquid contained in a squeeze bottle with a green nozzle and has a roosted printed right smack in the middle of it. This sriracha is from the American brand Huy Fong Foods run by David Tran.
History of Sriracha
David Tran did not start the Huy Fong Foods with earning billions of dollars in mind. Tran was a refugee from the Vietnam war and was granted asylum in California. The drastic change in his lifestyle, namely the food choices, left him craving for home favorites, including a proper hot sauce. He noticed that other Southeast Asians in the vicinity felt the same and this pushed him to create his own version of sriracha.
Gradually, Tran went from selling sriracha from local wet markets to warehouse supermarkets. As of 2013, just the main factory produces 18,000 bottles an hour. Bon Appetit has crowned it ingredient of the year back in 2010. Even Lays has realized how hot this sauce is (pun intended) and included it in its new potato chip flavors in 2012. The success of the product was not a result from efficient marketing but rather simply word of mouth. There was absolutely no advertising needed to keep this hot sauce in demand. Tran continues to run Huy Fong Foods as if it hasn’t conquered most of the world’s palates. The reason why he almost never appeared on any screen is because he can’t be bothered to. He tells Quartz News that his dream “was never to become a billionaire,” but “to make enough fresh chili sauce so that everyone who wants Huy Fong can have it. Nothing more.”
Fun fact: The reason why the logo is a rooster because it's David Tran's zodiac sign.
When can I use Sriracha?
I love sriracha, may it be mixed in my chocolate chip cookies or simply just as a dipping sauce for chicken to popcorn. It's the best thing that has ever happened to the world of spicy food so far and you can try to fight me on this.
Written by Anna Cayco
(click photos for sources)
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