Whether you spell it 'Sriracha' or 'Siracha,' whether you pronounce it 'SIR-AH-CHA' or 'SEE-RA-CHA,' Sriracha-lovers don't just love the spicy sauce. We eat it, crave it, talk about it, wear it and strive to live the spicy life. The iconic chili sauce has become a household name across the world, developing a cult following and brand loyalty unlike any other condiment.
From sporting Sriracha keychains, tees, hats, and underwear, to dressing up as Sriracha bottles for Halloween, Sriracha addicts are loud and proud of their devotion to the rooster. You've probably even seen babies in Sriracha onesies drinking out of Sriracha sippy cups. It's not just a condiment, it's a way of life.
You eat it with everything from deep-dish pizza to piping hot pho. But where did the sauce originate?
As Griffin Hammond outlines in his documentary, "Sriracha," it was in the small seaside town of Si Racha, Thailand in 1949 that resident Ms. Thanom Chakkapak first created this magical sauce, and named it after the town she lived in, Si Racha (originally spelled, "Sriraja").
So how did this sauce from the tiny town in Thailand make it's way into homes and restaurants all over North America?
In 1975, Tran, who was born in Soc Trang, Vietnam, produced his flagship hot sauce, Pepper Sa-te. Four years later, Tran and 3,317 other refugees left Communist Vietnam to for the United States, on a freighter named Huey Fong. Ultimately, this was the inspiration behind the name of the company we have all grown to love, Huy Fong. During his humble beginnings, the unsurpassable genius produced his first hot sauce called Pepper Sa-te. He filled his Sa-te sauce in recycled glass baby food jars that then was sold and delivered by family members via bicycle.
By 1980, Tran took it up a notch. In his 5,000 square foot facility in Los Angeles he introduced a few other sauces to his collection. In addition to Pepper Sa-te came Sambal Oelek, Chili Garlic, and of course, the life-changer, Sriracha.
The more batches he made, the more the word spread until it became what it is today.
Get the full history here.
It was 11pm in Nevada, September 21st, 2019. Luckily, my truck broke down right outside a tiny diner with the faint glow of a red neon sign that flickered "The Beach Hut”. It was a Hawaiian-themed burger joint in the middle of the desert.
I ordered a cheeseburger and nibbled on the fries, dipping them in Sriracha. At least I remembered my Sriracha2Go Keychain......