First birth: The original sauce was invented in 1949 by a nameless, old woman in Si Racha Thailand. The name “Sriracha” is not trademarked (because it’s a place). That’s why there are so many knock-offs (subway, pizza hut, burger king, etc.)
Second birth of the sauce YOU know (“spicy and flavorful in a respectful way”) by Huy Fong Foods (1980): Also known as “Rooster Sauce” or “Cock Sauce.” Created by this dude:
David Tran. At the age of 30 he saw the fall of Saigon. “When Vietnam changed to Communism they stopped any business.” He was considered ethnic chinese, the unwanted minority, was part of the 30,000 refugees shipped to Hong Kong (A.K.A frozen ducks who were left on boats for months).
Moved to America (Cali) with nothing. Noodle soup was bland. “Everyone like me, we need our hot sauce. So I try to make it.” Personally delivered orders all over China town in his blue Chevy van. People say, ‘You make mild, you sell more.” David thinks, fuck you, but says “No hot sauce must be hot. We need fresh chile.”
He would manually dump chile into a grinder, causing the hot, stinging juice to run down his arms. When he would come home he couldn’t hold his daughter.
There’s a rooster on the bottle because David was born in the year of the Rooster.
In 2012 20 million bottles were sold. David’s factory makes 3,000 bottles an hour, 24 hours a day, 6 days a week (70,000 bottles a day). They just built a new factory that will make 18,000 bottles an hour.
David: “Economics up and down. For me I feel nothing.”
David again: “I make price very, very low.”
Every year Sriracha sales increase 20%
They use 48,000 tons of Chiles a year from ONE supplier. That’s 100 million pounds of peppers. The one supplier has the chiles at David’s doorstep 2 hours after harvest.
Ingredients: chile, garlic, sugar puree
Sriracha DOES NOT ADVERTISE AND DOES ZERO MARKETING. David: “We don’t have time, we can’t make enough.”
The phenomenon: Simply put: “People use it on everything…from eggs…soups…fried rice etc.” There are Sriracha ice cream sandwiches, lollipops, jams….people have sriracha tattoos (one guy spelled out on his knuckles), clothing, stiletto heels, rap songs…”I sneak it into wedding receptions,” said one poor bastard…Harold Dieterle, the first guy who won top chef, is a big fan….EVERY asian kitchen carries it. etc etc etc
Poem by David Tran:
I try to work hard to
make good product.
Until they don’t like
I stop to make
Below: A disturbing, but sadistically entertaining video of a buffoon chugging three bottles of Sriracha. I guess it’s a sign that a product has become a phenomenon when the outliers take it to the extreme. Don’t watch the last minute: vomit alert: