Are you as obsessed with Sriracha sauce as we are? You may be surprised to know that this sauce has some hidden secrets that will probably make you love it even more. So it’s time to spice things up and take a look at the Top 10 Untold Truths About Sriracha Sauce.
10. It’s Originally From Thailand
The original Sriracha sauce is actually an invention out of Thailand. It was originated by a woman name Thanom Chakkapak who was looking to make a sauce that was great for seafood. The sauce was such a hit with her family and friends that they encouraged her to market it. It was an instant hit in the town and then eventually throughout the country. She called her sauce Sriraja Panich, named after her community of Sri Racha. This was way back in the 1930s and the sauce is still used today all over Thailand and it’s much loved. So loved that Thai people that have had the opportunity to try the American Sriracha normally say they hate it. Some have even been quoted saying that the American version is way too hot and “alien to their taste buds”. This just goes to show you, if it ain’t broke… don’t fix it. This got us thinking, how would we react if we tried the original Sriracha sauce? Would we be just as obsessed? Or would we be scraping it off our tongues as quickly as possible? The Thai version of the sauce is popular on fish, fried foods, seafood, and wok-fried egg. If you watch a lot of food videos on Instagram you are bound to see one of these means being made and the Thai Sriracha sauce generously being poured on top.
9. The Ingredients May Kill You…Eventually
The Thai version of this insanely popular sauce tastes so different because of what is used to make it. Everything is fresh and healthy and even the process it goes through to produce it is so different. It’s made with garlic, prik chi faa peppers, vinegar, sugar, and salt which is fermented in casks for at least three months before being bottled. Because of this process, the sauce is runnier. The American version, however, is way different. In addition to it being excessively spicy, it’s made with MSG, preservatives, and thickeners. This isn’t different from many other Asian inspired sauces you see on the shelf of American grocery stores. However, it has recently been speculated that too much American Sriracha sauce can kill you. The sauce has 1 gram of sugar and 100 milligrams of sodium per teaspoon. Clearly, this is a lot. If you stick to the recommended amount you should be good but we all know that one person who smothers their food in Sriracha. Watch out for that person, they could be essentially overdosing on their favorite hot sauce. Of course, there are naysayers to this theory but common sense tells us it’s not good to ingest any hot sauce in large quantities. But hey, at least our version of the sauce isn’t fermented in caskets. That just sends a chill down our spine. Casket hot sauce, saying it out loud makes it sounds even more unhygienic.
8. You’re Probably Pronouncing The Name Wrong
It easy to see why someone could be saying the name of this super popular sauce for most of their lives. The way it’s spelled does not make it easy to pronounce it the correct way. It’s one of those words that is not spelled how it is pronounced. So, here it is; the proper pronunciation is “See-rotch-ah”. This is shocking seeing as it is normally said as “Sir-ratch-ah”. This is not the first nor last product that will be pronounced incorrectly, however, one would assume that more people would know this little tidbit. This sauce is so loved, has made millions of dollars and has been recreated time and time again. So why in the world have we all not realized we have been saying it incorrectly. The problem is with the Thai dialect the letter “i” is actually pronounced as a “e”. Obviously, this makes a lot of sense and explains just why we have been butchering the name of this spicy sauce for decades.
7. There is A Sriracha Cookbook
This was bound to happen. The popularity that this sauce boasts is almost like no other so a cookbook teaching people how else they could possibly utilize their Sriracha is genius. The book is titled “The Sriracha Cookbook: 50 “Rooster Sauce” Recipes that Pack a Punch” and was released in 2011. There was even a vegan/vegetarian companion cookbook and that also flew off the shelf. Some of the recipes in the book included an Ultimate Sriracha Burger, Fire Roasted Corn, Honey-Sriracha Glazed Buffalo Wings, Watermelon-Sriracha Sangria. Really everything just sounds tasty AF. The magazine Bon Appetit even cashed in by dedicating almost an entire issue to the hot sauce. They came up with 25 recipes featured in their magazine all based around the firey, red sauce. One of their more popular ones was Sriracha Fried Chicken. You really can’t go wrong with a fried chicken recipe. It’s safe to assume that this issue did really well in stores and online. We aren’t sure why but people are always looking for more things they can add Sriracha sauce too. Next thing you know we’ll be eating old boots lathered in this thick hot sauce. Of course, all you will taste is the spiciness from the sauce.
6. Sriracha Documentary?
A documentary about Sriracha sauce was made on the backs of fans. Back in 2013-ish, a kickstart was started by a few passionate people who really thought it was necessary to get this documentary made. In 2014, Griffin Hammond premiered his short doc at the New York Film Food Festival. So maybe you are thinking who would give money to a Kickstarter like this? Well, 1,315 people donated and Hammond, the director made $21,009. To be honest, we are a little surprised that it didn’t get more backing and it could be due to lack of publicity. Nonetheless, a documentary film came out of it. The film focused on where the sauce originated, who made it and how it made its way over to the US. The documentary is only about 30 minutes but if you think about it, there is room to grow. With the history that Sriracha has it certainly cannot be summed up in one 30 minute documentary. Maybe Hammond will consider making a full-length feature film. Hammond even kind of paid back his Kickstarter backers by giving them a private screening. Even allowing them to see the film before it even went to the festival.
5. Available In Packets
There is nothing better than having one of your favorite condiments at the tip of your fingers whenever you need it. Sriracha had the brilliant idea of making small condiment packages of their tasty sauce. And keychain sized Sriracha packages that can attach to your bundle of keys. Why do this? Simple, people love the sauce and people love miniature sizes of things. In addition, before the smaller versions of the sauce, people were carrying around full bottles of Sriracha sauce. Not only is that daunting but it’s freaking heavy. We would love to meet the person who finally had that accident where all the Sriracha spilled in their purse and ruined everything. The packets came at the perfect time and Sriracha made them available to the public so you don’t have to be a fast food place or dining establishment to buy them. You can purchase your own box of packets and drop as many as you would like in your lunch bag. Keep in mind though, you might be getting co-workers hitting you up for an extra packet or flat out stealing them off your desk. This sauce will make people do crazy things.
4. How Much Is Produced In One Hour?
We know that this sauce is really popular. Maybe even too popular after all it is just a hot sauce in a sea of hot sauces. But either way, supply, and demand are working at its finest. It was reported that in one hour, 3,000 bottles of the sauce is made every hour at the Huy Fong factory in California. And, the machines run around the clock making about 200 tons every week. That equals about 20 million of this stuff being produced every year. With all this production and this sauce is always sold out does that make any sense at all? There are a lot of other versions of Sriracha sauce on the shelves. But the Huy Fong brand is the one that tops the list by far. We can only assume that other brands are not producing as much as the Huy Fong brand is. We can also assume that they don’t provide their loyal customers with key chain size or packets of their sauce to take on the go. It takes a special brand to go above and beyond like that. Unfortunately for Tran, he did not trademark the name or anything else to do with this sauce. This is why there are so many different brands that are able to make their own version of Sriracha. But, he still has the number one sauce so it’s not that big of a deal.
3. They Don’t Advertise
I’ve never seen a commercial for Huy Fong Sriracha, have you? The company apparently made it a priority to not have any advertisements for their sauce. They have also never explained why. So how did the bright red sauce become so popular without any advertisements? We have to assume word of mouth played a big part here. How else would people know about the sauce? Before it was popular it sat on shelves and blended in with every other sauce in the aisle. But now, it’s the one that stands out, the one that people seek out. David Tran stated that they have not put one cent into advertising. And, they have no plans on doing so in the future. Yet, each year sales of the sauce go up by 20%. So clearly, the brand is doing something right. Tran never felt the need to advertise probably because, in the beginning, he had a set clientele. Tran maybe never assumed his sauce would make it into actual stores. Let alone be as popular and bold as it has become.
2. Tran Used To Bottle The Sauce Himself
Tran created the sauce in 1980 and it was the smallest operation possible. He would make it in his home and deliver it himself all over Chinatown. He cruised around in a blue Chevy van and literally went from shop to shop delivering his sauce. At the time, the sauce was in a glass bottle that Tran filled by himself with spoons in his home. Now, that is determination. It’s hard work like that, that has gotten him this far with his version of Sriracha. We can only assume that a man who endured a hard boat ride over to the US would have this much determination. He funneled his energy into making a sauce that, to be honest, has to be one of the most well-known sauces around the world. We can only assume this is why Tran did not need to advertise. He had his whole community buying this sauce from him, using it in their food, probably putting it out on the tables so people could add more if need be. From there, we can assume that it just started getting more and more popular. During that Sriracha documentary we mentioned above, Tran stated that he never really set out to have a business this big but we have to wonder, does anybody?
1. Tran Makes More Than Sriracha
Tran’s Sriracha sauce is by far his most famous sauce. But did you know he Huy Fong brand makes other sauces that are probably just as tasty? Two to be exact. The first one is a Sambal Oelek. This sauce is made with the same chili as Sriracha. But, has more of that chili flavor with a pungent, hotter taste. It is also described as healthier because it has way less sugar than Sriracha. And, it is more flavorful. The second sauce Huy Fong makes is Sambal Oelek with garlic. This sauce has the proper combination of garlic and chili. Because of the combination, they describe it as a chili garlic sauce. It is also healthier and more versatile. It apparently tastes good with just about everything. These sauces are less popular than their sister sauce but we have to say, they sound tastier than Sriracha. They sound like a sauce that would actually add flavor to your food as opposed to just a spicy after bite. From looking at the ingredients and the texture, we also came to the conclusion that both versions of Sambal Oelek would make for a great marinade on just about any protein or vegetables.
Sriracha sauce has swept the nation. For the last decade or so, this thick, red, hot sauce has changed the flavor of many a meal around the world. It is used as a condiment, a marinade, and even a challenge. Yes, some fool devoured 3 bottles of the hot sauce on YouTube then immediately ran to his washroom before he could even turn the camera off. This should be a testament to just how obsessed our society has become with the Huy Fong brand of Sriracha