Sriracha sauce is arguably one of the most popular hot sauces sold and used within contemporary grocers and food chains/restaurants. Produced by Huy Fong Foods, this sauce was created in 1980 by the company’s Vietnamese founder David Tran and originated from Thailand.
Sriracha is easily identifiable due to its simplistic packaging which features the image of a rooster. The incorporation of a rooster into the product’s packaging results from Tran being born in 1945, a year the Chinese Zodiac acknowledges as Year of the Rooster.
Tran began experimenting with the development of hot sauce in Vietnam because his brother farmed chilli peppers on a farm North of Saigon. In 1978, however, the Vietnamese government targeted ethnic Chinese persons residing in South Vietnam and forced three thousand refugees to board the Huey Fong ship, a Taiwanese Freighter, with Hong Kong as its destination. Tran was one of these refugees, and on January 19th, 1979 he arrived in Hong Kong and was eventually given asylum in America. He initiated Huy Fong Foods in 1980, the name being inspired by the Freighter ship that allowed him to escape Vietnam, and after local restaurants in Chinatown, Los Angeles began to make use of his Sriracha sauce it was named Ingredient of the Year by Bon Appétit magazine in 2009. Tran’s Sriracha has been purchased over twenty million times without advertisement and is used by popular food corporations such as Heinz, Frito-Lay, Applebee’s, P.F. Chang’s, Pizza Hut, Subway and Jack in the Box.
As for the Sriracha recipe itself? It has remained unchanged since 1983 and contains chilis, sugar, salt, garlic, distilled vinegar, potassium sorbet, sodium bisulfite and zanthan gum. The sauce is Kosher and is widely available within numerous grocery retailer, and can be used on a multitude of different foods.
I find Tran’s story to be remarkable and inspiring. It is probable that he never believed a simple hot sauce would be so successful, but I would argue that a majority of persons are very grateful he boarded the Huey Fong and developed such a fantastic chilli sauce known as Sriracha.
(Information derived from Wikipedia.com)