Sriracha sauce (Huy Fong Foods)

For Sriracha sauce as a general product, see Sriracha sauce.
Tương Ớt Sriracha

A bottle of Huy Fong Sriracha sauce
(with trademarked rooster logo pixelated)
Heat Medium
Scoville scale 1,000-2,500[1] SHU
Sriracha sauce
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese 是拉差香甜辣椒醬
Simplified Chinese 是拉差香甜辣椒酱
Vietnamese name
Vietnamese Tương Ớt Sriracha
Vietnamese alphabet Tương Ớt Sriracha
Literal meaning Sriracha chili sauce

Huy Fong's Sriracha sauce (/ʃrˈrɑːɑː/;[2] Vietnamese: Tương Ớt Sriracha) is based on David Tran's recipe for the Sriracha chili sauce, a dipping sauce which originated from Thailand. This sauce is produced by Huy Fong Foods, a California manufacturer. Created in 1980[3] by Vietnamese-American[4] founder David Tran,[5] it is a brand of Sriracha sauce often also known as "rooster sauce" because of the rooster prominently featured on its label. Some cookbooks include recipes using it as their main condiment.[6]

It can be recognized by its bright red color and its packaging: a clear plastic bottle with a green cap, text in Vietnamese, English, Chinese, French, and Spanish, and the rooster logo. David Tran was born in 1945, the Year of the Rooster in the Chinese zodiac.[4] [7] The green cap and rooster logo are trademarked, but the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office considers the name "sriracha" to be a generic term.[8]


The sauce's recipe has not changed significantly since 1983. The bottle lists the ingredients "Chili, sugar, salt, garlic, distilled vinegar, potassium sorbate, sodium bisulfite and xanthan gum." Huy Fong Foods' chili sauces are made from fresh red jalapeño chili peppers and contain no added water or artificial colors.[9] Garlic powder is used rather than fresh.[10] The company formerly used serrano chilis but found them difficult to harvest. To keep the sauce hot, the company produces only up to a monthly pre-sold quota in order to use only peppers from known sources.[5] The sauce is certified as kosher by the Rabbinical Council of California.[11]

Scoville scale heat rating

Huy Fong Foods Sriracha sauce ranks in the 1,000–2,500 heat units range, above banana pepper and below Jalapeño pepper, on the Scoville scale used to measure the spicy heat of a chili pepper.[1]


Sriracha by Huy Fong Foods

David Tran began making chili sauces in 1975 in his native Vietnam, where his brother grew chili peppers on a farm north of Saigon.[4] In 1978, the Vietnamese government began to crack down on ethnic Chinese in south Vietnam. Tran and three thousand other refugees crowded onto the Taiwanese freighter Huey Fong, heading for Hong Kong. After a month-long standoff with the British authorities, its passengers disembarked on January 19, 1979.[12]

Tran was granted asylum in the United States. He started Huy Fong Foods in 1980, naming the company after the refugee ship that brought him out of Vietnam. The sauce was initially supplied to Asian restaurants near his base in Chinatown, Los Angeles,[3] but sales grew steadily by word of mouth.

In December 2009, Bon Appétit magazine named the sauce Ingredient of the Year for 2010.[13][14]

In 2012, over 20 million bottles were sold.[3] Huy Fong Foods says demand has outpaced supply since the company started making the sauce. The company doesn't advertise because advertising would only widen that gap. Huy Fong has boosted production since 2013.[15]

Sriracha sauce has grown from a cult taste to one of the food industry's most popular fads. It infuses burgers, snacks, candy, beverages and even health products. Tran said he was dissuaded from securing a trademark since it is difficult to obtain one named after a real-life location. This allows others to create develop their own version, and use the name. Some of the biggest corporations in the business, such as Heinz, Frito-Lay, Applebee's, P.F. Chang's, Pizza Hut, Subway and Jack in the Box, use the name without licensing it.[8][16] In 2016, Lexus partnered with Huy Fong Foods to build a single promotional Sriracha IS sport sedan.[17]


In October 2013, the city of Irwindale, California, filed a lawsuit against the Huy Fong Foods factory after approximately 30 residents of the town complained of the spicy smells the factory was emitting while producing Sriracha sauce. The plaintiff initially sought an injunction enjoining Huy Fong from "operating or using" the plant.[18] On November 27, 2013, Judge Robert H. O'Brien ruled partially in favor of the city, declaring Huy Fong Foods must cease any operations that could be causing the noxious odors and make changes to mitigate them, though he did not order that operations cease completely. According to the judge, although there was a "lack of credible evidence" linking locals' complaints of breathing trouble and watering eyes to the factory, the odor that could be "reasonably inferred to be emanating from the facility" is, for residents, "extremely annoying, irritating and offensive to the senses warranting consideration as a public nuisance."[19]

In late January 2014, the city of Irwindale announced it was expanding its case against Huy Fong Foods to include a claim of breach of contract, alleging that the plant violated a condition of its operating permit by emitting harmful odors.[20] The case was scheduled for jury trial in Los Angeles Superior Court on November 3, 2014.[21] On May 29, 2014, it was announced that Irwindale had dropped the lawsuit against Huy Fong Foods.[22] During the legal battles, a Texas delegation offered incentives to move operations to Denton.[23] Other states had also made offers for potential relocation.[24]

Documentary film

Filmmaker Griffin Hammond produced a 33-minute documentary about Sriracha sauce.[3] It was funded with the help of a Kickstarter campaign which raised $21,009—over four times the goal. The film was released online[25] on December 11, 2013 in advance of submission to film festivals.[26]

See also


  1. 1 2 The Catholic Foodie: Huy Fong's Sriracha, a.k.a. Rooster Sauce
  2. "Comments". Huy Fong Foods. Retrieved 15 July 2013.
  3. 1 2 3 4 "Sriracha: How a sauce won over the US". News Magazine Monitor. UK: BBC. 20 December 2013. Retrieved 2013-12-22.
  4. 1 2 3 Edge, John T. (May 19, 2009). "A Chili Sauce to Crow About". The New York Times. From 1975 onward, Mr. Tran made sauces from peppers grown by his older brother on a farm just beyond Long Binh, a village north of what was then Saigon. ... Though he never devised a formal name for his products, Mr. Tran decorated each cap with a rooster, his astrological sign.
  5. 1 2 Shyong, Frank (April 12, 2013). "Sriracha hot sauce purveyor turns up the heat". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2013-12-22.
  6. Clemens, Randy (2011). The Sriracha Cookbook. Berkeley: Ten Speed Press. ISBN 978-1-60774-003-2.
  7. "Firetalkers: Interview with David Tran of Huy Fong Foods, Inc., Makers of Sriracha "Rooster" Sauce". Scott: Why did you choose to put a rooster on your sauce bottles? David: I was born in the Year of the Rooster [1945].
  8. 1 2 Pierson, David (10 February 2015). "With no trademark, Sriracha name is showing up everywhere". The Los Angeles Times. Two dozen applications to use the word have been filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. None has been granted for Sriracha alone. The word is now too generic, the agency determined. ... Unlike the name, Tran trademarked his rooster logo and distinctive bottle.
  9. Garbes, Angela (2011). The Everything Hot Sauce Book: From growing to picking and preparing — all you need to add some spice to your life!, p.92. ISBN 9781440530654. "A combination of fresh red jalapeños, garlic, sugar, salt, and vinegar."
  10. Clemens, Randy (2011). The Sriracha Cookbook: 50 "Rooster Sauce" Recipes that Pack a Punch, p.10. Random House. ISBN 9781607740582
  11. Huy Fong Foods at Rabbinical Council of California's website
  12. Girardet, Edward (August 6, 1980). "Powerful magnet for Asian refugees". Christian Science Monitor. One such ship, the Huey Fong, arrived in Hong Kong on Dec. 23, 1978, claiming to have rescued its refugees off the Vietnamese coast....On Jan. 19, the ship entered Hong Kong Harbor without permission and the refugees disembarked.
  13. Von Biel, Victoria (16 December 2009). "Best Foods of the Year". Bon Appétit. Retrieved 20 February 2013.
  14. Patterson, Daniel (January 2010). "Sriracha: 4 Recipes for a $5 Ingredient". Bon Appétit. Retrieved 20 February 2013.
  15. Ferdman, Roberto A. (10 February 2015). "The sad truth: Sriracha, the world's coolest hot sauce, is losing its edge". The Washington Post. Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  16. Hannan, Caleb (21 February 2013). "Sriracha Hot Sauce Catches Fire, Yet 'There's Only One Rooster'". Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  17. Tim Nudd. "Lexus Just Made a Sriracha Car, and No This Isn't an April Fools' Joke: Auto brand just got spicier". Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  18. Weinstein, Nicole B.; Krainin, Daniel M.; Schoonmaker, Mackenzie S. (17 February 2014). "Sriracha Hot Sauce Plant Ordered to Cease Spicy Odors". The National Law Review. Retrieved 19 March 2014.
  19. "Sriracha hot sauce factory ordered to partially shut down". CBC/Radio-Canada. Associated Press. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
  20. Shyong, Frank (2014-01-31). "More legal woes for Sriracha plant in fight with Irwindale". Retrieved 2014-02-11.
  21. "Irwindale's Case Against Sriracha Factory To Go To Trial This Fall". 2014-01-31. Retrieved 2014-02-11.
  22. Shyong, Frank (May 29, 2014). "Sriracha truce brokered with help of Gov. Jerry Brown's office". Los Angeles Times.
  23. Shah, Khushbu (1 May 2014). "Is California's Sriracha Factory Considering a Texas Move?". Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  24. Favot, Sarah (16 April 2014). "Sriracha hot sauce maker considers moving to Texas". Pasadena Star-News. Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  25. Hammond, Griffin (December 11, 2013). "Watch Sriracha, the movie!". Retrieved 2013-12-22.
  26. Harris, Jenn (June 13, 2013). "Sriracha documentary: Everything you need to know about the fiery sauce in 30 minutes". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2013-12-22.
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