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December 23, 2013 at 10:41 am

Where Did Sriracha Come From?

Last week filmmaker Griffin Hammond released a 33-minute documentary detailing the origin story of Sriracha – the most beloved hot sauce in America. Sriracha, the movie! got its funding through a Kickstarter campaign. Hammond asked for $5,000 in donations to complete the film and received over $21,000 from sriracha fans instead. This is the kind of enthusiasm that marks sriracha fans across the United States.

The original sriracha is a blend of chili peppers, vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt – much like the bottled variety. Its name comes from from Si Racha, a coastal city in Eastern Thailand. Yet there’s so much more to the story than that. How did sriracha go from a staple of Asian cuisine to become the American darling of hot sauce?

(credit: Clay Kessack)

(credit: Clay Kessack)

Sriracha has transcended its status as a regional hot sauce to become the most strangely revered food item of 2013. There’s now a sriracha vodka, sriracha on Subway sandwiches, sriracha shoesa cookbook, and so much more. People have even tattooed sriracha bottles onto their skin in a permanent declaration of love for the “rich man’s sauce at a poor man’s price” as creator David Tran refers to his product.

In 2012, Huy Fong Foods Inc. sold $60 million in sriracha. At about $4 a bottle, that’s a lot of hot sauce.

For more on the hot sauce’s history watch Sriracha, the movie! on Vimeo for $5. It’s just slightly more than another bottle of Sriracha. 

-Tove K Danovich