What you don’t know about Sriracha: 11 fun facts from a documentary

Bottles of Sriracha chili sauce on shelves inside a supermarket in Rosemead.
(Frederic J. Brown / AFP/Getty Images)

Somewhere in the world, there is a Sriracha fan who has turned his beard into a bowl. It sags below his chin in the form of an elongated cup made of wiry brown hairs. He fills the beard bowl with ramen noodles. And before eating them with a pair of wooden chopsticks, he squirts them with Sriracha.

You’ll see this, and many more Sriracha fanatics in a 33-minute Sriracha documentary by Griffin Hammond that premiered online Tuesday night. The entire film is devoted to finding the origins of the beloved hot sauce and paying homage to its many lovers and creators around the world.

There’s an inside look at the Huy Fong Foods Sriracha factory, the focus of a recent lawsuit in Irwindale regarding the chile smell in the area around the plant. Hammond also travels to Sri Racha, the city in Thailand the hot sauce is named after.


Photos: Behind the scenes look at the Sriracha documentary

Here are 11 fun facts from the film:

1. The Huy Fong Foods Sriracha factory in Rosemead used to be owned by Wham-O, the maker of Frisbees and Slip ‘n Slides. “Before that building filled full with hulla hoop,” Huy Fong Foods founder David Tran say in the film. “Now filled with chile.”

2. Randy Clemens, author of “The Sriracha Cookbook” and “The Veggie Lover’s Sriracha Cookbook” has a license plate that reads “SIRACHA.”

3. Huy Fong Foods makes all its own bottles, which initially look like bloated test tubes. At the Irwindale factory, one line of production can produce 18,000 bottles an hour.

4. Tran eats pho with his Sriracha sauce in Vietnamese restaurants all around the city and is never recognized.

5. Tran’s first bottles of Sriracha were made in 1980. They were glass bottles filled by the spoonful and he personally delivered them all over Chinatown in a blue Chevy van.


6. Huy Fong Foods makes three types of sauce that all start with the same chile mash. A sambal oelek, (if you want to taste the chile), a chili garlic (which is the sambal oelek with garlic from Gilroy, Calif.) and the Sriracha (which is the chili garlic sauce pureed with sugar).

7. Sriracha sauce is believed to have been invented in Sri Racha, Thailand, by a woman named Thanom Chakkapak. Her sauce recipe is now manufactured under the name Sriraja Panich. The Thai version is sweeter and thinner than Huy Fong Food’s sauce.

8. Huy Fong Foods has never advertised its sauce, and its sales have increased by almost 20% each year.

9. The rooster on the Huy Fong Foods bottles is there because Tran was born in the Chinese year of the rooster.

10. There’s a woman in Brooklyn, N.Y., making a hipster version of Sriracha in small batches. Jo Jo’s Sriracha sells for $14 a bottle.

11. You’ll soon see a gallon-sized bottle of Sriracha hot sauce from Huy Fong Foods.

And this isn’t really a fact, but you’ll want Sriracha after you watch the film ... badly. In less than five minutes of the rolling credits, I had an omelet covered in Sriracha in my mouth.



Q&A with Sriracha documentary maker Griffin Hammond

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Twitter: @Jenn_Harris_