Sriracha hot sauce invades pop culture: For $180, you can wear it on your feet

Bottles of Sriracha sauce move through a conveyor belt ready for packaging at Huy Fong Foods.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Sriracha, the incredibly popular Asian condiment that has gone so far beyond mainstream it’s practically “everystream,” earned another distinction recently when Trader Joe’s introduced its own branded version.

The red sauce with the familiar rooster, green cap and what seems like a million languages on the back is quickly replacing ketchup as America’s condiment of choice. Subway’s got its eye on a Sriracha mayo and Lay’s recently made a flavor of potato chip inspired by the sauce. (Most of us squirt it directly on our chips anyway.)

The fiery combination of eight ingredients, chili, salt, and garlic to name just three, was created by David Tran, a major in the South Vietnamese army who fled to the U.S. and started making the stuff in buckets in the 1980s. The business now generates $60 million a year.


Here’s a look at some memorable Sriracha moments in pop culture:

Bart Simpson eats faux Sriracha on “The Simpsons”: If Bart Simpson likes it, it has to be good. In a 2011 episode of “The Simpsons,” the show paid homage to some popular food trends in what Executive Producer Matt Selman called “a love letter to foodie culture.” In the episode, Bart enjoys some kimchee and what looks like a bottle of Sriracha. It’s red in color with a green cap.

The Sriracha water bottle: If you’re one of those people who thinks the condiment is so good you could drink it, here’s your chance. Well, sort of. In 2012, the company Cage + Desoto came out with a Sriracha water bottle. The plastic bottle was red in color, had a green top and was complete with the rooster illustration and all the nutrition facts on the back. Technically it was a water bottle, but you could have filled it with Sriracha for those times when you’re on a hike and you just need a squirt of the good stuff.

Sriracha shoes: For the fashionable Sriracha enthusiasts, the condiment has gone from Vietnamese pho table-staple to your closet. The folks at Hourglass footwear have made Sriracha shoes. They have printed stilettos and flats with what they called the Rock Out print that features a white rooster on a red shoe with a green heel. These bad boys will set you back $180.

Sriracha in the 626: The Fung Brothers, the duo from the San Gabriel Valley who rap about all things SGV -- think boba tea houses and late-night cafes -- have made the hot sauce a popular fixture in their YouTube videos. In the video appropriately named “Best Asian Sauces,” the boys break down some popular condiments and, of course, start with Sriracha.

Sriracha iPhone case: Techies who love the stuff can wrap their smartphones in it. makes a Sriracha phone cover for the iPhone 4s for $15.95.

Sriracha skate deck: There’s nothing like squirting a good amount of Sriracha on a hot bowl of fried rice. The brand SGV For Life brought this popular combo to its fried rice skateboard that features a skate deck with a picture of fried rice and the letters SGV written in Sriracha printed on the board, $45. Nowhere on the board does it actually say Sriracha but the sauce’s signature green cap is visible in the print.

Sriracha dance team: A hip-hop dance team from UC Berkeley named itself “Sriracha” after their favorite hot sauce. They’re pretty good dancers and they all incorporate a little red into their dance attire. You can check out their moves in the video below:

Sriracha Lay’s potato chips: The chip flavor was in the running to win the brand’s recent flavor contest but was beat out by cheesy garlic bread. This could have been because the chips tasted nothing like actual Sriracha. But if you want to sample, the Sriracha Lay’s will be on shelves through summer.

Sriracha rap: The word Sriracha rhymes with banana, panda, mantra... OK, so maybe the sauce doesn’t make for the best song lyric, but the boys from the group Spiderfang managed to squeeze it into a song they wrote called “Jonathan Gold,” named after the L.A. Times’ restaurant critic. There’s a line that goes “banh mi so hot, Sriracha.”


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