Huy Fong Foods, the manufacturer best known for its rooster-branded Sriracha sauce, offers public tours of its 650,000-square-foot Irwindale factory throughout the year, but it is perhaps most fun to visit during the first few months of fall.
That’s because it’s time of the year the company calls “chili-grinding season,” or when the red chili peppers used as the base for its sauces are brought to the factory for grinding and processing. In anticipation of this year’s chili-grinding season, Huy Fong is organizing fall tours of its facilities; tours will be held on Saturdays between Sept. 12 and Oct. 17, and reservations are required.
You may recall that Huy Fong held similar tours during the last chili-grinding season, and the company says its production process has not changed since then.
But even if you went last fall, it’ll likely still be fun to see the red peppers delivered by the truckload to the facility, the machines that grind the peppers and process them into sauce (in addition to Sriracha, Huy Fong also makes sambal oelek and chili garlic sauces) and the area where the sauces are bottled and packaged. You’ll also get a free T-shirt, a 9-ounce bottle of Sriracha and a chance to sample various Sriracha-themed snacks.
If it isn’t already obvious, the tour is to a hot-sauce fan as the chocolate factory was to Charlie Bucket.
As if all this Sriracha weren’t enough entertainment, Huy Fong also plans to host special Chinese lion dance performances every other Saturday. The Red Cross is scheduled to hold a blood drive on site on Sept. 26 and Oct. 17.
Note that, as in baseball, the tours are subject to rainouts. Reservations are filling up quickly; sign up here.