Your Sriracha panic was caused by bad weather in a single region of Mexico
Huy Fong Foods, maker of the Sriracha hot sauce with the green cap and the rooster on the bottle, is warning of a shortage of its popular condiment. That shortage can be attributed to weather conditions in a single region of Mexico, according to Donna Lam, executive operations officer for the company.
Huy Fong Foods goes through about 50,000 tons of chiles a year to make its Sriracha, chile-garlic sauce and a sambal oelek. Lam said the Irwindale, Calif.-based company sources chiles from multiple suppliers in different regions of Mexico but she declined to specify exactly where. The chiles are grown during both fall and spring seasons.
“It’s a crop thing and something that we can’t predict,” she said. “It’s been happening since last year and this year is a lot worse, and that’s what put us back.”
In a statement to The Times, the company attributed the chile shortage to “spiraling events, including unexpected crop failure from the spring chili harvest.”
In July 2020, the company sent an email to distributors, warning of a shortage of chile peppers.
In April, the company sent another email informing customers of an even more severe shortage.
“Currently, due to weather conditions affecting the quality of chili peppers, we now face a more severe shortage of chili,” read the statement. “Unfortunately, this is out of our control and without this essential ingredient, we are unable to produce any of our products.”
Somewhere in the world, there is a Sriracha fan who has turned his beard into a bowl.
The letter informed customers that the company would not be accepting any new orders until September and that customer orders placed after April would be fulfilled after Labor Day.
Up until 2017, the company sourced its chiles from Underwood Farms in Ventura County. The two parted ways after a lawsuit, and Huy Fong Foods founder David Tran started receiving chiles from growers in Mexico, New Mexico and California.
At the moment, the company is sourcing chiles only from Mexico.
“We have several sources sometimes and we don’t want them to know who each other are,” Lam said.
Some Los Angeles restaurants are bracing for the shortage, hoping the news doesn’t prompt a run on the hot sauce.
At Pho Saigon Pearl restaurant on Fairfax Avenue in Beverly Grove, there is a bottle of Huy Fong Foods Sriracha on every table. It’s a condiment used to spice up the restaurant’s signature pho or to add a little heat to bowls of vermicelli noodles with char-grilled pork.
Sriracha lovers, there’s no need to panic.
“We are indeed scrambling to figure things out as we speak,” Phuong Hoang, Pho Saigon Pearl manager and co-owner wrote in an email to The Times. “We didn’t want to panic and buy and hoard, as we know other businesses need them too, but now that it’s made national news, we might need to. We don’t want it to become a toilet paper effect.”
The Sriracha deviled eggs are the No. 2 bestselling appetizer at Gulp restaurant and brew pub in Playa Vista. The sauce is mixed into the deviled egg yolk filling and drizzled on the plate. It also appears on the Buffalo chicken sliders and is a frequently requested condiment with eggs at brunch.
Sriracha fans may finally be able to breathe a sigh of relief.
According to manager Chris Sessa, the restaurant has about 20 bottles at the moment, but he said his chef goes through six to 10 bottles a week.
“Right now it’s not impacting us, but if they completely have a shortage for a couple of months, it’s going to impact everyone,” Sessa said. “I’ll try to see if we can find something similar but if it doesn’t match the flavor, we’ll probably have to pull the eggs.”
According to Lam, all hope is not lost. Lam said the company sources the sauce from multiple areas of Mexico and explained that the supply was a “very reduced amount” but not totally wiped out.
“We are just hoping it will start flowing from a different region,” she said. “We are working still to resolve this issue.”
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