Why is everybody hot for Sriracha ‘cock sauce’?

The world has gone crazy for an addictive Asian chilli.

by: Shaina Herman | 03 Nov 2014
 
hot sauce, sriracha


Sriracha is said to be born in Thailand, made with 5 basic ingredients: chilli peppers, distilled vinegar, garlic, sugar and salt. However, South East Asia has been using chilli sauces, like Sriracha, for an enhanced flavour profile long before Sriracha hit the shelves 3 decades ago. Balance and harmony of Eastern beliefs is reflected daily in their cuisine and most offer an element of hot, sour, sweet and salty characters as condiments in the home or at authentic Asian restaurants.

An addiction for hot sauce fanatics

Sriracha has taken this age old custom, made it accessible to hipsters, cooks and top chefs alike, and turned it into a serious cult following.

The Rooster Sauce, or probably the best known as cock sauce, named after the famed red rooster on the bottle, was brought to America in 1980 by Huy Fong Foods Inc. But it wasn’t until the last couple of years that Sriracha became a foodie sensation and later an addiction for hot sauce fanatics. Now over 10 million bottles are sold a year.

In 2013, Huy Fong Foods Inc. produced so much chilli sauce that the neighbouring town began to complain of the hot chilli odours and the factory stopped production to accommodate for their rapid growth. For a dark and bleak moment at the end of 2013, Sriracha was such a commodity, junkies were forced to go black market for the red hot sauce crack.

Now, funky restaurants, diners and local spots keep Sriracha on the table alongside the classic condiments. Some believe that the spicy nature of the sauce is addicting to the taste buds causing 'non-Srirached' foods to become bland and keep users coming back for more.  Fans however, unapologetically find that the red hot sauce goes with nearly every dish; heavy meats, chicken, mayo, salads, sandwiches, tofu and nearly anything else you’d likely put chutney on (so everything).

Cult following

Covered by every major food outlet, articles, tributes and endless recipes continue to be produced for this dedicated cult food following. Food24 recently acquired a bottle of the diverse dressing and Food Editor, Tessa Purdon is busy in the kitchen saucing up Food24 South African classics.

The Atlantic recently compared the factory to the world’s most famous chocolate maker, The Willy Wonka of Sriracha: Behind the Gates of David Tran’s Factory.

Rising the ranks as the world’s most popular condiment, The Guardian UK describes it as ‘Ketchup with a kick.’

Bon Appétit's 25 ways to use Sriracha adds flavour to unexpected dishes and Greatest’s 50 Healthy Recipes Using Sriracha offers even the healthiest of meals a kick of low calorie spice. And tributes like this comic from The Oatmeal express a deep intense addiction for Sriracha.

Our guess? Sriracha is here to stay.

***Word on the street is Black Market foods imports the stuff.


Follow Shaina Herman on Twitter @MilkandCookieSA .

- Milk and Cookies

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