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The Rooster Sauce and the People Who Love It
April 11, 2014 2:44 PM   Subscribe

Well, it has finally happened: The The Irwindale (California) City Council has ruled that a factory that produces the popular Sriracha hot sauce is a public nuisance. The factory has 90 days to better contain its fumes The resolution, issued this past Wednesday evening, enables city officials to make changes if the smells continue after the factory's deadline has past. In other Sriracha news: The Oatmeal provides a (somewhat) illustrated guide to the utility of the sauce. Of course, Sriracha deserves its own movie. Bon Appetit proves that there are (at least) twenty-five uses for Sriracha. Do you like to drink Sriracha? Out of a mug (not advised)? Think Geek has got you covered. If the worst-case scenario happens, fear not! Nom nom paleo teaches how to make your own Sriracha.
posted by 4ster (186 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
When I saw this story on one of my newsfeeds this morning, I was a little irritated. The entire town of Irwindale is a public nuisance. They couldn't even keep the Raiders happy. The town is a rock quarry and the perfect place to put a Sriracha factory.

I say this as an admittedly biased former resident of a nearby town.
posted by janey47 at 2:46 PM on April 11 [10 favorites]


It would be a far greater nuisance to the public if Sriracha went out of business.
posted by ageispolis at 2:46 PM on April 11 [6 favorites]


Really, Sriracha is the best thing to happen to sauce in a long time.
posted by ageispolis at 2:47 PM on April 11


Well, Sriracha is divine and all, but noxious industrial fumes are noxious industrial fumes. Irwindale should try and create the largest block of chili-glazed tofu ever, to absorb all the smells. That would be a win-win for everyone.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:50 PM on April 11 [43 favorites]


I find the company fascinating, and I like their sauce but can no longer eat it because Sriracha is something like 150% salt.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:51 PM on April 11 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I like Sriracha sauce (though apparently not as much as the next guy, going by the Internet) but I'm not sure I'd want to smell it 24/7.
posted by kmz at 2:51 PM on April 11 [2 favorites]


I make a sriracha ice cream that right-thinking people agree is the best thing that exists.
posted by penduluum at 2:51 PM on April 11 [9 favorites]


I'm actually pretty meh about sriracha, but if I had to choose between the hot sauce and the city of Irwindale, I'll take sriracha, every time.
posted by happyroach at 2:52 PM on April 11 [7 favorites]


Ok, penduluum, I know this isn't Metatalk and all, but I think I am going to need that recipe.
posted by 4ster at 2:53 PM on April 11 [17 favorites]


150% salt, the other 150% is sugar. Their sambal oelek is better.
posted by Nelson at 2:54 PM on April 11 [12 favorites]


I've made my own pepper sauce before on a small scale and the fumes can be fucking nasty. Anyone who says, "Hey, we'll take the tax dollars and jobs in MY town" needs to try making their own sauce first. I guess the working anti-Irwindale theory is that people are just lying for some inscrutiable reason?
posted by muddgirl at 2:55 PM on April 11 [10 favorites]


According to LAist, "Tate added that the judgment seemed hurried and "a bit heavy handed" since they only found 12 residents in the entire city who complained about the factory. CBS Sacramento reported that the complaints were mostly filed from four households in a population of 1,400 residents in the industrial city."

Complaints from only four households? Doesn't seem like the whole city is up in arms at all.
posted by yasaman at 2:57 PM on April 11 [3 favorites]


fine I'll be that person.

Sriracha is the sauce equivalent of bolded 172 ppt ALL CAPS type in Impact.
posted by The Whelk at 2:57 PM on April 11 [20 favorites]


Turns out, as with all things political, there's money involved in here.

In order to entice Huy Fong from Rosemead - where they've been operating for years without complaint - Irwindale offered the company a low cost loan and expected to collect the interest. Huy Fong built the plant, moved and immediately refi'd and paid off the loan, screwing the city out of the interest.

Irwindale, like a lot of these little LA satellite cities is a crooked cesspool. The Mayor and the Deputy Mayor are both under indictment for fishy practices with money.

Also, the vast majority of the complaints have been filed by one household - who's the nephew of one of the city councilmen.

It's a shake down pure and simple.
posted by drewbage1847 at 2:57 PM on April 11 [156 favorites]


I don't understand how the city council actually stands to profit from this, though, unless they're just expecting some kind of payoff which would be pretty obvious at this point. Does the Mayor's family own an air-quality improvement company or something?
posted by muddgirl at 3:01 PM on April 11


The last slide of that Bon Appetit slideshow should really just say "SERIOUSLY JUST PUT IT IN EVERYTHING HOW ARE YOU NOT GETTING THIS JUST EAT IT MAN"

also what is the deal with their slideshow dynamically loading the next image and then also refreshing the entire page?
posted by jason_steakums at 3:02 PM on April 11 [1 favorite]


drewbage, that's the first I'd heard of the interest payment angle, and now I am filled with even more white-hot rage about Irwindale.
posted by RakDaddy at 3:05 PM on April 11 [1 favorite]


Seriously, eff that place.
posted by RakDaddy at 3:05 PM on April 11




Sriracha + Mayo = heaven.

Plus the guy's story is pretty amazing. Vietnamese immigrant makes good in California, uses local products, won't raise prices, won't sell out.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 3:05 PM on April 11 [11 favorites]


*crossing fingers hoping a Tapatio movie will come out*
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 3:06 PM on April 11 [11 favorites]


Trader Joe's own-brand sriracha sauce is a terrible copy. It's like this lion skin that was stuffed by somebody who'd never seen a real lion.
posted by w0mbat at 3:06 PM on April 11 [6 favorites]


Sriracha is the sauce equivalent of bolded 172 ppt ALL CAPS type in Impact.

Well yeah, that's the American way.
posted by MartinWisse at 3:07 PM on April 11 [1 favorite]


I find the company fascinating, and I like their sauce but can no longer eat it because Sriracha is something like 150% salt.

Do people use it by the cup or something? I usually just put a couple squirts on whatever I'm eating.

That said, having blistered hot peppers on the grill, the fumes can be OH HEY OW if you're not careful, but I would not be at all surprised to find some kind of political shenanigans behind all of this.
posted by rtha at 3:07 PM on April 11 [4 favorites]


Are you mad, sir! That is an awesome lion!

If it had burning roosters coming out of its mouth, then it would be like Sriracha.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:08 PM on April 11 [8 favorites]


Also, the vast majority of the complaints have been filed by one household - who's the nephew of one of the city councilmen.

I'm trying to cite this assertion and this is the closest I've come:
In the meantime, several residents complained that the smell was persisting as Huy Fong Foods workers continued to bottle the popular hot sauce that is a staple in Asian restaurants and homes. Data provided by the AQMD showed the majority of complaints came from four households.
This appears to only refer to complaints made after the court ruling in November when AQMD stepped in, not to complaints that led to the lawsuit. On the surface it would appear to make sense that after some lines were shut down the number of complaints would reduce.

Also, the fact that there were no complaints at their former factory site doesn't mean much - new building, new filtration systems, new chance to either make an engineering error or cut corners.
posted by muddgirl at 3:10 PM on April 11 [2 favorites]


I'm confused about why the Sriracha people seem to be unable to produce their product without creating this problem when you don't hear about similar complaints re: Tobasco or Cholula. I think the latter's made in Mexico, but Tobasco at least claims to manufacture in Louisiana. If other people can make products with chiles without causing problems, it would stand to reason that Huy Fong Foods has to have some kind of options that would be more neighborly.

But I'm a Cholula person, personally, so.
posted by Sequence at 3:15 PM on April 11 [3 favorites]


I'm confused about why the Sriracha people seem to be unable to produce their product without creating this problem when you don't hear about similar complaints re: Tobasco or Cholula. I think the latter's made in Mexico, but Tobasco at least claims to manufacture in Louisiana. If other people can make products with chiles without causing problems, it would stand to reason that Huy Fong Foods has to have some kind of options that would be more neighborly.

That's because there is no problem.
posted by Diablevert at 3:17 PM on April 11 [3 favorites]


The Whelk: "fine I'll be that person.

Sriracha is the sauce equivalent of bolded 172 ppt ALL CAPS type in Impact.
"

Subtlety is not the only virtue in cooking, bourgeois-aspirational aesthetic dicta be damned.
posted by invitapriore at 3:17 PM on April 11 [12 favorites]


Sriracha Ice Cream:
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup condensed milk
4 egg yolks
1 whole egg
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cardamom (brings out a fruity flavor that's really nice, and adds some texture)
1/3 cup or so sriracha (I really judge this more by color than quantity -- it should be just a shade darker than the pink-yellow color of the spicy may they give you with sushi)

Mix the milk, cream, and condensed milk in a saucepan. Bring slowly to a boil, add the vanilla, kosher salt, cardamom. Let it simmer for about 20 minutes, add the sriracha, and bring it just back to a boil. Don't let it boil too long once the sriracha's in there. Take it off the heat.

Cream the eggs, yolks, and sugar together in a large bowl. Mix until smooth and light in color.

Temper your egg mixture -- take a cup of the hot cream, and slooooowly add it to the eggs while stirring vigorously. Once they're mixed, sloooooooowly pour the egg mixture into the saucepan with the cream.

Turn the heat back on and cook over low heat. Stir constantly. You want the mix to thicken enough to coat a spoon but DO NOT allow it to come back to a boil. If you do, there's a chance your eggs will curdle and get weird. This step should take 10 minutes or so of stirring.

Pour it all into a bowl and chill it completely. This might take overnight (yes, using a custard base is way more trouble than just using cream, but the difference is so worth it). Then either put it in your ice cream maker or google "making ice cream without maker".

I like to serve it with just a little spot of roasted garlic on top, or a couple thin bread & butter pickles. I've also made a version where I boiled some lemongrass in the milk and took out the cardamom, and stirred some chopped dark chocolate in before freezing, which was pretty good.

posted by penduluum at 3:19 PM on April 11 [174 favorites]


Muddgirl - Here's a citation of the Son (not nephew) being one of the four households.

The large quantity from him stems from a fellow author who's written two Sriracha cookbooks.
posted by drewbage1847 at 3:20 PM on April 11 [1 favorite]


So how difficult and expensive would it be to install filters? I can't imagine they'd shutter the business over this (or they'd just move and retool). This isn't like the End Of Sriracha As We Know It or anything, right?
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:26 PM on April 11


In the case of Tabasco, it's produced on a island entirely owned by the Avery and McIlhenny families who own the brand, so not likely to be an issue. I didn't notice any problems when I was there, though.
posted by tavella at 3:26 PM on April 11 [4 favorites]


Furiousxgeorge once pointed out the similarity between sriracha and ketchup and I've never been able to shake the association. There's a sweetness to sriracha that's less than ideal, and it ain't even that hot.
posted by Mid at 3:27 PM on April 11 [3 favorites]


They won't go out of business. They'll move, to a state which doesn't think that businesses are the enemy of the People. (Likely Louisiana, which has already made overtures.)
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 3:27 PM on April 11 [2 favorites]


150% salt, the other 150% is sugar. Their sambal oelek is better.

I like the sambal oelek too because it's simple, but it's even saltier. It's basically just salt, peppers and vinegar.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 3:29 PM on April 11


150% salt, the other 150% is sugar. Their sambal oelek is better.

Wow, 100 grams of sambal oelek contains about 48 fucking percent of one's recommended maximum daily sodium intake.

I would rather not ever experience the symptoms of high blood pressure, ever, ever again... Too frightening
posted by KokuRyu at 3:30 PM on April 11 [1 favorite]


It is really salty. But to be fair you'd likely never eat 100 grams of it in a day.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 3:32 PM on April 11 [2 favorites]


I now have sauce envy. Down here in futbolandia most sauces suck miserably. The things that they try to pass for curry or mustard are shameful sins. Let's not even get into soy, ugh. I suppose the fact that what I think are the ncessary ingredients can't be found pretty much anywhere else but in superexpensive gourmet little shops in the biggest cities has some blame.
Also that in general terms, food prices here are going to hell via express lane for the last 3 years or so.

Sigh.
posted by Iosephus at 3:32 PM on April 11 [1 favorite]


Wow, 100 grams of sambal oelek contains about 48 fucking percent of one's recommended maximum daily sodium intake.

On the other hand, your average sambal oelek jar contains 221 grams - and while I'm sure some enthusiasts could consume half a jar in a single sitting, mostly I just use a couple of teaspoons in an entire recipe.
posted by Frowner at 3:34 PM on April 11 [3 favorites]


KokuRyu: "150% salt, the other 150% is sugar. Their sambal oelek is better.

Wow, 100 grams of sambal oelek contains about 48 fucking percent of one's recommended maximum daily sodium intake.

I would rather not ever experience the symptoms of high blood pressure, ever, ever again... Too frightening
"

Just have a banana with it, potassium consumption has the inverse relationship to blood pressure.
posted by invitapriore at 3:34 PM on April 11 [1 favorite]


They'll move, to a state which doesn't think that businesses are the enemy of the People.

Hey, yeah, thanks for insulting an entire state of 38M people just because the town of Irwindale (pop.: 1,422) is full of jerks and crooks. Way to be a community participant there.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 3:37 PM on April 11 [12 favorites]


Muddgirl - Here's a citation of the Son (not nephew) being one of the four households - http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/business/20140225/majority-of-complaints-about-sriracha-factory-came-from-4-households

So what this article states is that (1) One of the original 13 complaintants in the court case was the son of a city council member, (2) the majority of complaints to the AQMD come from 4 households (but the AQMD declines to give addresses so we can't say whether or not this is based on political animosity or location in the city), and (3) The number of discrete complaintants made to AQMD (20 different households) is actually higher than the number of complaintants in court.

I'm not saying this isn't a city council conspiracy. I'm saying that we need to be precise with allegations.

They'll move, to a state which doesn't think that businesses are the enemy of the People.

Didn't Irwindale convince the factory to move in the first place with the kinds of assumption of risk that business-friendly cities are supposed to engage in?
posted by muddgirl at 3:38 PM on April 11 [2 favorites]


I have to ask - Sriracha's been around for decades, why is it suddenly so wildly popular? Did I miss something?
posted by Gev at 3:38 PM on April 11


If the sriracha is overpowering, you're using too much of it.
posted by oceanjesse at 3:38 PM on April 11


I'm with Gev. I've loved the stuff for ages (hot sauce hipster!) and always thought that everyone was on the same page. Then, WHAM! It's the new bacon.

Then again, bacon has been around a while too...
posted by brundlefly at 3:41 PM on April 11


I love hot sauce, and I also think Sriracha is overrates as hell. My giant, cheap bottle of mass-produced hot sauce is Valentina extra hot. But I'd overwhelingly prefer a good home-made sauce.
posted by feralscientist at 3:41 PM on April 11 [3 favorites]


Also, I think the trend may be on its way out soon. They have it at Subway now.
posted by brundlefly at 3:42 PM on April 11 [2 favorites]


The numbers that have been written up about all this are confusing, but there's enough of a smell on it that I think this is a pure thumb in the eye play from a city council that thought they were going to make a nice sum off landing Huy Fong. Speculation is that they hope to be able to make this costly enough that Huy Fong will simply come to an arrangement with them that shockingly lands close to what the interest would have been on the loan.
posted by drewbage1847 at 3:44 PM on April 11


irwindale is notorious for paying al davis ten million dollars as the first step to getting him to move the oakland raiders to a rock quarry. the city promised to develop the quarry into a stadium and reneged. al davis did not return the money, and so far as i'm aware, none of the city officials were hanged from lamp posts.
posted by bruce at 3:48 PM on April 11 [1 favorite]


I have to ask - Sriracha's been around for decades, why is it suddenly so wildly popular? Did I miss something?

New York hipsters found out about it. See also bacon, and the guy upthread comparing it to arcane typesetting parameters.
posted by indubitable at 3:49 PM on April 11 [8 favorites]


So are preypayment penalties not a thing in these kinds of deals? On the consumer level you get hit with them fairly often. Seems pretty shortsighted of the city if they were counting on that interest and then left the contract wide open for Sriracha to just refinance, pay it off and avoid the interest.
posted by jason_steakums at 3:51 PM on April 11


If Impact is obscure, then I guess we can count on every menu being done in Papyrus until the end of time.
posted by 99_ at 3:51 PM on April 11 [5 favorites]


Sequence, For Tabasco it is made on an area called Avery Island, Louisana which is a salt dome. The population is very very small. The entire parish only has 74,000 or so people. The average household density is actually only 48 homes per square mile. Avery Island is unincorporated and not considered in a city. Thats probobly why no one complains, and the people near by most likely work there or get money from the tourists.

I'm not sure I would want watery pepper eyes all day though.
posted by AlexiaSky at 3:52 PM on April 11 [1 favorite]


New York hipsters found out about it.

Amen. Apparently somebody also told them about toast.
posted by ReeMonster at 3:54 PM on April 11 [5 favorites]


Also, Avery Island is essentially a Company Town. In earlier times, it came complete with a company store, company scrip and workers calling the McIlhenny patriarch "The Great White Father". Nobody there's gonna complain.
posted by indubitable at 3:55 PM on April 11


I love hot sauce, and I also think Sriracha is overrates as hell. My giant, cheap bottle of mass-produced hot sauce is Valentina extra hot.

Valentina is lovely, but it's for different things than Sriracha is for. (I've got my laptop on my kitchen table at the moment, so I have a bottle of each within arm's reach without standing up). I also keep a bottle of Tabasco and a jar of Huy Fong chili garlic on hand at all times. That's without even mentioning the minor brands and homemades.

You really should consider the flavour profile of your dish before just adding any old hot sauce to it. For the dishes that Sriracha works best with (soba noodles with boiled bok choy, for example), I have not yet found another sauce that does the job better. Huy Fong Foods is not a huge success by accident.
posted by 256 at 3:57 PM on April 11 [4 favorites]


Did the complaints come before or after Huy Fong refinanced and paid off the loan from Irwindale?
posted by scelerat at 3:59 PM on April 11


Oh and my favourite left-field use for Sriracha is the PB & Sriracha sandwich. Seriously, give it a shot.
posted by 256 at 4:00 PM on April 11 [8 favorites]


There seems to be some hot sauce confusion in this discussion.

Tabasco is a cajun hot sauce. It consists of vinegar, very hot peppers, and some salt.
Tapatio is a Mexican hot sauce. It consists of water, moderately hot peppers, and a little salt.
Sriracha is an Asian hot sauce. It consists of moderately hot peppers, sugar, salt, garlic, and a little vinegar.

They're really different flavors. Tapatio is my go-to when I want to add heat to something I'm eating, but then most of what I eat is California food which is sort of Mexican-allied. Tabasco is almost always terrible with most food but if you really want a lot of vinegar, why, go for it. Sriracha is sort of good on some things (hot dogs!) but it's so sweet it's really more like ketchup than hot sauce.

Bonus: Pico Pica is a magical Mexican hot sauce that makes bland food delicious. It's got a lot of spices though and is adding a lot of flavor, it's not a simple condiment just for adding heat.
posted by Nelson at 4:00 PM on April 11 [31 favorites]


Sriracha is good with cream cheese on hotdogs. Valentina that, punk.
posted by oceanjesse at 4:02 PM on April 11 [1 favorite]


For decades, I've primarily thought of sriracha as a phở additive, though it is awfully nice with scrapple and other delicious breakfast foods.
posted by sonascope at 4:05 PM on April 11 [3 favorites]


"I'm confused about why the Sriracha people seem to be unable to produce their product without creating this problem when you don't hear about similar complaints re: Tobasco or Cholula. I think the latter's made in Mexico, but Tobasco at least claims to manufacture in Louisiana. If other people can make products with chiles without causing problems, it would stand to reason that Huy Fong Foods has to have some kind of options that would be more neighborly."

The big difference is that Sriracha, unlike the others, uses only fresh peppers in their recipe. This means all the processing needs to be done right away at harvest, before spoilage occurs (as opposed to drying or pickling peppers and doing the rest in the off season).
posted by idiopath at 4:05 PM on April 11 [3 favorites]


I love Sriracha, but gochujang has replaced it in my favours. So deep and peppery and umami. Good on Everything!
posted by Jon Mitchell at 4:05 PM on April 11 [5 favorites]


Tabasco is almost always terrible with most food

Fighting words.
posted by brundlefly at 4:08 PM on April 11 [5 favorites]


Oh and my favourite left-field use for Sriracha is the PB & Sriracha sandwich. Seriously, give it a shot.
posted by 256 at 4:00 PM on April 11 [+] [!]


I am totally doing this, and if it is nasty, I'm taking it to MeTa.
posted by 4ster at 4:10 PM on April 11 [18 favorites]


you don't hear about similar complaints re: Tobasco or Cholula. I think the latter's made in Mexico, but Tobasco at least claims to manufacture in Louisiana.

As someone who grew up in Louisiana and now lives just a few miles from Irwindale, CA, I have some theories about this.

1. Irwindale is in the middle of the very densely suburban Los Angeles metro area. Avery Island, LA, where Tabasco is manufactured, is a remote rural part of a much less populous state.

2. Avery Island is basically a company town for Tabasco. For all I know, it's a terrible place to live and the air reeks of chiles at all times. But you'd never know it, since the Tabasco people basically own the place.

3. It's also probably worth noting that the family who own Tabasco are wealthy, white, and socially prominent in a part of the US where that kind of privilege goes a long way. The Sriracha company owner is just some guy, you know?

4. Tabasco Hot Sauce is a huge point of pride for Louisianians, especially folks from the area around Avery Island. There's a lot of social pressure not to complain about this sort of thing, with regard to this company in particular.

5. The local culture of SoCal versus rural Louisiana is very, very different. South Louisiana culture is very hierarchical, and ordinary people are pretty disempowered when it comes to big business interests and using politics to accomplish community goals. There is also a lot of economic inequality. Conversely, the LA self-narrative and the role of ordinary citizens within society is much better at facilitating people doing stuff like suing big companies and winning, creating city ordinances to make the kinds of communities locals want to live in, etc. There's also a much stronger middle class, which equates to a lot more people who have the time and resources to fight about this stuff.
posted by Sara C. at 4:11 PM on April 11 [9 favorites]


Well if you want cajun hot sauce at least have something better than Tabasco. Something that doesn't taste like the cheap white vinegar ma washed her floors with. Even Crystal is better than Tabasco. Wintzell's makes a good cajun hot sauce, too.
posted by Nelson at 4:11 PM on April 11 [3 favorites]


Sriracha with stirfry, Cholula with eggs and hash browns and burritos (perhaps burritos made with eggs and hash browns), Franks Red Hot or Texas Pete's for chicken. Tabasco can do in a pinch for any of them, but its natural home is blackened fish. (Also, the Bloody Mary.)
posted by thecaddy at 4:15 PM on April 11 [3 favorites]


Tabasco is almost always terrible with most food but if you really want a lot of vinegar, why, go for it.

FWIW, as a Cajun living in California, who agrees with the bulk of your comment, I'll add this.

Tabasco should be thought of as a way to add a pungent vinegar kick to a dish, not as a way to spice it up. It's great in creamy, fatty things like beans. It's also great on fatty, mild things like fried seafood.

You're right that it's not so great in the uses that Tapatio is (on a carne asada taco, for example). It's also not great in a lot of the things Sriracha combines well with, like hashbrowns or noodles.

But in fatty, creamy, umami Cajun dishes, it's phenomenal.
posted by Sara C. at 4:16 PM on April 11 [17 favorites]


This is all about Irwindale's revenge on the company. It's not quite as corrupt as Vernon or Bell, but it's close. LA Weekly quote

Huy Fong Foods CEO David D. Tran said this is all over a real estate deal with the city that turned sour.

He says Irwindale actually wooed Huy Fong Foods to town a few years ago and provided a nice piece of land. The deal was that Huy Fong would pay $250,000 a year in interest, sort of like rent, and then pay off the parcel with a balloon payment at the end of the 10-year deal.

However, Huy Fong got a bank loan and decided to purchase the property early, thus depriving the city of millions via those annual payments.

posted by Ideefixe at 4:16 PM on April 11 [3 favorites]


Oh and my favourite left-field use for Sriracha is the PB & Sriracha sandwich. Seriously, give it a shot.
posted by 256 at 4:00 PM on April 11 [+] [!]

I am totally doing this, and if it is nasty, I'm taking it to MeTa.
posted by 4ster at 4:10 PM on April 11 [+] [!]


Come to think of it, I can see how this would work. I once attempted to make Chinese cold noodle with sesame sauce, and ended up mixing Sriracha with peanut butter in the process, and it was better than I thought it would be.
posted by 4ster at 4:19 PM on April 11 [2 favorites]


Ehhhh. If I'm putting spicy thick savory sauce on something, it's gonna be Gochujang. I'm calling it right now, like I called cheesy K-Pop songs becoming a YouTube sensation, gochujang is gonna be the next big sauce fad.

My metric for fad saturation, by the way, is Subway, which likes to pick up 3-year-old food fads and badly outdated memes and market them, as seen with such bread-cylinder buzzwords as "chipotle", "sriracha", and soon.... the FOOTLONG GOCHUJANG TTEOKBOKKI & KIMCHI MELT. Only 500 calories. "HEYYYYYYYY, SEXY LAYYYY-DEH.. Subway Gangnam style!"

Okay, mildly nauseated now, bad idea
posted by jake at 4:21 PM on April 11 [16 favorites]


I was about to say the same, 4ster. Sriracha + Peanut Butter + Soy Sauce makes a good satay dipping sauce, too.
posted by Sara C. at 4:21 PM on April 11 [5 favorites]


Clearly, the solution is to have a cabinet full of 20+ hot sauces.
posted by scose at 4:21 PM on April 11 [27 favorites]


True. I've recently discovered green tabasco. Fantastic on all mexican food, but no way would I put it anywhere near a noodle of any kind.
posted by Big_B at 4:26 PM on April 11


Who doesn't? (Also upthread - w0mbat is completely right about the horribliness of TJ's Sriracha)
posted by drewbage1847 at 4:26 PM on April 11


As we enter grilling season, a tip: bratwurst + bahn mi fixin's + liberal application of Sriracha.
posted by jason_steakums at 4:27 PM on April 11 [1 favorite]


The big difference is that Sriracha, unlike the others, uses only fresh peppers in their recipe

ah, this makes sense. I cook with chillis and jalapenos frequently, and a couple of times I've let a few pepper scraps slip down into the garburator. When you fire that thing up, some sort of fumes or vapor from the peppers come up and hit you right in the back of the throat, and it's unpleasant to say the least. Still not as bad as when you hit a certain temperature on the stovetop with Grace Brand Hot Jerk Sauce, though. It's like tear gas.
posted by Hoopo at 4:30 PM on April 11


St. Peepsburg: "Sriracha + Mayo = heaven.
That's a bingo. This is why I eat so many sandwiches.
posted by Dr. Zira at 4:32 PM on April 11 [3 favorites]


Sriracha-mayo + pomme frites made at home covered with shreds of aged cheddar = joy.

One of the good accidents on my mission to come up with a poutine experience in a state far, far from actual poutine, where the only alternative is a gastropub duck-heavy foodie version (aka not-as-good-as-junkfood-poutine poutine).
posted by sonascope at 4:37 PM on April 11 [2 favorites]


Fried oysters with sriracha remoulade is my fave.

Cooks Illustrated did their test kitchen blind taste test thingy and found that Frank's Hot sauce beat Tobasco for out of hand use, but if you were cooking with them they tied.

Frank's + Butter is pretty much Buffalo Chicken Wing sauce.

I usually buy Crystal for the table.
posted by valkane at 4:49 PM on April 11 [4 favorites]


Because I am hipper-than-hip, I have known about sriracha since late 1993. I still remember the very day I first tried it - someone I was then dating used to make these stir fries which were basically perfectly good vegetables absolutely coated in sriracha. It is testimony to my increased ability to eat hot things that this sounds good to me now, even though it was fiery inedible misery at the time. Since then I think I've always had a bottle around just to add a little depth to things - a little bit is good in polenta, for instance, or in this garlic-lemon pasta sauce I make. It is also good on popcorn.
posted by Frowner at 4:50 PM on April 11


For real though, the best hot sauce is actually the adobo sauce from a can of chipotle peppers. I end up using all the sauce on stuff every time I buy a can and having all these leftover peppers that I need to use up quick.
posted by jason_steakums at 4:56 PM on April 11 [1 favorite]


ok, now that I've dropped the "h" word on sriracha, I will admit that its viscosity comes in handy. whereas the watery consistency of most pepper sauces makes for a burrito condiment that mostly leaks out, sriracha is inexplicably awesome in a burrito with bacon and scrambled eggs.
posted by indubitable at 4:57 PM on April 11 [1 favorite]


What is the deal with the extreme popularity of vinegar-based hot sauces? Vinegar is awesome, and super hot stuff is awesome, but together they screw up each other's flavor profiles. Really, it seems clear that vinegar is just a good preservative if you want to make a hot sauce that can sit on a counter forever without going bad. Chiles should be roasted fresh with all their wonderful nuances intact.

But I guess it's just not my taste. It's interesting - I think I have some bitterness since here in Boston where I live now an alarming number of "Mexican" restaurants seem to think that "hot sauce" is a component of salsa. This has prevented me from liking hot wings, though. As someone who loves super-hot Thai food and New Mexican food and Mexican food and Indian food and a few other things, vinegar-based hot sauces just seem like a completely different kind of hot from those various hot cuisines.
posted by koeselitz at 4:59 PM on April 11 [2 favorites]


The whole point of hot sauce is that it combines vinegar and salt. The heat/peppers were initially secondary.

Fresh chili sauces are a whole different thing, developed for a different purpose.

But you wouldn't understand, being a Yankee.
posted by Sara C. at 5:01 PM on April 11 [6 favorites]


Apparently not.
posted by koeselitz at 5:03 PM on April 11


I like the chipotle tabasco. It's got a bit of heat, but the main attraction is the lovely flavor, which goes well with red meat.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:04 PM on April 11 [3 favorites]


True. I've recently discovered green tabasco.

It's great on hard boiled eggs.

My pepper sauce of record in recent years has been Crystal. Inexpensive and no-nonsense, for basic uses like scrambled eggs, or meat sandwiches with mayo.

Sriracha is mainly magical for kicking tired stir-fry dishes up a notch, which makes it essential, but as much as I like hot foods I wouldn't use it on non-Asian foods.
posted by aught at 5:05 PM on April 11


In my experience, basically every single one of the alternate flavours Tabasco has started putting out in the last ten years or so has been a home run.
posted by 256 at 5:06 PM on April 11


sriracha and mac and cheese.
posted by ennui.bz at 5:10 PM on April 11 [7 favorites]


favorite use of sriracha is avocado, bacon, sriracha, mayo, alfalfa sprouts on a good sesame bagel.

Everyattempt at homemade, or replacement sriracha I've ever tasted has not really come close to the huy fong variety. Not that they've all been bad. Just not the same.

As to it's "sudden" popularity, I think it's easy to underestimate just how vast and homogenized the majority of this country is. The average American will never, ever, ever set foot in an actual vietnamese restaurant or grocery store. I grew up in neighborhood full of south east asian immigrants in the 80's and foods like pho, banh mi were just ubiquitous cheap neighborhood food. Sriracha, hoisin sauce, and chili oil on the table was just taken for granted. It's sometimes weird when people fetishize totally normal things that seem exotic, but I guess if you grew up on American supermarket food, these "new" thing can be exciting.

I think Subway carrying sriracha is an awesome reminder of the assimilation of so many cultural influences to the American experience.
posted by billyfleetwood at 5:28 PM on April 11 [6 favorites]


City shenanigans or not, Huy Fong should really just bite the bullet and install a regenerative thermal oxidizer (RTO). It's efficient technology, and nuisance odor is really a thing. Even large commercial bakeries use RTO's, not because the aroma of baking bread is unpleasant, but because baking releases all the ethanol produced by the yeast into the atmosphere, where it reacts with UV light to help produce ground-level ozone and smog.

It's not clear to me why they haven't already done it-- here's a section of the motion for injunction filed by the City of Irwindale back in October:
...The City Manager instructed the City's Community Development Director, Gustavo Romo, to contact Defendant and ask them to address the complaints received from the resident regarding the odors emanating from the Facility.... On or about September 25, 2013, Mr. Romo enlisted the assistance of Soil, Water, Air Protection Enterprise ("SWAPE"), a company with local experience with odor mitigation in surrounding jurisdictions. SWAPE was invited to attend the October 1, 2013 scheduled meeting with Defendant and City staff to provide an expert assessment of the odor problem.... The City Manager, City Engineer, and Mr. Romo had its first meeting on the odor problem with Defendant's representatives David Tran, Donna Lam, and Adam Holliday, as well as Resident Ortiz and representatives of SWAPE on October 1, 2013. After a tour of the Facility, SWAPE's consultant indicated that the current pleated carbon filtration system was completely inadequate and offered little to no protection in guarding against odors and irritating oils that are produced and escape through the chili making process. The SWAPE consultant further indicated that odors and oils from the Facility during the day simply go up into the atmosphere to a height of about 250 feet when the sun is out. However, from dusk to dawn hours, when the air temperature drops, the same odors and oils from the day only go up in the air about 25 to 30 feet and are subject to the local breeze and winds. The SWAPE consultant pointed out that this is the primary reason our community will experience the worst of the odors and associated problems during the evening and early morning hours. At the end of the October 1, 2013 meeting, SWAPE identified the following two solutions to addressing and correcting the odor problem: (1) purchase and install a Regenerative Thermal Oxidizer or (2) purchase and install a larger external carbon filtration system.
posted by Dixon Ticonderoga at 5:33 PM on April 11 [9 favorites]


It has been a while since I've been in Irwindale but the ginormous Miller brewery made the whole place stink like stale beer. I guess they've fixed that?
posted by birdherder at 5:39 PM on April 11 [1 favorite]


Nope, still stinking up the joint.

Dixon - part of what makes the city response so hard nosed and out of proportion is that Huy Fong is working the AQMD out that way. They apparently will have a plan in place within a week now and even said as much. At the same time the city expert SWAPE came in, the AQMD did tests and found nothing appreciable. Also note that "Resident Ortiz" is the City Councilman's son.

Regardless, they'll be fixing it and the city will probably still find some other angle to try and wheedle money.
posted by drewbage1847 at 5:49 PM on April 11 [1 favorite]


I think Subway carrying sriracha is an awesome reminder of the assimilation of so many cultural influences to the American experience.

Sriracha is a completely American invention, is it not? It doesn't come from anywhere else...
posted by KokuRyu at 5:49 PM on April 11 [2 favorites]


Sara C. Sez:
Irwindale is in the middle of the very densely suburban Los Angeles metro area. Avery Island, LA, where Tabasco is manufactured, is a remote rural part of a much less populous state.

Here's the location of Huy Fong Foods. Irwindale is bounded on the west by Azusa Canyon Road and on the east by Vincent avenue, barely a mile across at that point.

Inhabited Irwindale is tiny. Most of the town's area is dominated by the barren, rocky Santa Fe Flood Control Basin, and its best known landmark is the Miller Brewery, which admittedly probably smells a lot better than the Sri Racha plant. It's not exactly right in the middle of suburbia.

Nevertheless, the Sri Racha plant is very close to other communities. Are there complaints coming from Covina? Sure, prevailing winds blow from the West, but those Easterly Santa Anas kick in about the same time as the pepper processing time in the fall. A more densely inhabited Baldwin Park is literally across the street from Huy Fong. How many complaints have come from those residents?
posted by scelerat at 6:03 PM on April 11 [1 favorite]


Tapatio is a Mexican hot sauce. It consists of water, moderately hot peppers, and a little salt.

Thanks, Nelson. I had given up on finding a hot sauce that wasn't loaded with vinegar. Personally, I don't consider vinegar to be food. It's a cleaning compound. Now if I can just find some Tapatio here in the koeselitz zone ...
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:03 PM on April 11


How different is American Sriracha to the Thai “Flying Goose Brand” Sriracha that they sell in Europe? The latter comes in a similarly-shaped bottle, also with a green nozzle. Are they more or less the same thing?
posted by acb at 6:10 PM on April 11


Tapatio is a Mexican hot sauce

Just for the sake of pedantry, it's worth pointing out that Tapatio was born in Maywood, just south of East LA, ten miles from the Rosemead HQ of Huy Fong.

Both of these sauces are totally Californian.
posted by scelerat at 6:11 PM on April 11 [6 favorites]


I have four different kinds of sriracha in my fridge. At the risk of sounding like a douche, the real stuff from Thailand (Like shark brand) is so so much better. It's more flavorful, milder, and tangy.
posted by Betty_effn_White at 6:12 PM on April 11 [3 favorites]


I have tried sriracha, and I prefer Frank's RedHot, so count me in with the vinegar crowd.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 6:20 PM on April 11


Team Cholula 4 LIFE.
posted by tonycpsu at 6:27 PM on April 11 [4 favorites]


Sriracha is an Asian hot sauce. It consists of moderately hot peppers, sugar, salt, garlic, and a little vinegar.


The Huy Fong version also contains Sodium Bisulfite, which means that I can't have any red cock sauce ever again. I'm sure that their product would be just as good if they left that out.
posted by spinifex23 at 6:34 PM on April 11 [1 favorite]


Sriracha is an aggressive, abusive sauce. Whatever you put it on it's always ultimately something with Sriracha slathered all over it. I prefer a more subtle, nuanced salsa picante, one that makes everything taste better and almost disappears in the process...
posted by jim in austin at 6:37 PM on April 11 [1 favorite]


Oh and my favourite left-field use for Sriracha is the PB & Sriracha sandwich.

In that vein, also delicious is the peanut butter & Indian lime pickle sandwich.
posted by asterix at 6:45 PM on April 11 [1 favorite]


Here's the location of Huy Fong Foods. Irwindale is bounded on the west by Azusa Canyon Road and on the east by Vincent avenue, barely a mile across at that point.

I actually live in East LA, just west of that neck of the woods on the 10 freeway. I'm not super familiar with Irwindale specifically, but unless it gets extremely rural when you get out past Alhambra (where I do most of my big chain store shopping, go to the movies, etc), it's still a zillion times more urban and settled than Avery Island, which is 10 miles from the nearest town (New Iberia, with a population of 7500).

Avery Island is in the absolute middle of godforsaken nowhere, in a way that really isn't anything like the landscape of Southern California. It's not an incorporated area at all (so not even a town at all in the sense that Irwindale is), and Wikipedia doesn't list a population (so likely less than Irwindale's 1400 inhabitants).

They are really, really vastly different places to have a facility like this.
posted by Sara C. at 6:47 PM on April 11 [1 favorite]


El Yucateca, particularly this one, is my current love, though Sriracha always has a place in my heart.
posted by SomaSoda at 6:48 PM on April 11 [3 favorites]


Just dug a little deeper: Avery Island, LA, has a population of 163.
posted by Sara C. at 6:48 PM on April 11 [1 favorite]


I had given up on finding a hot sauce that wasn't loaded with vinegar. Personally, I don't consider vinegar to be food. It's a cleaning compound. Now if I can just find some Tapatio here in the koeselitz zone ...

You're out of luck, then. Tapatio totally has vinegar in it. It's not as high up in the list of ingredients as Tabasco's formula, but it's definitely in there, and has that signature vinegar-based hot sauce flavor.

(To Nelson's credit, for some reason the ingredients list it as acetic acid rather than vinegar. But it's vinegar all the same.)
posted by Sara C. at 6:51 PM on April 11 [2 favorites]


> Wow, 100 grams of sambal oelek contains about 48 fucking percent of one's recommended maximum daily sodium intake.

100 grams is an ice cream scoop's worth of hot sauce. Who fucking eats that much in a sitting unless they lost a bet?

Huy Fong's recommended serving size is 5 grams, which has 110 mg of sodium.
posted by ardgedee at 6:56 PM on April 11 [2 favorites]


*currently eating something dosed with Sriracha*

I was mildly scoffish when I heard previous reports about the problem with the fumes until I cooked with Sriracha about two weeks ago. Apparently, one should apply it about 10 minutes before the cooking process is done, not at the beginning. I was chased out of my home and had to leave windows open until about a half hour after cooking completed.
posted by _paegan_ at 7:06 PM on April 11


You're out of luck, then. Tapatio totally has vinegar in it. It's not as high up in the list of ingredients as Tabasco's formula, but it's definitely in there, and has that signature vinegar-based hot sauce flavor.

It's enough lower that it actually tastes good though, rather than tasting like somewhat spicy cheap vinegar.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:19 PM on April 11


It's funny to me how much love sriracha gets. It's like spicy ketchup, or pepper, or something. The shit is okay, but it's ubiquitous. Whenever people get all crazy about how great sriracha is, I don't doubt that they like the taste of it, but I get the feeling that there's also this idea that there's something daring or exotic about it. There's not.
posted by MoonOrb at 7:21 PM on April 11 [2 favorites]


Tapatio totally has vinegar in it.

Yeah, but it's not a vinegar sauce, it's not "a way to add a pungent vinegar kick to a dish". Like you said those sauces are great in rich and fatty things I'd want nothing more on my red beans and rice. But for the everyday California/American food I eat, I prefer something with a lot less vinegar. Tapatio is a Mexican hot sauce (or as scelerat notes, a Mexican-style sauce, as it is made in California). The primary flavor is chile. There's a lot of other Mexican-style sauces that are mostly chile with a little vinegar. Cholula is fine. I like Melinda's too.

Honestly my real love is for the more highly spiced Mexican-style sauces. Like Pico Pica I mentioned before. The Pepper Plant hot sauces are good too. They're great on a dish of eggs and cheese when they're just a little bland and you're just a little hung over.

I was curious about the provenance of Frank's RedHot sauce and apparently its roots are in Louisiana, which explains the cajun vinegar profile. I wonder what some guy in Cincinnati was doing making Louisiana hot sauce? Frank ran a spice company, but I'm surprised there were people in Ohio clamoring for cajun flavors. I wonder if it's connected to the Reconstruction-era diaspora.

Don't make me start in on Jamaican hot sauces. Another thing again.
posted by Nelson at 7:30 PM on April 11 [2 favorites]


Keep in mind that the vast majority of Americans have never tasted a spicy thing before. The secret to sriracha is that it's much sweeter and a lot less spicy than traditional hot sauce. The people who think there's something "daring" about it are the same people who won't eat Mexican, Indian, or Thai food because they're afraid it might be spicy.
posted by Sara C. at 7:32 PM on April 11 [2 favorites]


How different is American Sriracha to the Thai “Flying Goose Brand” Sriracha that they sell in Europe?

I don't know about Flying Goose specifically, but Thai sriracha brands tend to be sweeter and milder than American in my experience. It's the same basic ingredient list, but in different proportions, and probably with a different variety of peppers. The Thai stuff (I also recommend Shark) is really good on a khai jiao, a Thai flash-fried omelette, but I'd stick with Huy Fong for pho if only because that's what I'm used to.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 7:33 PM on April 11


Most people I know don't think sriracha is "daring", however, they just think it's delicious. About which we are all agreed.
posted by Sara C. at 7:33 PM on April 11 [1 favorite]


Oh and my favourite left-field use for Sriracha is the PB & Sriracha sandwich. Seriously, give it a shot.
posted by 256 at 4:00 PM on April 11 [+] [!]


Not so left field. Those two flavours already blend well in Pad Thai.
posted by Popular Ethics at 7:42 PM on April 11


Yeah I don't know anyone who thinks it's daring or exotic.
posted by sweetkid at 7:43 PM on April 11


Sriracha is America's curry ketchup.
posted by kyleg at 7:45 PM on April 11 [5 favorites]


Each hot sauce has its place:

Tabasco in Caesars
Sriracha in Pho and sushi rolls
Frank's Red Hot on KD and wings
Bufalo Chipotle in Fajitas and Burritos
Peri-peri sauce on chicken
Tiger Sauce in a bunch of oddball places — some asian dishes, oysters
posted by stp123 at 7:48 PM on April 11 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I get that. But I'm just surprised somehow by the passion it seemingly inspires that you don't see for other common, yet also delicious things.
posted by MoonOrb at 8:03 PM on April 11


I live about 300 yards from Stumptown Coffee's LA roasting facility. It smells much worse than Irwindale ever has.
posted by Ideefixe at 8:05 PM on April 11 [1 favorite]


MoonOrb, the passion it inspires is that it's much sweeter than it is hot. Which means it goes better on a lot of things than a straight chili sauce or a vinegar-based sauce would. Also, because of the slightly more complex flavor (sweet+spicy+garlic), you can put it on something sort of bland and starchy and it adds a new dimension rather than just tasting like a bomb went off in your mouth. Sriracha stands on its own a lot better than other hot sauces, which is why people who don't spice their food heavily enjoy it so much.
posted by Sara C. at 8:16 PM on April 11 [3 favorites]


Casting my vote for the Nom Nom Paleo sriracha recipe. Best sriracha ever.

(As for vinegar-based pepper sauce, I order Trappey's Red Devil by the case.)
posted by bakerina at 8:26 PM on April 11


Hmm, that to me explains only why people think it's delicious. But, fair enough. I think it's delicious too. I can accept that sriracha inspires a passion in other people that it doesn't inspire in me.
posted by MoonOrb at 8:28 PM on April 11


It's funny to me how much love sriracha gets. It's like spicy ketchup, or pepper, or something. The shit is okay, but it's ubiquitous. Whenever people get all crazy about how great sriracha is, I don't doubt that they like the taste of it, but I get the feeling that there's also this idea that there's something daring or exotic about it. There's not.

Nope. It's just damn delicious.
posted by ageispolis at 8:44 PM on April 11


IMO the thing about Sriracha is that it's ketchup done right. Now, ketchup is a pretty disgusting condiment, but it kinda works with a few things. Fries. Grilled cheese sandwiches. Mac and cheese. And so where ketchup would be used, Sriracha is an improvement. Everywhere else, other spicey condiments are better.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:47 PM on April 11


And it comes in a bottle graced by a large cock. If it were just some generic corporate logo I doubt it would enjoy the same notoriety.
posted by emeiji at 8:50 PM on April 11 [1 favorite]


I live about 300 yards from Stumptown Coffee's LA roasting facility. It smells much worse than Irwindale ever has.

There's a big difference between "overpowering burnt bean smell" and "airborn capsaicin" which is what the city is basing their nuisance claim on. The sauce itself is not very potent but the peppers are apparently processed all at once during harvest season and then stored in vats. This facility is new and much larger than their previous facility which is why it doesn't seem completely unwarranted that there may be some problem with their containment system. Of course this truth could co-exist with a corrupt small-town council desperate for jobs and money.
posted by muddgirl at 8:54 PM on April 11 [1 favorite]


Came for the sriracha serving suggestions (we ended up with two bottles somehow) and was not disappointed.

I'm surprised there were people in Ohio clamoring for cajun flavors.

I found that the Katrina diaspora brought Zatarain's to the suburban-ass end of New Jersey, so I'm not entirely surprised folks in Ohio started wanting it.
posted by immlass at 9:01 PM on April 11


Looking at the location of the plant on the map, it seems like the vast majority of the people who could conceivably be bothered by the plant's fumes don't live in Irwindale at all. Within Irwindale, the Huy Fong plant's neighbors are either other industry or a giant pit. The only people who actually live across the street from the plant live in Baldwin Park. Google can't find anything about anyone from that municipality complaining. It's also curious that the lawsuit isn't a class action from residents living around the plant, it's the municipality itself. I vote shakedown.

Also, since someone else already broke the seal and made this a recipe thread, I feel entitled to give you all the recipe for the perfect hot sauce that mek and I discovered:

Ingredients:
10lb of the freshest, ripest and tastiest orange habeneros you can find
2lb bag of carrots
2lb onions
32oz Braggs apple cider vinegar
2tbsp salt
10lb lump charcoal
2lb soaked wood chips (I think we used applewood)

Put the peppers into a wire basket or some other containment vessel and cook in a smoker-type barbecue (we used a Weber bullet). Cook for several hours at a low temperature, adding the wood chips for flavor. The peppers are done when they are very soft and the skin is wrinkled and dark brown.

Add the peppers to a big pot with the carrots and onions, finely chopped. Add enough water to just cover everything, and cook until the carrots and onions are nice and soft. Remove from heat and puree. Return to heat and simmer until it's nicely reduced into a thick sauce. Cover and allow the mix to cool to around room temperature.

Once cooled, add the vinegar, mix it all up, and put into an appropriately sized glass fermentation vessel with a dry fermentation lock (you want oxygen, but not dust and whatever is floating in the air). Put it somewhere with a constant temperature and little to no light, ideally a basement.

Now, this is the key part, just forget completely about the damn thing for a whole year, until you are standing around in the kitchen, talking about what to make for dinner, and remember that there's been hot sauce fermenting in the basement for 10 months.

If it's like how ours turned out, the top should be covered in a 1½" thick mother of vinegar forming a complete seal across the top of the bottle. It should have the consistency of a hockey puck. Remove this with a crude hook fashioned out of a wire coat hanger and put the the sauce underneath into suitable containers. Can some of it in mason jars if you want, but I don't think it's necessary. This stuff will keep pretty much indefinitely.

posted by [expletive deleted] at 9:03 PM on April 11 [7 favorites]


Keep in mind that the vast majority of Americans have never tasted a spicy thing before.

Americans eat more salsa than ketchup and have done for at least 20 years. So given the vast amounts of ketchup we eat, that could only be true if the small minority of Americans who have tasted a spicy thing basically spent their whole lives eating salsa by the handful right out of the 55-gallon drum.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:11 PM on April 11 [9 favorites]


basically spent their whole lives eating salsa by the handful right out of the 55-gallon drum

Hey, don't judge me.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 9:13 PM on April 11 [13 favorites]


100 grams is an ice cream scoop's worth of hot sauce. Who fucking eats that much in a sitting unless they lost a bet?

Well, it's not out of the realm of possibility that you're going to eat 10 grams of sriracha, which is going to be about 5% of your daily recommended salt intake. That's a lot of salt, and you are probably eating it with (at least I know I did) other salty things, like a hot dog bun.

When I was diagnosed with high blood pressure a couple of months ago (200/120) I had to stop eating any and all salt, and it's pretty noticeable just how much salt we eat.

The sausage you put your sriracha on is full salt, as is the hot dog bun for your sausage. And the potato chips you eat as a side.

Depending on portion size (and North Americans do like their big portions) you could eat 50% of your daily recommended salt intake in one sitting. Those 5 percents add up, and you don't have to lose a bet.

However, this is old man talk!
posted by KokuRyu at 9:14 PM on April 11


Tapatio is a Mexican hot sauce
Just for the sake of pedantry, it's worth pointing out that Tapatio was born in Maywood, just south of East LA


I'm not sure these statements are at odds with one another.
posted by weston at 9:18 PM on April 11 [2 favorites]


Keep in mind that the vast majority of Americans have never tasted a spicy thing before.

So that's why I keep driving past all these closed and boarded-up Taco Bells, Chipotles and Moes Southwest Grills.
posted by valkane at 9:19 PM on April 11 [2 favorites]


[pickapeppa]
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 9:28 PM on April 11 [2 favorites]




Mass-produced American salsa, Taco Bell, and Chipotle aren't particularly spicy, is the thing.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 9:56 PM on April 11 [5 favorites]


The fact that they are considered spicy is evidence that a lot of Americans don't know spicy.
posted by brundlefly at 10:10 PM on April 11 [6 favorites]


Americans eat more salsa than ketchup and have done for at least 20 years.

Salsa isn't spicy.

So that's why I keep driving past all these closed and boarded-up Taco Bells, Chipotles and Moes Southwest Grills.

Not spicy, not spicy, and not familiar with that chain, but it's called Moe's so I'm voting "not spicy".

Mexican food isn't spicy by default. In fact the notion that existence of watered-down Mexican chains means that Americans like spicy food proves my point. Mexican hot sauces aren't even particularly spicy, as hot sauces go.

(That said, you know what's spicy? Tapatio Doritos, that's what's spicy.)
posted by Sara C. at 11:18 PM on April 11 [1 favorite]


Sriracha is great. It does a great job of recreating on the other side of the world a staple condiment of Viet Nam. As much as the story of the owner is compelling, he's still the guy doing at massive scale what every alley cook or bodega owner does, on a tiny scale, offering a chlili sauce for the table. It's like salt for the table. It's no small part of the joy of eating at a new place: to assay their house sauces: garlic-and-chilli-infused vinegar, or "red sauce" (which is where Sriracha comes in).
posted by grubby at 11:23 PM on April 11 [1 favorite]


sriracha and mac and cheese.

There is a food truck that is occasionally near my house that sells, amongst other things, deep-fried mac and cheese stuffed wontons served with sriracha mayo on top. I have had to intentionally lose their schedule or I would eat nothing else for the rest of my life.
posted by KathrynT at 11:43 PM on April 11 [7 favorites]


spent their whole lives eating salsa by the handful right out of the 55-gallon drum.

My wife & I alone, up here in white-ass interior BC, go through a dozen or so quart sealers of salsa every year. Versus a couple liters siracha. Or a bottle of ketchup every few years. Easily an order of magnitude difference in consumption rates.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:51 PM on April 11 [1 favorite]


The average American will never, ever, ever set foot in an actual vietnamese restaurant or grocery store.

This USian has been shopping Asian markets for decades and it's been most amusing to see Sriracha "discovered" and "popularized" a quarter century after it became a staple in my fridge.

If you like "thousand island" dressing for salads, try making it with Sriracha instead of ketchup. Excellent on seafood type salads.
posted by telstar at 11:51 PM on April 11 [3 favorites]


I had an avocado, kimchi, and french fry burrito today and the food truck used some amazingly spicy hot sauce to knit it all together (note for the spice snobs: I mean legitimately, ow holy shit Thai street food in Bangkok spicy). Since it's Korean-Mexican fusion food, the sauce could have come out of either tradition but damn it was good.

Salsa shouldn't have sugar in it, at least in my culinary tradition. I can see people looking at salsa and saying 'that's not spicy' but there are definitely variations which are. Admittedly, that's not what most of the US outside of the Southwest is consuming.

Sriracha is fine, but I so rarely have anything to put it on. Tapatio>Cholula>Valentina>Frank's>Sriracha>Tabasco but that's because what I'm eating tastes better with low vinegar/low sugar hot sauces.

Finally, there's this terrifically fun little hot sauce store in Friday Harbor (San Juan Islands) that you should stop in if you're ever up there.
posted by librarylis at 12:03 AM on April 12 [2 favorites]


Clearly, the solution is to have a cabinet full of 20+ hot sauces

this pretty much describes my fridge. actually, I just counted, and there's only 13 different hot sauces. does horseradish count? then it would be 15
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:07 AM on April 12


"[pickapeppa]"

Represent! Pickapeppa sauce changes a can of tuna from "eating the cat's food"
to an actual treat.
posted by Chitownfats at 1:23 AM on April 12 [3 favorites]


When my bottle of Huy Fong Sriracha runs out, is there some competitor in the garlic, sweet, chili sauce niche that I should try?
posted by Area Man at 1:28 AM on April 12


I always thought it was the cock on the bottle that made it popular, not that it was a "hot" sauce. I recall giggling at it while hungover and eating pot dumplings somewhere in southern France in the 90s. It was hilarious that day, for some reason. And it cured hangovers.

* not sure this was the Huy Fong Sriracha, but I do remember that cock.
posted by dabitch at 1:41 AM on April 12


People look at me funny when I call it "Cock Sauce".
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:33 AM on April 12


I saw someone suggest a simple dish of orecchiette and broccoli could be improved by this condiment, so maybe for once the drooling hordes of Irwindale are right: the rooster has gone too far.
posted by oxford blue at 4:44 AM on April 12


You're out of luck, then. Tapatio totally has vinegar in it.

I'm still going to look for it. If things don't work out between us, I'll have to stick with the hot sesame oil, but it's not ideal.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:59 AM on April 12


When I took this photo at the Asian store in downtown Helsinki for you guys, I didn't realize you'd make me a thread to go along with it.
posted by infini at 5:17 AM on April 12 [1 favorite]



100 grams is an ice cream scoop's worth of hot sauce. Who fucking eats that much in a sitting unless they lost a bet?


I do. Often. With gusto.
posted by chavenet at 7:07 AM on April 12


Salsa isn't spicy.

Color isn't red.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:55 AM on April 12 [9 favorites]


Salsa isn't spicy.

That's a non-sensical thing to say, unless you are using "salsa" in a very restrictive sense. "Salsa" broadly encompasses a very wide range of items, from totally not-spicy to blow-your-mouth-off. I've been served salsas that were way too hot for me to eat and I have a decent tolerance for spiciness.

Mexican hot sauces aren't even particularly spicy, as hot sauces go.

If you mean sauces like Tapatio and Cholula, I completely agree. The commercial stuff isn't very hot at all, especially compared to the more recent "so hot your diarrhea will burn for weeks" hot sauces made with ghost peppers and industrial capsicum. Homemade sauces (and sometimes the sauces at taquerias, especially the opaque salsa verde) can be an entirely different experience.

Back to Sriracha, I mostly use it in marinades and on sandwiches, where the sweet/garlic/mlld chili flavors work nicely. Someone above suggested using it with peanut butter for a satay sauce, and that sounds heavenly to me.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:32 AM on April 12


Peanut Butter - Sriracha Toast. "Spread peanut butter on a slice of toast. Top with sliced scallion, fresh cilantro leaves, and Sriracha. Finish with lime juice and flaky sea salt." If you want to fancy-up a PB&S sandwich.
posted by Nelson at 9:42 AM on April 12 [3 favorites]


Mexican hot sauces aren't even particularly spicy, as hot sauces go.

If you mean sauces like Tapatio and Cholula, I completely agree.


No no all of the food of Mexico can be experienced at a Tex-Mex place off the 405 so expertise is pretty easy to come by.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:48 AM on April 12 [4 favorites]


And of course nothing goes better on pasteles than Puerto Rican pique.
posted by mubba at 10:23 AM on April 12


MetaFilter: but I do remember that cock
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:24 AM on April 12 [2 favorites]


Yes, I was referring to the commonly available hot sauces made in the Mexican style, and not my abuela's personal recipe.

There's nothing wrong with a given cuisine not being particularly spicy. Mexican -- and especially the Mexican food most Americans are familiar with -- is not particularly spicy by its very nature.
posted by Sara C. at 10:25 AM on April 12


There's nothing wrong with a given cuisine not being particularly spicy.

Most of the Mexican food I had in Austin (a mixture of Mexican and Tex-Mex), when done well had a lot of layers of flavors and textures and the like (you know, what you expect from cuisine). While some of it could be pretty spicy, "heat" is just one flavor element, and it's hard to get any kind of layering when all that's going on is the heat.
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:36 AM on April 12 [2 favorites]


There's nothing wrong with a given cuisine not being particularly spicy. Mexican -- and especially the Mexican food most Americans are familiar with -- is not particularly spicy by its very nature.

What Mexican style is "the" style? Oaxaca? Sonora? Jalisco? There is no way a pronouncement this broad can have any meaningful truth content.
posted by invitapriore at 12:42 PM on April 12 [1 favorite]


"the Mexican food most Americans are familiar with"

It says it right there in my post!
posted by Sara C. at 12:45 PM on April 12


You said "especially," but not exclusively, so it reads like you're also talking about Mexican food in general. Still, I'm not sure what argument could be made for the fact that Mexican-American food isn't inherently spicy that couldn't apply to just about any cuisine.
posted by invitapriore at 12:50 PM on April 12


The important thing here is who is right, obviously.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:23 PM on April 12 [4 favorites]


Tabasco is almost always terrible with most food but if you really want a lot of vinegar, why, go for it.

You've made an enemy that'll despise you to to the end of your days.

...oh wait, you said most foods. I guess I can get on board with that... but gumbo without Tabasco is like breakfast without biscuits, Tom without Jerry, or Andy without Aunt Bee.
posted by RolandOfEld at 6:22 PM on April 12 [2 favorites]


I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who thinks Sriracha is overrated. And it's not even the sweetest. Grace Scotch Bonnet hot sauce is amazing and actually quite sweet. And then, well, the scotch bonnets kick in and the ride gets interesting.

I think it's that Sriracha always feels overpowering. It does not supplement the flavor of a dish, it overwhelms it. When the dish is crap, like the pork fried rice I get from the cheap-ass Chinese delivery place, Srirach is welcome. When it's something I actually made, it kills it. I'd rather go with Grace or Cholula.

I have a friend who is a big pikkapeppa booster. I'll have to try it out. (How I did hot sauce before I was able to hit up a grocery store without a Jamaican section I am not sure.)
posted by Hactar at 7:05 PM on April 12


171 comments and not one mention of Lao Gan Ma?
posted by bradf at 7:05 PM on April 12 [1 favorite]


Thanks to this thread, I bought some Sriracha today and gave it a try. IT FELT LIKE MY SOUL WAS ON FIRE!

So thanks, Metafilter. Evony, Taco Bell, the fiction of Lord Dunsany, Hell Comes To Frogtown, Blind Guardian and now soul destroying hot sauce. This place is great for expanding your horizons.
posted by Kevin Street at 11:55 PM on April 12 [2 favorites]


This thread is startlingly similar to the Android/iOS thread.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:37 AM on April 13 [4 favorites]


Sara C.: “There's nothing wrong with a given cuisine not being particularly spicy. Mexican -- and especially the Mexican food most Americans are familiar with -- is not particularly spicy by its very nature.”

invitapriore: “What Mexican style is ‘the’ style? Oaxaca? Sonora? Jalisco? There is no way a pronouncement this broad can have any meaningful truth content.”

Broad pronouncements can have meaningful truth content, particularly if they're about a class and its inherent qualities.

Sara C. said that "Mexican food" – that is, food from Mexico, which forms a class even if it is a very diverse class – "is not particularly spicy by its very nature." This is clearly correct. There are many kinds of food from the country of Mexico which are not muy picante. Picantismo is clearly not a necessary quality of Mexican food. A mole from Oaxaca may be mas picante than a mole from Puebla; neither is more or less Mexican for that fact.

Or did you really want to disagree, and claim that "Mexican food" is uniformly and thoroughly spicy in all cases no matter what?
posted by koeselitz at 9:39 AM on April 13


"Mexican food" – that is, food from Mexico, which forms a class even if it is a very diverse class

Just FYI, I tend to think of the term "Mexican food" as referring to the Americanized versions (mostly Tex-Mex, some Cal-Mex, etc.) because that was how it was used when I was young. Actual Mexican cuisine (Mex-Mex?) generally gets provincial or regional qualifiers.
posted by immlass at 9:48 AM on April 13 [2 favorites]


I'm aware of that, but Sara C. said "Mexican -- and especially the Mexican food most Americans are familiar with" – implying that she was talking "American Mexican food" but also the food of the nation.
posted by koeselitz at 10:42 AM on April 13


It's prolly a good faith assumption that, if you're in the US, "Mexican Food" is shorthand for tacos, burritos, tostadas, the mildest of chiles con carnes o carnitas, frijoles, arroz, y mucho mas queso.

...maybe a relleno if you're feeling edgy. This is the "Mexican" food of non-Hispanic Americans by and large. And no I don't I have data to back that up but I think the ubiquity of Taco Bell, Chipotle, and a thing called "Mexican Pizza" proves it pretty damn well.

That being said, come to SLC Utah and will happily take you The Red Iguana, an authentic Oaxacan joint where can indulge in some amazing (and a few occasionally nerve-scorching) moles.

Oh yeah and sriracha is just fine too.
posted by Doleful Creature at 10:47 AM on April 13


koeselitz: "Or did you really want to disagree, and claim that "Mexican food" is uniformly and thoroughly spicy in all cases no matter what?"

Nah, I'm admittedly just sort of sensitive to what I perceive as the inadvertent conflation of "Mexico" with the wide variety of ethnic and regional groups that fall under the umbrella of that particular state, and to me that original statement read as "Mexican food is inherently un-spicy," which is just as false as the opposite statement that all of it is spicy, rather than "Mexican food(s) are not all necessarily spicy," which I agree is true and may very well have been what Sara C. meant in her original comment, in which case I apologize for the misread. I think I've contributed to this whole thing getting kinda tedious, so I'm going to bow out now.
posted by invitapriore at 3:26 PM on April 13


This reminds me of a friend who keeps talking about this mexican restaurant he went to in Canada that seemingly learned all the recipes by looking at images of Mexican food and guessing what's in it. He can tell the story for ten minutes, and his voice nearly breaks when he says; "then they came out with the tortillas and salsa... it was potato chips and shrimp cocktail sauce..."
posted by dabitch at 2:08 AM on April 14 [5 favorites]


what I perceive as the inadvertent conflation of "Mexico" with the wide variety of ethnic and regional groups that fall under the umbrella of that particular state

I hear that, though I think it's silly in a thread devoted to a food like Sriracha, which is an American take on a more specific international condiment, drastically removed from its original use and context.

It's pretty unlikely that anybody talking about food in this particular thread is going to be talking about a little hole in the wall joint they found down in Jalisco. We're mostly coming at this from an American context, and that's OK. There's also a whole world of Mexican-American food out there that is fantastic, despite the fact that it's kind of its own thing separate from regional Mexican cuisine. If you're only comparing "hole in the wall joint in Jalisco" and "Taco Bell", you're really missing out.
posted by Sara C. at 9:43 AM on April 14


But for the everyday California/American food I eat, I prefer something with a lot less vinegar. Tapatio is a Mexican hot sauce (or as scelerat notes, a Mexican-style sauce, as it is made in California). The primary flavor is chile. There's a lot of other Mexican-style sauces that are mostly chile with a little vinegar. Cholula is fine. I like Melinda's too.

I also prefer the low-vinegar approach and was going to suggest my go-to sauce, El Pato. Sadly, as I was looking for a link I discovered it's been discontinued due to excessive lead (which would explain its increasing rarity!) but this copy-cat recipe looks good.
posted by Room 641-A at 11:33 AM on April 14


You are all wrong. This is the best.
posted by josher71 at 12:15 PM on April 14 [1 favorite]


As long as we're being hot sauce hipsters, my favorite hot sauce is locally owned, grown, and operated (and is seriously fucking delicious, to the point that I've prepared meals for the express purpose of using it).
posted by Panjandrum at 1:46 PM on April 14


To bring this thing full circle, apparently Tabasco makes a sriracha sauce now. The streams have truly crossed. I would also like to blame this thread for lightening my wallet, as I found 3 or 4 sauces to try.
posted by zabuni at 8:42 PM on April 28


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