Story Of Sriracha: How Hot Sauce Launched By Refugee From Vietnam Spawned A Food Empire

When Sriracha fanatic Griffin Hammond first visited the Huy Fong Foods factory, where his beloved hot sauce is made, it took his breath away – literally.

“The smell inside the jalapeño grinding room was unbearable. I was wearing a mask but my eyes were watering, my nose was running. I could barely breathe,” the 34-year-old American filmmaker recalls.

More than 45 million kilograms (100 million pounds) of jalapeños are ground up each year to produce Huy Fong Foods’ legendary Sriracha hot sauce, lauded for its spicy kick, vinegary tang and garlicky aftertaste. Recognised the world over for the white rooster on its label, this ubiquitous sauce, which first tantalised taste buds in 1980, has developed a cult following.

From fans getting tattoos of the bottle and personalising car number plates after it, to astronauts on the International Space Station taking it into orbit, never has there been a condiment with such a loyal fan base. Heat seekers are known to add it to almost any dish – drizzling it on pizza and sushi; mixing it into bowls of pasta or pho.