The Origin Of Sriracha And How To Make Your Own

The genesis of Sriracha hot sauce becoming the condiment staple it is today can be traced back to 1975 and its origin is surprisingly heartwarming.

Following the Vietnam war, an unassuming Vietnamese refuge called David Tran, who was a Major in the South Vietnamese army and otherwise made his living making sauces, fled Vietnam with his family in December of 1978, along with 3,317 other refugees, aboard a Taiwanese freighter.

Like many successful businessmen, Tran made his fortune by noticing a consumer demand that was going unfulfilled and filling it- in this case, it all started with a demand for hot sauce amongst the many Southeast Asian immigrants in LA.

David Tran 700x479 The Origin Of Sriracha And How To Make Your Own

More specifically, Tran got his start in the U.S. by making a sauce he called Pepper Sa-te (that he literally made in a bucket, bottled in recycled baby food jars, and sold first via bicycle and later out of a blue Chevy van).

Tran noted, “I started the business with my eyes closed. There were no expectations at all… My American dream was never to become a billionaire. We started this because we like fresh, spicy chili sauce.”

Having a modicum of success in the industry, he began experimenting with local ingredients, eventually creating a slight variation of a Thai recipe he liked that used, to quote, “hybrid jalapeño peppers, vinegar, sugar, salt, and garlic”. He named his version of this sauce “Sriracha”, after the coastal town, Si Racha, in Thailand where the base recipe he tweaked originated.

Notoriously secretive, Tran seldom gives interviews and has long maintained, as previously mentioned, that his only goal is to sell his hot sauce to whoever wants it- “a bottle of Sriracha in everyone’s hands is my only goal”.