Not Merely A Novelty: Why Sriracha is Still Relevant

Originally published via: Trends on Trends

Image via: Photograph by Jamie Chung for Bloomberg Businessweek

Created with the Asian immigrant palate in mind, the simple recipe Huy Fong’s green-capped Tuong Ot Sriracha — a blend of jalapeños, vinegar, sugar, salt, and, of course, garlic — hasn’t changed much since its inception in L.A’s Chinatown in 1980. Inspired by the hot sauces traditionally popular in Thailand, “sriracha” is actually a generic term for the chili condiment (think “ketchup”), named after the seaside district, Si Racha — which Bon Appetit’s Sam Dean has roughly translated to “the glory of our king” — where the first of its kind was created more than 80 years ago.

Left via: Michael Crichton Photography Inc

Despite never being advertised, the Huy Fong’s colorful condiment has become more than a staple of the American diet, its red rooster logo appearing on anything from mainstream potato chip packets to novelty stilettos. Yet more notable than the national obsession and Huy Fong-branded paraphernalia, is perhaps the affinity for all things spicy that the colorful concoction has nurtured since it’s introduction to the American diet nearly 35 years ago. Its popularity has spurred talented chefs to embrace the challenge of incorporating the unique garlic chili flavor into unexpected dishes, like an artisanal Sriracha Salt or the Earl Grey Sriracha flavor at Philadelphia’s Little Baby Ice Cream.

Left via: Bon Appétit | Right via: Pinterest

Paying homage to the fiery sauce, the Chinese American museum has curated an exhibition exploring the impact of the national obsession alongside its Mexican counterpart, Tapatio, featuring work by artists of diverse backgrounds who are passionate about notions of identity, community and culture. The takeaway? The widespread affinity for the sauces signifies both an increase and a warm embrace of Asian and Latino populations living in the U.S., becoming interwoven into the American cultural fabric, as the two prolific condiments rival Heinz Ketchup and French’s Mustard as the all-American staple of Generation Y.

The pervasion of the colorfully spicy sauce may be old news, but its presence in the culinary world and its cultural ramifications keep it worthy of the spotlight. The condiment has been around the block, now settling in as a staple of the American repertoire of flavors.

Right via: Etsy

Haven’t had enough Sriracha yet? Us too, check out this house-made Sriracha from Dallas’s Malai Kitchen

1 lb red jalapenos, chopped
1/4 cup Thai chilies, chopped
1/4 cup garlic
Tbl kosher salt
1.25 cups vinegar
2 Tbl palm sugar

1. Marinate all ingredients (except sugar) for 12 hours in refrigerator.
2. Add sugar and boil for 10 minutes.
3. Blend on high speed for 5 minutes until totally smooth and thick.
4. Cool and enjoy.

Left via: Society6

Check out the Sriracha exhibit
Photos courtesy of the Chinese American Museum unless noted otherwise.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.