In the West, the word “Sriracha” is synonymous with Huy Fong’s Sriracha sauce with the iconic rooster on the bottle. This brand’s sauce is based on the recipe by Vietnamese-American immigrant, David Tran. It is a wildly popular condiment that has mass appeal even outside of Asian cuisine and has inspired cookbooks, chain restaurant menus, and food manufacturers to create sriracha-flavored snacks. But in the East, sriracha is a type of chili sauce from Thailand and is not limited to one particular brand.
The origin of sriracha is often debated. It is named after the coastal city of Si Racha in eastern Thailand where great chilis grow, and where it is said to have been first produced. One story is that the sauce was first made by a Thai housewife called Thanom Chakkapak. Another states that the sauce was created by Burmese sawmill workers in Si Racha.
Sriracha is considered a hot sauce, and is made from a paste of chili peppers, vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt. Traditional Thai sriracha tends to be tangier rather than hot, and runnier in texture than non-Thai versions. In Thailand, sriracha is really only considered sriracha if it is actually made in its namesake town. You’ll find sriracha used in Thailand as a dipping sauce, especially for seafood, while in certain parts of Vietnam, it is often used as a condiment for pho or fried noodles. But no matter which sriracha you prefer, we can all agree it that it is flavorful, delicious, and well-deserving of its status as one of the world’s favorite condiments.