Thursday, July 23, 2015

Sriracha

Poster for the 30-min documentary.
On the cooking shows I hear this a lot:

What I made for you today is a roasted pork loin encrusted with panko on a pea puree and a small green salad topped with Sriracha."

What is Sriracha?!?! I keep hearing that sauce mentioned. Is it something a chef makes himself, like Hollandaise? Does it come in a bottle? Is it a powder? What it is exactly?

I decided to find out. So of course I went to Hulu. There is a sweet and interesting 30-minute documentary on Sriracha's production, its history, and its invention. I enjoyed it so much!

Apparently this wonderful condiment has been gaining popularity to an astounding degree. Equally astounding is that despite its massive popularity and phenomenal growth over thirty years, it is still under the radar in most locations in the US. And despite the Asian characters on the bottle, it IS produced in the US, it always has been. But by a Vietnamese immigrant. Huffington Post has a recap:
If David Tran were a more conventional CEO, he would be a fixture at conferences, a darling of magazine profiles, and a subject of case studies in the Harvard Business Review. Sriracha hot sauce, made by Huy Fong Foods, which Tran founded 33 years ago in Los Angeles, is one of the coolest brands in town. There are entire cookbooks written to celebrate Sriracha’s versatility; memorabilia ranging from iPhone covers to t-shirts and all sorts of other swag; a documentary in the works to chronicle its rise; and innumerable imitators. Sriracha sales last year reached some 20 million bottles to the tune of $60 million dollars, percentage sales growth is in the double digits each year, and it does all this without spending a cent on advertising. 
Bon App├ętit magazine declared the sauce the ingredient of the year back in 2010, and Cook’s Illustrated called it the best-tasting hot sauce in 2012. Though it didn’t win, Sriracha was one of three new flavors chosen in Lays potato chips’ new flavor contest last year.
Have you heard of it? I had not, until this summer when I began watching Top Chef, Food Network Star and MasterChef as I usually do in the lazy summer months. I started picking up on the fact that the sauce was named often in the dishes the chefs were preparing and presenting.

I decided that I'd like to get some and try it. Would my little mom and pop grocery store in Danielsville or the Dollar General in tiny Comer Georgia stock this condiment?

The answer is yes. My interest and their carrying the item matched up in time- the sticker at the Dollar General in Comer said "New item!" I do believe that if Sriracha is being carried on Comer...it has truly arrived.


6 comments:

Grace to You said...

It's interesting you would do a cooking post because I have just made an interesting discovery about my love/hate relationship with cooking. I used to love it (tho I was never adventurous in it), then I married a man who is completely utilitarian when it comes to food and we begat a picky eater, and it's been many years since I have enjoyed the work.

Out of the blue recently my dad, who has a great appreciation for good cooking (which my mom is no longer able to do), sent me a recipe that he found on the internet. This is not like my dad. I took the challenge but was not impressed with the results. Then I did something I've never done before - I tweaked the recipe and tried again. Then I did it again. Third time's the charm! :) I cooked the dish for him and my mom next time I visited and they loved it! Then he sent me another recipe and this time I only had to tweak it once and I can't wait to cook it for them next time I visit.

I have been shocked at myself that I actually enjoyed cooking again after so many years of hating it and even more so that I tweaked two recipes - I seriously have never done that! Now I'm trying to figure out how to get my husband to settle down somewhere so we can get my dad (and my mom too I guess *ahem*) to come live with us so I can cook for him. :)

Sorry for the length of this...I'm still a little giddy about it all. :)

Elizabeth Prata said...

How wonderful that you had an opportunity to re-discover cooking! I'm so glad. How satisfying to cook for your Dad.

I have a love-hate relationship with it too. I am not good at it, and the autism makes it kind of dangerous because my executive functions are not solid in that area. This means I am always THIS CLOSE to burning whatever I am cooking, or adding bleach instead of vinegar or some dumb thing like that. I also can't smell and have a very restricted sense of taste. So I can't enjoy my results. But I keep trying.

I am glad you kept trying. Keep it up, when you get a cadre of several recipes that you like and cook them often it's satisfying. My set of go-to dishes are soups I really do like cooking soup. And eating it :).

Anonymous said...

Ok, I've just recently heard about this sauce as well, and had no idea what it was until I looked it up today. Seems like a slightly sweet hot sauce.

You know, for all the challenges your autism brings, you do an amazing job in the kitchen. I don't know how you can say you are not good at cooking! Your posts about your recipes, etc, are amazing, and I've gleaned a lot of great ideas from you! Christ no doubt is showing Himself strong in your weakness.

-Carolyn

Elizabeth Prata said...

thanks Carolyn! I'm glad you looked it up, yes it is a slightly sweet hot sauce. I like it because it is thicker. I also like that Mr Tran uses only one pepper grower and it's local. The peppers arrive at his hot sauce factory hours after picking. It isn't TOO hot but has a good amount of heat. I've used it on eggs & soup so far and I love it :)

Heather said...

Too funny! I find this post amusing as I grew up in Colorado and this sauce is everywhere. Most restaurants around here stock it like they do ketchup bottles. It's hard to imagine only learning of it into adulthood. Obviously, it's more of a regional thing than I'd realized.

There are lots of good things to try with Sriracha, have fun with it! You can make Sriracha salt, drizzle it on homemade pizzas, but my favorite is scrambled eggs with avocado slices and some Sriracha.

Elizabeth Prata said...

That's my fave too, Heather, scrambled eggs with the sauce.