Chili Sauce Conquers American Palate

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted May 20, 2009 2:52 PM CDT
Huy Fong's sriracha next to a competitor.   (©RobotSkirts)
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(Newser) – From celebrity chefs to Applebees to Wal-Mart, America is in love with the Asian chili-and-garlic condiment sriracha—only it’s not that Asian, the New York Times reports. “I wanted something that I could sell to more than just the Vietnamese,” said David Tran, creator of the top-selling US version. “I know it’s not a Thai sriracha,” Tran said. “It’s my sriracha.”

“I remember seeing Heinz 57 ketchup and thinking,” Tran said, “the 1984 Olympics are coming. How about I come up with a Tran 84, something I can sell to everyone?” Tran’s California company, Huy Fong, sells 80% of its product to Asian companies, but the spicy sauce has caught on big with Americans. “I love rooster sauce!” went a recent phone message to the company, whose emblem is a rooster. “I guess it goes with alcohol,” an employee said.