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Sriracha is a hot sauce made of chili peppers, vinegar, garlic, sugar and salt that is often associated in the United States with a brand produced by the company Huy Fong Foods. On the web, the condiment is highly regarded and celebrated for its deliciousness, in similar vein to other food porn items like Nutella and bacon.
The sauce is named after the city Si Racha in Thailand where it is rumored to have been first created for seafood dishes. In 1980, the company Huy Fong Foods was founded in Los Angeles, California and began selling a version of the sauce developed by founder David Tran. In 1987, the business expanded to a factory in Rosemead, California to meet increased demand for the product.
According to Business Week, sriracha began increasing in popularity over the course of the next decade after it was carried on counters of major restaurants, including the Momofuku Noodle Bar in New York and the chain restaurants P.F. Chang’s and Gordon Biersch. On November 19th, 2009, Bon Appétit magazine named sriracha sauce the “Ingredient of the Year” for 2010. On January 18th, 2011, The Sriracha Cookbook was released, containing 50 recipes utilizing the hot sauce. In February of 2013, the snack food company Lay’s released the potato chip flavors “chicken & waffles,” “cheesy garlic bread” and “sriracha” for customers to vote on becoming a new product. On April 12th, the LA Times published an article about Huy Fong Foods, reporting that the company sells more than $60 million worth of the hot sauce every year despite spending no money on advertising.
On May 12th, 2006, the first Urban Dictionary entry for “sriracha” was submitted by user Downtown Brown, defining it as “the finest hot sauce in the world.” On September 13th, 2008, the “Sriracha Rooster Sauce” Facebook page was launched, which garnered upwards of 260,000 likes in the first five years. On March 7th, 2011, The Oatmeal published a webcomic titled “Dear Sriracha Rooster Sauce” (shown below), lauding the qualities of the hot sauce.
On September 22nd, the “We Love Sriracha” Tumblr blog was launched, which features sriracha-related photographs and illustrations. On June 1st, 2012, the “Words With Sriracha” Tumblr blog was created, highlighting photographs of foods with words written on them with sriracha sauce (shown below).
On November 17th, Redditor RedAfroNinja submitted an image macro of a sriracha bottle with the caption “This food is great / but it’s missing a certain vital feature” to the /r/AdviceAnimals subreddit. Before the post was archived, it accumulated over 3,700 up votes and 170 comments. On November 27th, Redditor l1ttl3m0nst3r submitted a photograph of sriracha-flavored lip balm to the /r/WTF subreddit (shown below, right), which gained more than 7,800 up votes and 200 comments prior to being archived.
On February 1st, 2013, the satirical YouTube channel PronunciationManual uploaded a video featuring an intentionally incorrect pronunciation of “sriracha” (shown below, left). On February 13th, the FoodBeastTV YouTube channel uploaded a sriracha food porn video with footage of the hot sauce being poured on a variety of meals (shown below, right)
On February 21st, Business Week published an article about the history of sriracha in the United States. On May 1st, the viral content site BuzzFeed published a list of factoids about the hot sauce. On June 18th, filmmaker Griffin Hammond launched a Kickstarter campaign for a documentary film about the history of sriracha sauce (shown below, left). On July 10th, YouTuber skippy62able uploaded a video titled “The Sriracha Challenge,” in which he attempts to drink three bottles of sriracha sauce (shown below, right). In the next two months, the video received over 340,000 views and 5,000 comments.
The Huffington Post – Sriracha Obsession – How Did The Hot Sauce Get So Popular?