This morning The New York Times slobbers over what it pegs at the hottest new condiment of the moment, at least in remote parts of California. Sriracha Chili Sauce (Tuong Ot Sriracha) is manufactured in the good old US of A, but its roots, if sauce can be said to have roots, are Southeast Asian.
The lure of Asian authenticity is part of the appeal. Some American consumers believe sriracha (properly pronounced SIR-rotch-ah) to be a Thai sauce. Others think it is Vietnamese. The truth is that sriracha, as manufactured by Huy Fong Foods in Los Angeles, may be best understood as an American sauce, a polyglot purée with roots in different places and peoples.”
Be that as it may, Tuong Ot Sriracha is thoroughly Vietnamese, from its wasabi-green cap to its squeezable bottom. Huy Fong Foods (pronounced hwee fong) is owned and operated by an L.A.-based Vietnamese expat named David Tran. The purée of fresh red jalapeños, garlic powder, sugar, salt and vinegar is a southern Vietnamese staple, the perfect complement for everything from pho to roasted dog. I can say this with confidence not because I have had roasted dog (or not only because of that) but because I have some of this very sauce sitting on a shelf in my kitchen cupboard:
Yes, that’s a bag of grits behind it. Is there a problem with that?