Sriracha is the type of sauce; Huy Fong is the brand name. Accept no substitutes, even if they’re emblazoned with dragons.
Even the tour tram vehicle was hot.
Where the red peppers enter the factory for processing.
The red peppers get washed here three times. The red jalapeno peppers used in the sauce lose nearly half of their spiciness in processing, which puts the sauce on par with the Fresno and Anaheim peppers — both of which are about as hot as their namesake cities.
The brand name Huy Fong comes from the ship that carried the sauce’s founder to the US from Vietnam. The founder, who was of Chinese descent, made the original version of Sriracha in Gerber baby food jars before immigrating to the US and restarting the business.
If you’ve been following the company’s recent legal woes, which include a partial shutdown due to a chile odor complaint, you may have been wondering about the smell. Well, since they are currently not in the processing season the smell was rather mild. There was a hint of garlic with a little tinge of red pepper but it smelled good to me.
Huy Fong Foods makes all its own bottles, which initially look like bloated test tubes. At the Irwindale factory, one line of production can produce 18,000 bottles an hour.
Tran’s first bottles of Sriracha were made in 1980. They were glass bottles filled by the spoonful and he personally delivered them all over Chinatown in a blue Chevy van.
After the bottle’s are formed and cooled they’re ready to be filled.
Huy Fong Foods makes three types of sauce that all start with the same chile mash. A sambal oelek, (if you want to taste the chile), a chili garlic (which is the sambal oelek with garlic from Gilroy, Calif.) and the Sriracha (which is the chili garlic sauce pureed with sugar).
In 2010, the company opened it’s new factory here in Irwindale, California. It is 23 acres, with 26,000 square feet of office space, 150,000 square feet of production space, and 480,000 square feet of warehouse. It’s pretty fucking big.
The factory was super clean of course and highly automated.
This robot packs the bottles into the cases.
Waiting to be fork lifted off the line and into the customers hands.
They’re not just cocky. The rooster is the Chinese zodiac sign of the sauce’s founder.
Huy Fong Foods has never advertised its sauce, and its sales have increased by almost 20% each year.
They also make all these blue storage/marinating buckets within the factory. Oh and those are all skylights creating an amazing amount of light within the space.
The company doesn’t deliver to anyone, all commercial customers are required to come by the factory to pick their orders up. David Tran ain’t got time for that!
After the tour was over we were greeted by the local fire department cause that shit be hot.
I parted with a mini-bottle of Sriracha & a factory selfie, now that’s hot!