The story behind Sriracha

With a distinctive bottle and taste, Sriracha has gone from an unpronounceable challenge to a staple sauce for many Americans. In the U.S. alone, $60 million worth of the sauce was sold last year alone.

But it wasn’t always such a prevalent item on store shelves. David Tran, the man responsible for popularizing the hot sauce, had a long journey beforehand:

When North Vietnam’s communists took power in South Vietnam, Tran, a major in the South Vietnamese army, fled with his family to the U.S. After settling in Los Angeles, Tran couldn’t find a job — or a hot sauce to his liking.

So he made his own by hand in a bucket, bottled it and drove it to customers in a van. He named his company Huy Fong Foods after the Taiwanese freighter that carried him out of Vietnam.

Read more via our profile of Tran, and his beloved hot sauce.

Photos: Gina Ferazzi, Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times

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