Sriracha (Thai: ศรีราชา, pronounced [sǐːrāːt͡ɕʰāː] (listen); English: // or //) is a type of hot sauce or chili sauce made from a paste of chili peppers, distilled vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt.
Horseshoe crab served with Sriracha sauce in the town of Si Racha
|Scoville scale||1,000–2,500 SHU|
In Thailand, sriracha is frequently used as a dipping sauce, particularly for seafood and omelet. In Vietnamese cuisine, sriracha appears as a condiment for phở and fried noodles, as a topping for spring rolls (chả giò), and in sauces.
The origin and history of sriracha are debated. One report has it that the sauce was first produced by a Thai woman named Thanom Chakkapak in the town of Si Racha (or Sri Racha). According to the Thai "Chomrom Rak Si Racha" (The Si Racha Lovers' Association) the sauce was first made in Si Racha by Burmese sawmill workers. The association interviewed 88-year-old Thawat Wiphisamakun, known locally as Ah Pae. Ah Pae's maternal grandmother had a small shop in Si Racha. The Burmese workers came to the shop to buy chilies, salt, vinegar, and sugar to pound in a mortar to make their sauce. Eventually she started making the sauce herself, both for family use and for sale to customers. Soon, another customer, Kimsua Thimkrachang, began to buy large quantities of chilies, salt, vinegar, and sugar. He was making the chili sauce for sale as Sauce Si Racha Traa Phukhao Thong (Golden Mountain Brand Si Racha Sauce) with a picture of the Golden Mountain Temple on the label. Its name was Si Racha Phanich.
Another report has it that the sauce originated in the town of Sri Racha (Sri Racha, Sriracha), Thailand in the early 1930s by La Orr Suwanprasop. La Orr was born and raised in Sri Racha and eventually met her husband who was from Bangkok. Upon getting married she and her husband moved to Bangkok where she would continually make batches of the famous chili sauce for her friends. Her friends would encourage her to make the sauce for sale which ultimately motivated her to start her sriracha sauce business. After discussion with a monk, La Orr was given the blessing to start the sriracha chili sauce business. The monk had given her the idea to name the sauce "sriracha sauce", after her hometown. By 1932, La Orr Suwanprasop began producing and selling her sauce in Bangkok. Over time, the rumor of her sauce began to spread and chefs all over Bangkok started using her sauce in their restaurants. La Orr and her family eventually entered their sauce into annual competitions where she was awarded several gold medals which is why their sriracha sauce is named the Gold Medal Brand. After winning various medals and recognition for their sauce, La Orr and her family eventually brought their medals to the government food department in Bangkok to establish that they are the original creators of “Sriracha Sauce”. By this time, it was very difficult for the government to prove that they were the original creators of the famous sauce as there were several other “copycat” brands but there are no records showing that the sauce was made before 1932. The food department recommended that they change their logo’s design so that it incorporates wording “Produced in 1932”, to indicate that Gold Medal was the first of the sriracha sauce brands. Today, Lakut Suwanprasop, son of La Orr Suwanprasop, still follows the traditions of his mother in creating and selling the sriracha sauce from fresh, well-inspected chilis.
In Thailand, the sauce is most often called sot Siracha (Thai: ซอสศรีราชา) and only sometimes nam phrik Siracha (Thai: น้ำพริกศรีราชา). Traditional Thai sriracha sauce tends to be tangier in taste, and runnier in texture than non-Thai versions.
In a Bon Appétit magazine interview, US Asian-foods distributor Eastland Food Corporation asserted that the Thai brand of hot sauce Sriraja Panich, which Eastland distributes, is the original "sriracha sauce" and was created in Si Racha, Thailand, in the 1930s from the recipe of a housewife named Thanom Chakkapak.
In the United States, sriracha is associated with a sauce produced by Huy Fong Foods‹See TfM›[failed verification] and is sometimes referred to as "rooster sauce" or "cock sauce" from the image of a rooster on the bottle. Other variations of sriracha have appeared in the US market, including a sriracha that is aged in whiskey barrels. The Huy Fong Foods Sriracha was first produced in the early 1980s for dishes served at American phở restaurants.
Various restaurants in the US, including Wendy's, Applebee's, P.F. Chang's, Jack in the Box, McDonald's, Subway, Taco Bell, White Castle, Gordon Biersch, Chick-fil-A, Firehouse Subs, Noodles & Company, Starbucks and Burger King have incorporated sriracha into their dishes, sometimes mixing it with mayonnaise or into dipping sauces. Blue Diamond, a leading producer of almond products, markets a sriracha flavor alongside their other flavors. The word "sriracha" is considered a generic term.
In popular cultureEdit
In 2015, rapper ¥ung ¢hef released the song Top Ramen (ft. Doughboi) on Soundcloud, in which he proclaims, "ain't nobody giving me Top Ramen, without my Sriracha Sauce". The song's lyrics reference Sriracha Sauce several more times throughout the song. ¥ung ¢hef released a music video for the song Top Ramen in July 2016, in which Sriracha Sauce is also prominently featured. As of July 2020 the video has over 2.4 million views.  
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The Thais also make many versions of [sriracha] sauce... which tend to be more liquid and pourable than Huy Fong’s. Sriraja Panich has a lovely balance of bright chili heat, delicate sweetness, vinegary tang, and garlicky backnote.
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But like most obsessives, Erskine is fiercely loyal to 'rooster sauce' as some know the brand (in the US it is sometimes also called 'cock sauce').
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- Media related to Sriracha sauce at Wikimedia Commons