Films for Foodies #7–Sriracha

o-SRIRACHA-DOCUMENTARY-facebook Sriracha

USA, 2013

Written and directed by Griffin Hammond

Available to stream on Amazon Prime Instant Video and Hulu (free with ads). Director’s commentary available on Youtube.

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Hot sauce is more than just a condiment–it’s a culture. Like wine or beer aficionados, hot sauce enthusiasts have developed a sophisticated palate and a rich understanding of food pairings. One man in this documentary compares hot sauce to cigars, and he’s absolutely right. There’s that same subtlety to the taste and the aroma, and there’s also that same loyalty to a brand. In this comparison, Sriracha would be the equivalent of the Cuban cigar–the standard of its kind. And if sriracha is like a Cuban, then Huy Fong sriracha is like the Montecristo–the go-to, the most popular in the world.

Griffin Hammond’s documentary spends most of its time exploring Huy Fong sriracha and profiling its founder David Tran. His story is simple but inspiring. In 1978 he left his home country Vietnam and eventually ended up in the U.S. In 1980 he began selling his red rooster sauce on a small scale. But in 35 years his passion for food and his commitment to improve his product has driven Huy Fong to be one of the leading Asian hot sauces on the market. It’s interesting to note that Huy Fong has never advertised its product, but rather relies on quality and reputation. And quite a reputation it has built.

This 33-minute documentary is chock full of interviews and testimonials of people obsessed with the red rooster sauce. It features 7 or 8 songs written specifically about sriracha, and introduces us to some of the most inventive sriracha creations imaginable–sriracha lollipops, sriracha peach jam, sriracha ice cream sandwiches. Even if you’re not big on hot sauces, you’ll still find your mouth watering at some of these treats.

176057-Sriracha.400The movie doesn’t just look at the culture of the sauce. It also attempts to track down the history and origins of sriracha. In doing so, it opens our eyes to all the different options. There’s so much more than the red rooster out there, and this doc allows us to feast on the sriracha possibilities.

More than anything, this movie is a love letter to America’s favorite hot sauce, written by the filmmakers, the everyday sriracha fans, and the people who love the sauce the most–the creators.

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