Who’d have thought? Turns out one person’s delicious spicy condiment is another’s toxic environmental hazard. Obviously, the citizens of Irwindale, CA don’t realize that Sriracha –– manufactured by Huy Fong Foods at a plant in their town –– is the most amazing bottled sauce on the planet (next to that Valentina Salsa Picante stuff). The Irwindale tenderfoots don’t like the “offensive chili odor” (a textbook oxymoron!) and want the plant out. A Denton city councilman, cleverly surmising that college students consume Sriracha by the gallon during late night, beer-and-THC-inspired binges, extended a warm Texas invitation for Huy Fong to come stink up Denton.

Personally, the prospect of living within sixty miles of a Sriracha factory thrills me. It would be sorta like if Charlie Bucket woke up to discover that The Chocolate Factory was now easily accessible via a couple of different interstate freeways. Ever tried Sriracha on cheese pizza? It’s divine. Ditto falafels. Ordering a half crispy duck from the nearby Chinese takeout and then drenching it with “The Kickin’ Chicken” (as some of us call the sauce with the rooster on the label) is my idea of a wild night. Don’t even get me started on dolloping Vietnamese meatballs with the stuff. You are my sunshine, Sriracha. Call me if the new Denton digs are set up.


  1. I agree that Sriracha is great on most everything (thank you Chinese food restaurants for introducing it to the masses). However, your theory about living near the plant indicates to me that you’ve never made salsa verde before. Making a big bowl of verde requires pan frying and then boiling about two dozen jalapenos. During that process, you will be driven out of your kitchen and sometimes out of your house because of the vapors, unless you have some sort of gas mask to wear. Your eyes water and it’s hard to breathe. The Stiracha factory is huge and surely processes hundreds of thousands of hot, red jalapenos every day and all those vapors go into the air and drift over to nearby residents. I wouldn’t want to live nearby, but I do want the factory to make sauce. Even if the factory moves to the country, there is probably going to be somebody living nearby that gets gassed on a daily basis. I tend to look at these situations with an eye for who was there first. If I’m living somewhere and minding my own business and then a company builds a factory next door and starts sending fumes my way every day, that’s not right. But if someone buys a house next to a factory (probably at a cheaper price) and then complains, they don’t get as much sympathy. The owner of the company is an interesting guy, an immigrant who fled from Vietnam with his family during the war and settled in America and started the company from scratch. Now I guess I should get to work instead writing a thesis about hot sauce.

  2. Actually, I didn’t know my post had a theory about living near the plant. I haven’t made salsa verde, but I have chopped chile peppers before, and the eye-nose-and-throat effects of that alone are pretty notable. Dammit, if we can figure out where to put nuclear power plants, surely we can find a hospitable spot for a Sriracha bottler!

  3. I decided one year to make homemade mustard for all the family for Christmas gifts. No where in the recipe did it warn you about being driven from the house because of the vapors. I haven’t had the courage to make mustard again since we left mild and sunny California.