Sriracha: Travel to Vietnam Without Leaving Home

Want to spice things up? But too lazy to leave the couch? Here’s a way to get hot and bothered and you’ll only have to go as far as your kitchen, as long as you have a bottle of Sriracha in the pantry.

Sriracha hot sauce is an essential condiment, if you want to taste Thailand in every bite.
Get ready to drool! Sriracha is a documentary about the origins of the hot sauce. If you believe in the power of sriracha + mac & cheese, you must see this film. (Photo: “Sriracha”)

Everybody’s favorite hot sauce

Inspired by a recent post by Jessie on a Journey, I decided to travel without leaving home. Without leaving my kitchen, actually. Like the rest of the world, I’m a huge fan of Sriracha, the wickedly good hot sauce. I assumed it was an Asian import. It is, kind of. I learned all about it by watching “Sriracha“, a charming documentary about the sauce, directed by NYC-based filmmaker Griffin Hammond. It’s available for streaming on Vimeo for $2.99.

What’s in Sriracha?

The sauce creator, David Tran, left Vietnam as a refugee in the ‘70′s. He, along with thousands of others, settled in California. These immigrants brought with them their love of phở, big bowls of broth and noodles, but it was missing the hot sauce served at home. David concocted a simple mash of chiles, garlic, and pepper and began filling bottles by hand. Today, Huy Fong Foods, produces 3,000 bottles an hour, bottles that are in practically every restaurant kitchen and college apartment in America.

Whip up a Thai omelet

The sauce may have first appeared in Thailand in the coastal town of Si Racha. The filmmaker travels there to taste our Sriracha’s slightly sweeter cousin. All of this food porn made me very hungry indeed. I was particularly taken with the Thai version of on omelet, cooked up in oil, served over jasmine rice, and slathered with sauce. This is what I wanted. This is what I needed. I probably could have improvised a recipe, but I wanted it to be just right and I found this version of kai jeow on The Kitchn.

A Thai omelet features fish sauce and a dose of Sriracha.
Love at first bite. If this is typical of Thai street food, I need to get on a plane now. (Photo: Anjali Prasertong)

Taste bud travel

I would not have thought of including fish sauce in the beaten eggs. But it was the perfect complement to the Sriracha. And the best part about my mid-week kitchen journey? I only had a couple of dishes to wash instead of a suitcase of dirty laundry.

Next up? I’m heading to Mexico to spice things up with a burst of lime and chilis, courtesy of Tajin spice.