According to some gastronomists, American cuisine can be defined by eight flavors. The oldest is black pepper (the spice of choice for Martha Washington), while the newest staple in the culinary repertoire is sriracha, the iconic spicy rooster sauce.
The hot sauce’s trajectory has taken it from Vietnamese staple to potato chip flavoring. Today the most well known sriracha brand is from Huy Fong Foods, and every single bottle of Huy Fong Sriracha is made in one factory, in Irwindale, California.
In this episode of Gastropod, historical gastronomist Sarah Lohman describes how jalapeños go from farm to sauce in just three hours.
Know Before You Go
You can visit the Huy Fong factory to see the entire process—the best time to tour is pepper harvest season, from about mid-September to late October. Tours are free, but you do have to call to book in advance.