Thais use Sriracha sauce as a condiment to bring some heat to those milder dishes, using it mostly on fried eggs and omelettes. They raise an eyebrow upon hearing of far away places where the Thai sauce finds itself drizzled on people’s french fries, whipped into sandwich spreads, and even measured into cocktails! - Dwight Turner (aka Bangkok Fatty), Bangkok Food Blogger
Today 'sriracha' is synonymous with celebrated Sriracha "rooster sauce" made by Huy Fong Foods and almost universally known. It was named Bon Appétit’s ingredient of the year 2010 and "you've got Brooklyn chefs cooking up artisanal batches, BusinessWeek publishing in-depth features on its maker, and giants like Lays and Subway adding it to their unquestionably mainstream products"
Despite that Huy Fong's Sriracha (aka "American Sriracha") initially gained popularity amongst Vietnamese pho shops in California (and also became an essential condiment for pho) it is actually a Thai-style sauce, made by Vietnamese migrants in America using American jalapeno chillies.
The original sriracha sauce was created 80 years ago in Trok Laem Fan, Si Racha District, Chonburi Province, by Ms. Thanom Chakkapak. She initially made it for her family to enjoy as a cocktail sauce with seafood and named it 'Sriraja Panich'. Her family and friends loved its unique flavor and encouraged her to take it commercial, and it became very successful throughout Thailand. In 1984, Ms. Chakkapak sold the company to Thai Theparos Food Products, a major food company in Thailand who also produce the famous Golden Mountain Seasoning Sauce
The original Thai version is made with garlic, vinegar, sugar, salt and prik chee faa chilli which is fermented in casks for at least three months before being bottled. American sriracha uses the same sugar, salt, garlic and distilled vinegar but uses red jalapenos. It is hotter and thicker than the original Thai version and also less sweet and garlicky.
American Sriracha is little known in Thailand, and many Thais who try it find it overpowering and odd to their tastes
“Huy Fong Foods Sriracha is a sauce that sounds like the one we have in Thailand, but doesn’t taste like it at all,” said 29-year-old Wannita Makaroon, who lives in New York. “It’s a sauce that I don’t think fits Thai food, but Americans want it on everything, especially in Thai restaurants. They pour it on everything...”
“Personally, I don’t think [American] Sriracha suits the Thai taste or understanding of Sriracha. We’re much more used to the sweeter sauce we use for fried food,” says Mam Somphone, owner of a Vietnamese restaurant in Bangkok. “I do think it’s a little strange that Americans love Sriracha sauce so much, but I guess it’s not all too different from Thai people putting ketchup on everything.”
Si Racha is a port, so Sriraja Panich was originally enjoyed with lots of fresh seafood, almost like a shrimp cocktail sauce. The flavor cuts the richness of fried food but goes with grilled and boiled seafood too. It is rarely ever used merely to add heat to a dish. It is still used almost exclusively as a dipping sauce for meats, although Thai people also eat Sriraja Panich with rice and Thai omelet 'kai jeow'.
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