Johnny has talked about things that are uniquely Asian American, and one thing that comes to my mind in that category is Huy Fong Foods‘ Sriracha Chili sauce. Sriracha was created by David Tran as a version of a hot sauce from Si Racha Thailand, and the green topped bottle with a rooster on it has become familiar to Asian Americans and many non Asian Americans. It has become so popular that there is now a Sriracha flavored potato chip that you can vote on to become a regular Lays potato chip product, and the LA Times reports that Huy Fong Foods is expanding into a new $40 million headquarters and production facility that could triple its output of the sauce.
Unable to find a job or a hot sauce he liked, David Tran created the hot sauce by hand and bottled it himself and sold it out of a van. He named his company Huy Fong Foods after the freighter that brought him from Vietnam to the US. From that humble beginning, he now sells at least 10 million bottles a year in the US from retailers as varied as Amazon and Walmart. Sriracha was Bon Appetit Magazine’s 2009 Ingredient of the Year. Mainstream food businesses are looking at Sriracha – other than Lays Potato Chips, Subway is reportedly testing a creamy Sriracha for sandwiches.
Tran has refused to sell shares in his company and turned down a number of buy out offers.
“My American dream was never to become a billionaire. We started this because we like fresh, spicy chili sauce.”
He doesn’t want his vision for the sauce watered down in any way, and keeps the company as a family business, but one that does $60 million a year and grows 20% a year without any advertising.
The voting for the Sriracha potato chip ends on May 4, 2013.
(Photo Credit: hansenbrian)