View Full Version : Hot Sauce!

08-20-2003, 10:37 PM
Hi, can someone recommend a good hot sauce? I've been eating a lot of Indian food recently, and I've developed a little bit of tolerance to hot food. Tobasco sauce is ok, it's kind of hot, but I don't like the flavor much. I just got some Lousiana hot sauce, but it's not as hot as the Tobasco sauce. It tastes like what people put on buffalo wings.

So, what's a good sauce for things like chicken, or tacos, etc?

Nothing crazy, please. My friend has this stuff called "Adrenaline Rush" and I put one drop of it on my finger and licked it and my mouth was burning for 20 or 30 minutes. That's crazy. You're supposed to put like one drop of it in a whole pot of soup. I just want something a little hotter than Tobasco, and much better tasing.



08-20-2003, 10:44 PM
Cholula, or... I forgot. Cholula is good. Tabasco is too vinegary.

08-20-2003, 10:50 PM
Sriracha - by Huy Fong Foods Inc. is good on noodles, Pho, and such...

Yeo's makes a good one that is a bit sweet...good on eggs, bok choy, etc....

08-20-2003, 11:05 PM
Make your own, dude!

08-21-2003, 12:12 AM
"sriracha" rules, as does "franks red hot". franks is not that spicy but has really good flavour.

08-21-2003, 02:48 AM

I'm a bit of a snot about food and such, but it really depends on what you're eating. Sriracha is great, but hardly goes well with mexican food....I also find it a tad sweet. Great for asian flavors, not so good with others, IMO.

Anyway, a good tactic is to familiarize yourself with the relative heat level of the different peppers that are out there and then read the label. I too, find tabasco too vinegary.

In order to get truly hot food, I've found I have to argue with the waitstaff. When the silly round-eye asks for "Native Thai Hot," I invariably get something too sweet and tepid. The local Thai joint near my house, however, has finally figured it out. We all have a good laugh about it because the waitress we usually get always goes back and we can hear her arguing with the cook in Thai over my order. Or maybe they're just making jokes at my expense. I don't speak Thai.

There are a lot of crappy sauces on the market, and most specialty sauces have a lot of sugar in them to appeal to the American palate, which has degenerated thanks to a diet of processed foods and gustatory timidity. Cholula has a great flavor, but isn't really "hot." Texas Pete, Frank's, Durkee, etc all suffer from a sort of boring similarity and no real heat. Great for New Orleans style food....

For Indian food, try this: Mix equal parts minced green chili pepper (your choice--I like the little green thai bird chilis. Hot, but not Scotch Bonnet/Habenero hot...) and ginger. Serranos are ok in a pinch, but I use Jalapenos for company. Add a quantity of salt, to taste a bit of vinegar or lime (I like lime) a tiny bit of vodka (certain flavor compounds in several foods are alcohol soluble, but will not dissolve in water) and a small bit of a neutral-flavored oil (capsacin is an oil--like dissolves like...). Stir to moisten (the whole thing should glisten with a SMALL bit of liquid in the bottom) and store the remainder, tightly wrapped/covered in the fridge.

The fresh ginger will brighten the dish and the peppers are um... hot.

One last caveat--chile peppers have different names from store to store and region to region. Learn to identify them by sight, vice name.

08-21-2003, 04:26 AM
Wow sounds like you know how to cook MP, I'm impressed. I wished I could cook better but it's hard to get started :D
Does anyone here like Wazabi? If you can eat all wazabi infront of you without dying, then you'r not human.

I always get hungry when I'm on this stupid forum


08-21-2003, 04:38 AM
I love Wasabi, but it's completely different. It's MUCH better freshly grated too....

08-21-2003, 05:06 AM
yeah I know but it still one of the great 'spices'.
Do you like curry? I'm not that big of a fan but in certain chicken dishes it's heavenly. My favorite 'spicy food' gotta be anything from the Sechuan (sp?) kitchen. And I aint talkin about the kind you can find abroad in so called chinese resturants were most chefs are from Vietnam. Since I ate in Beijing it just aint the same :(

08-21-2003, 05:43 AM

Good stuff

Any peanut sauce.

08-21-2003, 06:25 AM

I am lucky to live where I live. The inexplicably named Formosa Cafe near where I live is a hole in the wall that serves QUITE authentic Szechuan food---right down to the liberal use of oil and fresh, not pre-ground, szechuan peppercorn powder. They even have pork and preserved vegetable (preserved chinese mustard greens for you uneducated yahoos) soup--something I am sure most places aren't brave enough to try. I remember seeing twice cooked pork on the menu...ordered it, and it came out as PORK BELLY. I knew I was in the right place since that's the right cut for twice cooked pork.

Curry is more a way of cooking vice a flavor. All different types of curries.

08-21-2003, 06:38 AM
Habeneros hottest pepper on the planet!!!:D

08-21-2003, 07:10 AM
Whats that chili sauce in the asian market with the green lid and the picture of a chicken on the front, thats got good heat and flavor.

08-21-2003, 11:22 AM
It's one of those small label hot sauces. Use moderately.

08-21-2003, 11:53 AM
a hole in the wall that serves QUITE authentic Szechuan food

Lucky baastard :D Funny, the greatest resturant I have ever eaten at was also a 'whole in the wall'. You gotta respect them holes

08-21-2003, 12:43 PM
there is something called "devil 666 sauce," I've only eatin it once...never will again.

Chang Style Novice
08-21-2003, 09:14 PM

Austin Hot Sauce Festival

08-22-2003, 08:07 AM
In rural Louisianna we used to use A&D Crystal hot sauce. Tabasco was sold to the townies and yankees.:D

norther practitioner
08-22-2003, 11:54 AM
I rural Louisiana that crystal sauce prob. had crystal meth in it...:D

Dinosaur hot sauce is kind of tasty
I'll have to go look in my cabinet.

08-22-2003, 03:57 PM
Chinese homemade chili old is very flavorful. It usually is made of lots of garlic, shallots, red hot chili peppers, etc... The oil is orange red and quite flavorful. There is one very nice store bought hot sauce called Guailin (?). It's one of the best tasting ones.

If you are a Thai food lover, pour some fish sauce in a bowl and cut up some little thai green chili pepper. It's really is an acquired taste thing but if you tried it and you will grow to love it. Foods don't taste the same without it. ;)


08-22-2003, 05:18 PM
so....... hungry......

08-22-2003, 06:22 PM
For eggs and soups I like Goya hot sauce.

Those Thai chilies are amazing!

08-23-2003, 09:42 AM
So..... hungry...... again.......

chen zhen
08-23-2003, 09:44 AM
Marinated shawarma in a Dürüm roll, with chilisauce & soft, smooth, hummus....

just trying to irritate Kristoffer:D

The Willow Sword
08-23-2003, 11:45 AM
I dont mind sharing this with you guys:

4 ripe tomatoes(cut em up in to chunks)

2 medium sized white onions(chop em up)

4 serrano peppers(roast them in the toaster oven till the skin gets a bit chared)

2 dried ancho chili peppers( boil them until the outer layer of skin can be peeled off and you have left the pulp. De-seed it also, and discard the seeds and the outer skin)

3 cloves of garlic(good size, NOT a whole bulb)
1 tsp of salt
a pinch of cumin
Combine all ingredients in to a blender or cuisinart and puree'.

now here is the trick. let this stuff settle and blend in naturally in the refridgerator.(a day)

its good shtuff:cool:

08-23-2003, 12:04 PM
Actually, that sounds rather good.

Never make my own hot sauce- but with chili, I'll usually use a thick beef steak, never hamburg.

What I do is pound a bunch of peppers into the meat first, let it set, then sear it, cut it up, etc. Not too shabby. :)

08-23-2003, 12:32 PM
Willow Sword's soure sounds Tex-Mexiciuos! :D

I also love Thai Green Curry with Chicken or shrimp. I have also tried an Indoneisian dish that is like this:

You pound some red hot chili peppers and smear it sparingly (seed and all) on a whole sardine. Add some sea salt and wrap it with some bananas leaves. Grill it. When you put the fish in your mouth, your tongue would immediately go num. That's the hottest stuff ever that I have ever tasted. You just tear and sweat. :o Thank God for ice water.

BTW, always help to have very sweet desert after.


The Willow Sword
08-23-2003, 01:20 PM
if you do make it and it seems as though it is too pastey. then just add a cup of the water you used to boil the ancho peepers in. it will be real dark and have that ancho taste.

As the thai green curry goes (gang Keow wan is what the Thai people call that) it is some good stuff. Thai food is my specialty.


10-30-2013, 01:45 PM
Yea, we totally need a thread here on hot sauce. This news item made me see our oversight. I'm not a big fan of Sriracha, but I will use it sometimes.

Southern California city: Odor from Sriracha chili sauce plant a nuisance (http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20131030/wire/131039987#page=1)
Sriracha chili sauce is produced at the Huy Fong Foods factory in Irwindale, Calif., on Tuesday, Oct 29, 2013. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
October 30, 2013, 9:28 AM

IRWINDALE — It looked like things were really starting to heat up for this little Southern California factory town when the maker of the Sriracha chili sauce known the world over decided to open a sprawling 650,000-square-foot factory within its borders.

Getting the jobs and economic boost was great. Getting a whiff of the sauce being made wasn't, at least for a few Irwindale residents. So much so that the city is now suing Huy Fong Foods, seeking to shut down production at the 2-year-old plant until its operators make the smell go away.

"It's like having a plate of chili peppers shoved right in your face," said Ruby Sanchez, who lives almost directly across the street from the shiny, new $40 million plant where some 100 million pounds of peppers a year are processed into Sriracha and two other popular Asian food sauces.

As many as 40 trucks a day pull up to unload red hot chili peppers by the millions. Each plump, vine-ripened jalapeno pepper from central California then goes inside on a conveyor belt where it is washed, mixed with garlic and a few other ingredients and roasted. The pungent smell of peppers and garlic fumes is sent through a carbon-based filtration system that dissipates them before they leave the building, but not nearly enough say residents.

"Whenever the wind blows that chili and garlic and whatever else is in it, it's very, very, very strong," Sanchez said. "It makes you cough."

Down the street, her neighbor Rafael Gomez said it not only makes him and his kids cough and sneeze, but gives them headaches, burns their throats and makes their eyes water.

If the kids and their dog are playing in the backyard, he brings them inside. If the windows are open, he closes them.

"I smelled it a half a mile away the other day when I was picking my kids up at school," he said.

The odor is only there for about three months, during the California jalapeno pepper harvest season, which stretches from August to about the end of October or first week of November.

"This is the time, as they are crushing the chilis and mixing them with the other ingredients, that the odors really come out," said City Attorney Frank Galante, adding Irwindale officials have gotten numerous complaints.

City officials met with company executives earlier this month and, although both sides say the meeting was cordial, the company balked at shelling out what it said would be $600,000 to put in a new filtration system it doesn't believe it needs. As company officials were looking into other alternatives, said director of operations Adam Holliday, the city sued. The case goes to court on Thursday.

"We don't think it should have ever come to this," Holliday said.

In one respect, Huy Fong is a victim of its amazing success.

Company founder David Tran started cooking up his signature product in a bucket in 1980 and delivering it by van to a handful of customers. The company quickly grew and he moved it to a factory in the nearby city of Rosemead. When it outgrew that facility two years ago he came to Irwindale, bringing about 60 full-time jobs and 200 more seasonal ones to the city of about 1,400 people.

He says his privately held business took in about $85 million last year.

His recipe for Sriracha is so simple that the Vietnamese immigrant has never bothered to conceal it: chili pepper, garlic, salt, sugar and vinegar.

"You could make it yourself at home," he told a visitor during a tour of the plant on Tuesday. But, he added with a twinkle in his eye, not nearly as well as he can.

The secret, he said, is in getting the freshest peppers possible and processing them immediately.

The result is a sauce so fiercely hot it makes Tabasco and Picante seem mild, though to those with fireproof palates and iron stomachs it is strangely addicting. Thirty-three years after Tran turned out his first bucketful, Sriracha's little plastic squeeze bottles with their distinctive green caps are ubiquitous in restaurants and home pantries around the world.

Even Galante, who is suing Huy Fong Foods, speaks highly of the sauce.

"It is a good product. The city has no issue with the product," he said. "They just want them to upgrade, as good neighbors, and not negatively affect the residents."

I'm a classic Tabasco (http://www.tabasco.com/) man, personally, although I used to be into this hot sauce called Scorned Woman (http://www.hotsauce.com/Scorned-Woman-Hot-Sauce-p/1130.htm).

10-30-2013, 05:58 PM
I'm a big Cholula hot sauce fan. It's great by itself but it's really awesome when mixed with ranch dressing and used on salads and chicken wraps. Yummy!!!

12-12-2013, 09:44 AM
Surely, this be one of the horsemen of the apocalypse.

Sriracha shortage? Maker says CA holding up shipments (http://www.nbcnews.com/business/sriracha-shortage-maker-says-ca-holding-shipments-2D11731682)
The Associated Press
15 hours ago

The maker of Sriracha hot chili sauce says it can't ship more of the sauce until mid-January because of California health department rules.

LOS ANGELES — The Southern California-based maker of Sriracha says it can't ship any more of its popular hot sauces to food distributors until next month because the state Department of Public Health is now enforcing stricter guidelines.

The Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday that Huy Fong Foods says the regulations require the sauces be held for 35 days before they are shipped.

Suppliers are already worried about the effect on their businesses because they won't be able to restock until mid-January.

The action is the company's second setback in recent weeks. It's being sued by the Los Angeles suburb of Irwindale for filling its air with eye-burning odors from its pepper-grinding sauce operation.

Last month, a judge ordered Huy Fong to stop producing the odors until air-quality experts can determine how to mitigate them.

Pepper grinding operations at the plant have concluded until next year.

01-03-2014, 10:11 AM
With the dry spell we've been having in California, we might have to ration water this year. Rationing water *and* Sriracha?! Times are tough. :(

Srirachapocalypse: Local Store Is Rationing Rooster Sauce (http://laist.com/2013/12/29/srirachapocalypse_hot_sauce_rationi.php)

Photo by jewelee208 via Instagram

Stop the chili paste presses: a Glendale market is limiting customers to one bottle of Sriracha each, just weeks after a judge ordered the company that makes the hot sauce to stop stinking up Irwindale.

HK Market, a Korean specialty grocer on Pacific Avenue in Glendale, has jugs of the embattled rooster sauce priced at $3.99, but with a bold black and white sign proclaiming "Limt 1 ea."

We called HK Market this morning and an employee said that the store is rationing Sriracha purchases because they're worried about running out, but wouldn't go into any further detail.

Whether this will be a wider trend remains to be seen. But just to be safe, we're going to go to Vons now and buy every single bottle on the shelf.

Sriracha maker Huy Fong Foods brews the beloved sweet-and-spicy chili paste at a factory in Irwindale. But after a chorus of local complaints that an overwhelming stench of fermenting chilis was ruining the neighborhood, a judge recently ordered the company to stop doing whatever it's doing that makes Irwindale smell bad.

Huy Fong, which started in Chinatown in 1980, sold over $60 million worth of the hot **** sauce last year alone.

05-21-2014, 08:50 AM
I can still find Sriracha as a condiment in many of the restaurants around here. I haven't gone shopping for it though as I don't use it at home. Is there really a shortage now?

Sriracha Factory Irritates Some California Noses, but Entices Politicians (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/14/us/sriracha-factory-irritates-some-california-noses-but-entices-politicians.html?_r=0)
By IAN LOVETT MAY 13, 2014
Politicians Enter Fight Over Hot Sauce

Credit Emily Berl for The New York Times

IRWINDALE, Calif. — Until a few months ago, Sriracha was a mere hot sauce, offering a spicy kick to eggs, soup, grilled cheese or a Bloody Mary.

But since this small, industrial city east of Los Angeles began taking legal action against the Sriracha factory here — responding to complaints from residents about the strong scent of chiles — this trendy hot sauce has turned from a culinary symbol into a political one for business leaders and Republicans who have long complained that California is hostile to industry.

“Why do you hate me?” David Tran, whose company makes Sriracha, asked at the last City Council meeting here. “Why do you want to shut me down?”

The Irwindale City Council could take a step toward doing just that on Wednesday, when it is scheduled to vote on whether to declare the Huy Fong Foods factory a public nuisance. The move, which would threaten the place where every bottle of Sriracha is made, follows a lawsuit the city filed last fall to try to force Mr. Tran to stop the smell from pervading local neighborhoods. A judge granted a preliminary injunction, but so far Mr. Tran has refused to take any action.

“I work face to the chile for 34 years,” said Mr. Tran, 68, who emigrated from Vietnam in 1979 and started making Sriracha in 1980 in a tiny warehouse in downtown Los Angeles. Born in the year of the rooster in the Chinese zodiac, he stuck the bird on his bottle. “Why am I still here?” he said in an interview. “Maybe I should have died already.”

To local residents, the problem with the Sriracha factory is one of overwhelming odors. When the factory is grinding chiles in the fall, the scent of red jalapeños — so sweet once bottled — blows through town like a malevolent wind. Residents say that the chile-laced air burns their eyes and noses, causes coughing fits, and forces them to take cover indoors.

But the prospect that officials may force the closing of Huy Fong Foods, which produces about 20 million bottles of the sauce each year, has taken people by surprise. The 650,000-square-foot factory employs about 70 full-time workers and around 200 during chile season, when up to 40 truckloads of fresh peppers arrive each day from Ventura County, north of Los Angeles. The chiles are ground that same day, part of a round-the-clock operation.

“We never thought it should get this far, frankly,” said Fred Galante, the Irwindale city attorney. “Since September, they really have not done a thing about it. We just wanted to avoid having the same problem come up again this year when they start grinding chiles again in August.”

But this is an election year, and the matter has escalated, with politicians from other states descending on Irwindale to promise a more welcoming environment to Mr. Tran if he is willing to relocate. Republican candidates in California have also seized on the plight of the popular hot sauce.

“Sriracha is a symbol of a much bigger and very unfortunate trend in California of businesses leaving and political leaders not seeming to care,” said Neel Kashkari, a moderate Republican running for governor this year against the Democratic incumbent, Gov. Jerry Brown. Mr. Kashkari added a button to his website that invites supporters to sign a petition to “Stand With Sriracha” (and to show their love of the sauce by donating $7 to his campaign).

Mr. Tran said he did not plan to move the operation elsewhere, not only because of the cost of building a new factory, but because he would have to find a new supplier of chiles.

“Other cities say, ‘Irwindale is not friendly, come to my city,’ ” he said. “Other states say, ‘California is not friendly, come to my state.’ Other countries say, ‘U.S.A. is not friendly, come back here.’ ”

Mr. Tran sighed, adding, “I’m not sure why the U.S.A. lets local government do stupid things like this.”

Despite the complaints from neighbors, Mr. Tran denied that the smell was a serious problem. He said that the factory was already equipped with air filters, and that he did not plan to make any changes until the city directed him in what to do. Mr. Galante, the city attorney, in turn, said Irwindale was “not in a position to tell them how to fix it.” He suggested that the company hire a consultant.

Instead, Huy Fong Foods has begun offering tours of its $30 million factory, which opened in 2012, in an effort to establish that the fumes are mild and harmless.

One neighbor, Lisa Cordero, 47, was out walking with a friend one night last fall when they both began coughing. Her friend asked if the fumes were toxic. “No, those are chiles,” said Ms. Cordero, who has asthma and recognizes the smell from her mother’s kitchen growing up. The two women cut their walk short.

Ms. Cordero said she kept her French doors shut, even on hot days, for the duration of the grinding season. “If you opened the door, you could smell it,” she said. “I was gagging over here.”

Recent Comments
6 days ago
I love this stuff! I hope something happens that will allow the maker of Saricha to continue his operations either in the existing plant or...

Mike H
6 days ago
So GOP shouts on "States Rights!" and "Local Control!" from the rooftops, and then when a city shows a little local discretion in response...

6 days ago
If (as noted in other comments) the complaints are coming from 4 or 6 households, the State should:- buy the homes- offer them to homeless...

California officials have implored the company to remain here. And The Los Angeles Times ran an editorial last month, with the headline “For California’s sake, Irwindale needs to save its Sriracha plant,” that accused the city of intransigence.

Democrats have defended the state as a good place to do business. Representative Tony Cárdenas, a Democrat from Los Angeles, offered up his own district if Mr. Tran decided to leave Irwindale.

“People criticize Los Angeles and California for being too regulated, but I don’t think this is about regulations pushing Sriracha out,” Mr. Cárdenas said. “The issue is that certain elected officials are not willing to be fair and honest with the business owner.”

Mr. Cárdenas is not the only one who has offered his district as a next destination for Sriracha. A coalition of Texas lawmakers arrived at the factory on Monday to make their case for expanding the business to Texas, if not relocating the entire operation. More Texas lawmakers are set to arrive next week.

“Sriracha may not be welcome in California, but you’d be welcomed with open arms and eager taste buds in Texas,” Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, posted on Twitter (though he was not part of the Texas delegation in Irwindale).

Mr. Tran acknowledges that the city has the power to shut him down, but he has not made any plans for what he might do if that happens.

“He’s very frustrated,” said Donna Lam, the executive operations officer for Huy Fong Foods and Mr. Tran’s sister-in-law. “I think a lot of people just see this as what it is. For him it’s something deeper — in his mind, he believes that they’re not all real problems.”

Mr. Tran seemed not to want to face the possibility of his factory’s closing.

“What can I do?” Mr. Tran asked. “Next season, you can come, and you get an answer about how strong the smell is.”

05-21-2014, 09:01 AM
I see them at stores, and it doesn't SEEM like there's a shortage.

I like it but only use it as a cooking ingredient. It's great that way. But if I use it as a condiment it makes my face itch for some reason.

05-21-2014, 09:27 AM
I can still find Sriracha as a condiment in many of the restaurants around here. I haven't gone shopping for it though as I don't use it at home. Is there really a shortage now?

Haven't tried this yet, but looks reasonable.

Thai Sriracha Sauce

¾ pound red jalepeno pepper, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1½ teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
⅓ cup distilled white vinegar

Place jalapenos, garlic, sugar, and salt in bowl of a food processor (or you can use an immersion blender to mix). Mix until chillies are very finely chopped, almost a paste. Transfer mixture to a clean jar, cover, and let sit at room temperature. Check jar each day for fermentation. You can tell fermentation is happening when little bubbles start forming at bottom of jar, about 3-5 days. Stir contents each day, continuing to let ferment until chillies are no longer rising in volume, an additional 2-3 days.

Then pour the chilli mixture to a blender, add in white vinegar, and puree until completely smooth, 1-3 minutes. Transfer to a mesh strainer and strain the mixture over a bowl, use a rubber spatula to push through as much pulp as possible, only seeded and larger pieces of chilies should remain in strainer. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until sauce thickens and clings to a spoon, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a glass jar and refrigerate.


05-21-2014, 07:16 PM
Tons of rooster where I'm at. They still shut down? I never noticed any sort of decline in stock.

05-21-2014, 08:01 PM
Busha Browne's Pukka Hot Pepper Sauce; w/ crushed scotch bonnet pepper is where it's at (Jamaican style.)

05-22-2014, 10:35 PM
Tons of rooster where I'm at. They still shut down? I never noticed any sort of decline in stock.

I love me some cock sauce. Oh, wait, that didn't come out right. :D Bwaahahahahaha!!!

Seriously though, I heard they were invited to move to Texas. I asked professor Google and found this.


BTW, there's still plenty of the rooster where I live as well. Just to be safe I think I'll buy a few extra bottles next time I'm at the store.

Edit: Just so y'all don't think I'm a total freak. This is the kind of cock sauce I'm talking about. Today's breakfast of champions. Spinach, egg, cheese on a whole wheat tortilla with some rooster to liven it up a little.


SoCo KungFu
05-26-2014, 04:45 PM
I think any shortage would depend on where you live really. But I find in most areas I've lived, this is too hot for most to buy. Which is good for me, because this is bare minimum for anything that may even begin to trigger my heat receptors. I don't think there will be any major shortage, Americans are pussies when it comes to spicy food. Now if I could find a good local supply of dried but jolokia...

I want to brew a ghost pepper and chocolate imperial stout....mmmm that will be delicious

05-28-2014, 08:53 AM
I want to brew a ghost pepper and chocolate imperial stout....mmmm that will be delicious

You've got balls that clank don't you? lol

I like some hot sauce but I don't go any where near the ghost pepper. Brutal!!!

05-28-2014, 07:56 PM
My father makes pepper vodka. I can't remember which pepper he uses. All I remember is that it kicked me in the face and now I won't go near it. So nasty. I can handle some spice, but from what I gather, my tolerance is nowhere near SoCos. I like the flavour more than the heat. It can be a bit much sometimes. I mean, it's not that I can't handle it(to a point), I just find it takes away from my enjoyment of the food after a certain level.

05-29-2014, 01:56 PM
California city votes to end hot sauce dispute (http://news.yahoo.com/california-city-votes-end-hot-sauce-dispute-053754655.html)
Associated Press
8 hours ago

IRWINDALE, California (AP) — The fiery fight is apparently over between the makers of a popular hot sauce and a small Southern California city that said its factory's smells were unbearable, after the Irwindale City Council voted to drop a public nuisance declaration and lawsuit against the makers of Sriracha hot sauce.

The dual moves Wednesday night brought an effective end to the spicy-air dispute that had Sriracha devotees worried about future sauce shortages and had suitors including the state of Texas offering its producer, Huy Fong Foods, a friendlier home.

The closed-session council vote was unanimous with one councilman abstaining due to a conflict of interest, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune (http://bit.ly/1tSfP9Z) reported.

Residents and business leaders praised the vote that some called overdue.

"Thank you so much for saving Irwindale because we were headed in the wrong direction," Irwindale Fred Barbosa, who lives in Irwindale, told the Tribune after the vote.

Bob Machuca of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. said the resolution showed California is "open for business" and is "what we needed to do a long time ago."

In this Tuesday, Oct 29, 2013, file photo, Sriracha chili sauce bottles are produced at the Huy Fong …

The city of about 1,400 people had been at odds with the company, which recently moved its main operations there, after residents complained last year of spicy odors burned their throats and eyes.

It wasn't immediately clear what prompted the council change its position, but the company had been asking the city for more time as it worked with regional air-quality officials on a plan to make the smell go away.

But city officials met behind closed doors Tuesday with company CEO David Tran and representatives of Gov. Jerry Brown's Business and Economic Development Office. Afterward Mayor Mark Breceda said he would ask the council to end the fight.

Tran, an immigrant from Vietnam whose company produces several chili sauces based on the flavors of his native country, said Tuesday that he installed stronger filters at the plant, and he's confident they will block fumes when the chili-grinding season begins in August.


Tabasco quietly releases its own sriracha hot sauce (http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2014/05/27/tabasco-quietly-releases-their-own-sriracha-hot-sauce/)
Published May 27, 2014

Will Tabasco's Sriracha out sell the original?Tabasco Country Store

The sriracha industry is on fire --and is about to get hotter.

Amid uncertainly about the future of sriracha hot sauce maker Hoy Fong Foods, family-owned McIlhenny Co., makers of Tabasco, quietly released its own version of the sweet and garlicky sauce.

According to the Tabasco Country Store website, the new “Premium Sriracha Sauce is a masterful blend of spicy, sweet and savory flavors, that is authentic to South East Asian cuisine.” Tabasco’s new sauce is currently only available through the company’s official online store.

So why release the hot product in secrecy?

GrubStreet is predicting that this is just a test run, and product or packaging is likely to change before a national roll-out. A company statement said that the new product is only a “limited edition.”

While the sriracha may be synonymous with Huy Fong Food and its signature green-capped bottle with the rooster label, the word sriracha can not be trademarked because it’s derived from Si Racha, the name of a city in Thailand, according to the L.A. Times. Trader Joe’s and several other companies have released similar sriracha sauces, but experts say McIlhenny Co. poses a real threat with their new product since their brand is a household name.

“They know there’s going to be a sustainable demand and they’re gearing up for it, so they become the known brand,” says Darren Tristano, a food industry consultant with Technomic told Time.

Tabasco Sriracha, at $4.99 for a 15 oz. bottle, its sauce is pricier than Hoy Fong’s that retails for under $3 for a 17 oz. bottle. I confess. I love tabasco. It's commonplace enough to find at just about any American diner, but still satisfying.

05-29-2014, 05:21 PM
Today's breakfast of champions. Spinach, egg, cheese on a whole wheat tortilla with some rooster to liven it up a little.

lol, I didn't notice the first time I saw this pic that you just mashed in a hard boiled egg. lol. Interesting.

I make that all the time(but scrambled egg), but I always make salsa, so I toss that in too. Nothin like fresh homemade salsa. You get that cilantro just right and.... wonderful. Maybe some fried potato if I have time. Good stuff.

05-29-2014, 06:27 PM
lol, I didn't notice the first time I saw this pic that you just mashed in a hard boiled egg. lol. Interesting.

I make that all the time(but scrambled egg), but I always make salsa, so I toss that in too. Nothin like fresh homemade salsa. You get that cilantro just right and.... wonderful. Maybe some fried potato if I have time. Good stuff.

:D Yep, once a week we boil a couple of dozen eggs for this, salads and other snacks. I used to slice them up real nice but somewhere along I just started smashing them up into the burrito. I like them scrambled also, but since we always have hard boiled eggs around it's just easier.

You aint kidding about the homemade salsa. We are still trying to dial that one in. That's a real art. Maybe you could share your recipe with ratios.

As my garden thread would indicate, I'm a nut for sweet potatoes. Have you ever fried them up like regular potatoes and used them in a breakfast burrito? YUMMY!!!

That's awesome about the nuisance suit being dropped. It appears the rooster shall be around a little while longer.

05-29-2014, 07:24 PM
You know, I just kind of wing it every time and it's never exactly the same twice. I like to use salt to take the moisture out of the tomatoes. You don't get the watery crap at the bottom, taking all your herbs and lime with it. You pretty much throw in a lil kosher salt with the diced tomato in a strainer and let it sit for awhile. How much depends on your taste and how long you are willing to let it strain. Everyone finds their own happy lil equillibrium on their own. I try different herbs to see what it's like, but honestly, my fav is just tomato(I like to use romas), onion (maybe shallot as well or in stead), cilantro(fresh of course), squeeze in some lime, maybe dice some peppers if it's convenient.

I don't think I have ever fried sweet potatoes. I love mashing them as a stand alone or in some casserole, sweet potato pie or whatever. Never tried the greens either. But I guess you just planted that seed, so... yeah.:p

05-29-2014, 07:41 PM
Oh, and sweet potato soup. Now that's some **** right there. My father makes this amazing curry paste. And some coconut milk... Tasty. Simple.

I like to let the food work for me. While I may experiment here and there, I don't really go crazy with the spices and all that. Although I do make a mean ass Ethiopian curry my ex taught me. Use it as a rub, or in soup, stir fry, whatever. Pretty versatile flavour.

I tried making the curry paste but my dad is so good at it, I just get him to make extra for me.

05-29-2014, 09:05 PM
Nice! Thanks for sharing!

We do just about the same process for the salsa so I guess we're basically trying to find that happy equilibrium. I'm sure I've said this before but your dad sounds like a cool cat.

I have to make a correction. I said fried sweet potato but I actually meant baked. We dice them and bake em in the oven with a little cinnamon and brown sugar, or just plain. We're not much into frying anything anymore. We mostly grill/smoke, poach, sauté or bake.

05-30-2014, 12:42 PM
Nice thread. My favorite hot sauces are made by El Yucateco. Their red, green and black habanero sauces are good, but to me the standout is the chipotle sauce. I prepare food only in order to have something to use that sauce on. It is dangerously addictive.

02-17-2015, 10:29 AM
I've been wondering about this. I thought it was a brand name and I see it on everything now.

With no trademark, Sriracha name is showing up everywhere (http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-sriracha-trademark-20150211-story.html#page=1)

David Tran, who operates his family-owned Huy Fong Foods out of a 650,000-square-foot facility in Irwindale, doesn't see his failure to secure a trademark for his Sriracha sauce as a missed opportunity. He says it's free advertising for a company that's never had a marketing budget. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
By David Pierson

Some of the biggest names in the food business are banking on the popularity of Sriracha
Sriracha's inventor says knock-offs give him free advertising; his sales keep growing
Sriracha was inspired by flavors from across Southeast Asia and named after a coastal city in Thailand

Wander down almost any supermarket aisle and it's easy to spot one of the food industry's hottest fads. Sriracha, the fiery red Asian chili sauce, has catapulted from a cult hit to flavor du jour, infusing burgers, potato chips, candy, vodka and even lip balm.

That would seem like a boon for the man who made the sauce a household name. Except for one glaring omission.

David Tran, a Vietnamese refugee who built the pepper empire from nothing, never trademarked the term, opening the door for others to develop their own sauce or seasoning and call it Sriracha.

That's given some of the biggest names in the food business such as Heinz, Frito-Lay, Subway and Jack in the Box license to bank off the popularity of a condiment once named Bon Appétit magazine's ingredient of the year.

Restaurant chains and candy and snack makers aren't buying truckloads of Tran's green-capped condiment emblazoned with the rooster logo. Nor are they paying Tran a dime in royalties to use the word "Sriracha" (pronounced "see-RAH-cha").

"In my mind, it's a major misstep," said Steve Stallman, president of Stallman Marketing, a food business consultancy. "Getting a trademark is a fundamental thing."

Tran, who now operates his family-owned company Huy Fong Foods out of a 650,000-square-foot facility in Irwindale, doesn't see his failure to secure a trademark as a missed opportunity. He says it's free advertising for a company that's never had a marketing budget. It's unclear whether he's losing out: Sales of the original Sriracha have grown from $60 million to $80 million in the last two years alone.

"Everyone wants to jump in now," said Tran, 70. "We have lawyers come and say 'I can represent you and sue' and I say 'No. Let them do it.'"

Tran is so proud of the condiment's popularity that he maintains a daily ritual of searching the Internet for the latest Sriracha spinoff.

He believes all the exposure will lead more consumers to taste the original spicy, sweet concoction — which was inspired by flavors from across Southeast Asia and named after a coastal city in Thailand. Tran also said he was discouraged to seek a trademark because it would have been difficult getting one named after a real-life location.

That hasn't stopped competitors from scratching their heads.

Tony Simmons, chief executive of the McIlhenny Co., makers of Tabasco, said Tran's Sriracha sauce was the "gold standard" for Sriracha-style sauces, which has largely come to mean any dressing that packs a piquant punch of chili paste, vinegar, garlic and sugar.

Simmons was reassured by his lawyers that Tabasco would have no problem releasing a similar sauce using the name Sriracha.

"We spend enormous time protecting the word 'Tabasco' so that we don't have exactly this problem," Simmons said. "Why Mr. Tran did not do that, I don't know."

There are now a slew of sauces on the market labeled Sriracha, including variations by Frank's Red Hot, Kikkoman and Lee Kum Kee.

The category has helped ignite U.S. hot sauce sales, which have jumped from $229 million in 2000 to $608 million last year, according to Euromonitor.

"What we're seeing among consumers is demand, not just for heat, but more complex, regional flavors," said Beth Bloom, a food and drink analyst for Mintel. "With Sriracha, Huy Fong introduced a new style and a whole new category of hot sauce."

Although Taco Bell and Pizza Hut are some of the latest national brands to experiment with their own Sriracha seasoning in tacos, nachos and pizza sauce, it's Tabasco's that has Tran admittedly sweating.

"My 'rooster killer' jumped into the market," said Tran, borrowing a description he saw on a food blog. "They're a big company. They have a lot of money and a lot of advertising."

Simmons isn't counting on toppling Sriracha any time soon.

"Mr. Tran got an awful big head start," he said.

After a limited release, Tabasco will distribute its Sriracha sauce nationwide sometime in the first quarter of this year, Simmons said.

It may be too late for Tran to successfully argue that the trademark belongs to him.

Two dozen applications to use the word have been filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. None has been granted for Sriracha alone. The word is now too generic, the agency determined.

"The ship has probably sailed on this, which is unfortunate because they've clearly added something to American cuisine that wasn't there before," said Kelly P. McCarthy, a partner and expert on brand protection and trademark issues at the law firm Sideman & Bancroft.

Variations of the popular hot sauce Sriracha are appearing in stores, and creator David Tran can't stop them.

She said it's not uncommon for popular products to lose their trademarks because they've become "genericized," such as Otis Elevator Co.'s use of "escalator" and Bayer AG's loss of "aspirin."

Tran's attorney isn't so sure the same applies to Sriracha.

Rod Berman, who was primarily retained 10 years ago to tackle counterfeiters, thinks many consumers still associate Sriracha with Huy Fong. He cited the mountain of publicity, films and growing sales as evidence.

"My instinct is to want to go after the people that used the Sriracha name," said Berman, an intellectual property lawyer who has represented the Los Angeles Lakers, Pom Wonderful and Nordstrom.

But that's not realistic, he says, especially for a medium-size company like Huy Fong.

"Large companies, the Mattels and Disneys of the world, try to protect everything and have the budget for that," Berman said. "With smaller enterprises like Huy Fong, you have to pick and choose."

That's why Tran has gone after knockoffs of Huy Fong's Sriracha from China. Unlike the name, Tran trademarked his rooster logo and distinctive bottle.

At the same time, Tran has signed licensing agreements with a handful of specialty producers such as Rogue, which brews a Sriracha hot stout beer packaged in a red bottle and green cap to look like Huy Fong's signature sauce, and Pop Gourmet, which makes a Sriracha popcorn and will soon release a Sriracha seasoning spice.

Even with these partnerships, Tran doesn't charge any royalty fees. All he asks is that they use his sauce and stay true to its flavor.

"I wanted to bring people the real stuff," said David Israel, chief executive of Pop Gourmet in Kent, Wash.

The Sriracha popcorn is the company's No. 1 seller, and Israel has high hopes for the new seasoning, which took nine months to develop.

For the Rogue stout, Sriracha is added during the fermentation process. The beer quickly sold out.

"We could have gone and just used Huy Fong's sauce, but we also wanted to use their name" and logo, said Brett Joyce, president of the Newport, Ore., company.

Randy Clemens, author of "The Sriracha Cookbook" and "The Veggie-Lover's Sriracha Cookbook," said the licensed products preserve Huy Fong's flavor, unlike the mass-market efforts.

"A little kick, but to put Sriracha in the title is a little disingenuous," Clemens said. "What makes the original so great is that it's bold and kicks you in the face."

Tran agreed his imitators fall short in flavor and spice, but like the trademark, he isn't losing any sleep over it.

"David is fine with that since in some indirect way, we will still reap the benefit of the word 'Sriracha' being used," said Donna Lam, Tran's longtime deputy. "We seem to be the best-known Sriracha out there, and everyone seems to use our brand as the gold standard. If anything, we are proud we started the Sriracha craze."


02-17-2015, 10:40 AM
Cholula, or... I forgot. Cholula is good. Tabasco is too vinegary.

Completely agree. I was going to type it, but you beat me to it. Love that stuff, feel the same way about Tabasco. Not bad on an oyster, but not my favorite general purpose sauce.

03-24-2015, 01:43 PM

05-04-2015, 10:52 AM
Taco Bell Will Launch Limited-Time Extra-Hot Sauce Packets (http://consumerist.com/2015/04/23/taco-bell-will-launch-limited-time-extra-hot-sauce-packets/)
By Laura Northrup April 23, 2015

https://consumermediallc.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/11157368_10153303666854697_326525863504354187_o.jp g?w=680&h=680
(Taco Bell)

Do you like to slather your Taco Bell meals with hot sauce, but find the chain’s standard packets insufficiently hot? Great news: super-hot sauce, which they’re calling “Diablo,” will be available from Taco Bell beginning on May 5. The not-so-great news for hot sauce fans is that the new sauce is only temporary.

This isn’t the first novel hot sauce product that we’ve heard about in recent months: Taco Bell has also reportedly been testing tortilla chips on a hot sauce theme in some markets. Those chips in “Diablo” flavor would probably be tongue-scorchingly delicious, but it seems unlikely that Taco Bell would produce any.

We don’t know how limited the availability of Diablo sauce will be, so you should probably grab handfuls of it and write a letter to the company if you don’t like it. Slathering some on a breakfast biscuit taco would certainly wake you up in the morning.
How hot could this be? Taco Bell hot sauce is weak.

10-18-2016, 03:45 PM
UCSF: Man ate a pepper so hot it tore a hole in his esophagus (http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/He-ate-a-pepper-so-hot-it-burned-a-hole-in-his-9980516.php)
Ben Guarino, The Washington Post Updated 11:58 am, Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A ghost pepper's heat is described in terms normally reserved for carpet bombings. Its heat is measured at 1 million units on the Scoville scale, a per-mass measure of capsaicin - the chemical compound that imbues peppers with heat - that until recently was a world record. Peppers that pass the 1 million mark are called superhot; as a rule they are reddish and puckered, as though one of Satan's internal organs had prolapsed. To daredevil eaters of a certain stripe, the superhot peppers exist only to challenge.
When consumed, ghost peppers and other superhots provoke extreme reactions. "Your body thinks it's going to die," as Louisiana pepper grower Ronald Primeaux told the AP in October. "You're not going to die."

Photo: Doug Cannell/Getty Images
The ghost pepper, also known as naga jolokia or bhut jolokia, measures over 1,000,000 Scoville Units (a jalapeño is about 5,000).

But, demonstrated by a rare though severe incident at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center, reported recently in the Journal of Emergency Medicine, superhot peppers can cause bodily harm. A 47-year-old man, unnamed in the case study, attempted a super-spicy feat - eating a hamburger served with a ghost pepper puree - and tore a hole in his esophagus.
Ghost peppers were first grown in India, where they are known as bhut jolokia. A seed from the pepper can cause a mouth to smolder for up to a half-hour. On YouTube, faces broken by the "ghost pepper challenge" devolve into tears, runny noses and hiccups.
The Washington Post's Tim Carman described eating a pea-sized chunk of the pepper, sans seeds, in 2012. "It was as if my head had become a wood-burning oven, lighting up my tongue and the interior of my skull," he wrote. "Milk provided little relief, until the burn began to subside on its own about 10 minutes later."
Feel the burn: 9 things to know about hot peppers Photo: Courtesy
Primeaux, who hopes to claim the world's hottest title through cultivating his Louisiana Creeper variety, said, "When you put one of these in your mouth, it's a whole 'nother ballgame," in his interview with the AP. "A bear is chasing you. You've just been in a car wreck. You just got caught speeding, and a cop is giving you a ticket."
For the 47-year-old man whose esophagus was damaged, though, ingesting the pepper burger was less a bear chase and closer to an attack. As physicians at the University of California at San Francisco reported in the case study, he consumed the burger and attempted to quench the heat in his mouth with six glasses of water. When that failed the man began to vomit, which gave way to abdominal pain. He dialed emergency help.
At the emergency department, he received Maalox and painkillers. After his condition worsened, doctors moved him to the operating room, where they discovered a "2.5-cm tear in the distal esophagus," about one inch, as the case report authors noted. The force of the vomiting and retching led to a rare diagnosis of Boerhaave's syndrome; these spontaneous tears in the esophagus can be fatal if they are not diagnosed and treated.
In this case, surgeons were able to repair the man's throat. "He remained intubated until hospital day 14, began tolerating liquids on hospital day 17," they wrote, "and was discharged home with a gastric tube in place on hospital day 23."
The researchers concluded the case study with a warning.
"Food challenges have become common among social media, including the infamous cinnamon challenge," they wrote, referencing the spice fad that was popular in early 2012. (When eating a heaping spoonful of cinnamon went wrong, it led to emergency calls and at least one collapsed lung.)
"This case serves as an important reminder of a potentially life-threatening surgical emergency that was initially interpreted as discomfort after a large spicy meal."

Brutal. If it does this to your throat, imagine what the next day would be like. :eek:

08-15-2017, 09:13 AM
...but hardcore nonetheless. :eek:

LOOK: Brave contestants try to eat as many chillies as possible while bathing in bowl of pepper juice (http://shanghaiist.com/2017/08/14/chili-eating-contest.php)


What better way to celebrate the summer than by chowing down on some red hot chili peppers while basking inside a giant bowl of murky pepper juice?


That appears to be the logic some foodies used when joining an unusual competition in Hunan's Ningxiang county over the weekend in which they put their taste buds and pain tolerance to the test.


continued next post

08-15-2017, 09:15 AM
In the end, the winner managed to gulp down 15 chilies in just one minute.


While winning the competition may have given the guy the title of China's "Chili King," we all know who that really is.


[Images via NetEase / ChinaNews]

Pepper oil can cause skin burns (which is why it can hurt on the way out the next day). This seems really ill-advised to me.

10-18-2017, 09:25 AM
There's an embedded vid if you want to see that aerial view.

Sea of red as China’s chilli heartland celebrates a bumper harvest (http://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/2115071/sea-red-chinas-chilli-heartland-celebrates-bumper-harvest)
Aerial footage shows vast swathes of land in the west covered with peppers as farmers collect hundreds of thousands of tonnes
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 October, 2017, 4:30pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 October, 2017, 4:30pm


Alice Yan

Aerial footage shows off a sea of red across the far west of China as local chilli farmers celebrate a bumper autumn harvest.

Xinjiang is one of China’s major chilli growing areas, with a total planting area of 40,000 hectares.
Its annual production of 250,000 tonnes of dried chillies accounts for one fifth of the national total production, according to China Central Television.
Local cuisine makes the most of the region’s bounty, with signature dishes that include the hot and peppery dapanji, or “big plate chicken”.
This spicy stew is made with chicken, chillies and potatoes, with hand-pulled noodles added to the remaining gravy midway through the meal.
One of the biggest chilli production bases is Anjihai Town, nicknamed China’s chilli hometown, which produces around 25,000 tonnes of chilli by itself.
Drone footage showed long lines of harvested chilli peppers laid out of the ground around Anjihai.
From the ground the sea of red appeared to stretch as far as the eye could see.

Farmers built a Communist Party flag out of their crop. Photo: CNR

One group of local farmers used some of the chillies to form a Communist Party flag that measured 35 metres long and 19 metres wide – which was only a small part of the total area covered by the harvest.
Farmers said the chilli industry was helping to improve their standard of living.
“We planted 3.3 hectares of chillies this year, and we had a good harvest.
“Total returns are expected to amount to 170,000 to 180,000 yuan (US$25,800-27,300),” said Zhao Lihong, a chilli grower from Anjihai, told CCTV.


01-09-2018, 09:44 AM
WTH? First a ketchup package (http://www.kungfumagazine.com/forum/showthread.php?69250-Ketchup&p=1306700#post1306700), now a pepper? Clearly some people just never learned how to eat properly. :rolleyes:

Chinese woman discovers she had chilli pepper stuck in her lung for six years (http://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/2127474/chinese-woman-discovers-she-had-chilli-pepper-stuck-her-lung-six)
Woman unaware of the cause of her fevers and breathing problems until a full hospital check-up, Chinese newspaper reports
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 09 January, 2018, 4:05pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 09 January, 2018, 4:05pm


Catherine Wong

A woman who suffered from fevers and breathing problems for six years discovered she had swallowed a 3cm-long chilli pepper which was lodged in one of her lungs, according to a newspaper report.

The cause of the woman’s ailments finally came to light after she went for a check-up at a hospital in Tongchuan in Shaanxi province, the China Business View reported.

The woman, 41, whose full name was not given, went to hospital last week after experiencing severe headaches and breathing difficulties.

Luo Lifeng, a doctor at the hospital, was quoted as saying he tried to take the chilli out of her right lung after putting a probe inside.

Chinese woman in hospital with stomach ache after she swallows spoon while eating noodles

He then decided he would have to operate instead as the lower part of the lung was already severely infected. Doctors successfully removed the chilli pepper last week, according to the article.

Doctors said swallowed foreign bodies in the airways were common in children aged under five, but rare in adults.

Luo was quoted as saying the woman probably inhaled the pepper while she was eating a meal.

01-20-2018, 01:13 AM


Song Zuying, China's premier Soprano is a high ranking member of the Communist Party! Watch your step comrade.

《辣妹子》 Spice Girl

A fun and popular folk song

辣妹子辣辣妹子辣......................She is hot, she is hot,
辣妹子辣妹子辣辣辣....................She is hot, she’s hot hot hot,
辣妹子从小辣不怕......................Born a Fearless Girl,
辣妹子长大不怕辣......................Become a Fearsome Woman
辣妹子嫁人怕不辣......................Only afraid of a passionless love,
吊一串辣椒碰嘴巴......................If you play with this pepper you're going to get burned,
辣妹子从来辣不怕......................She has never feared spice,
辣妹子生性不怕辣......................She was born to love spice,
辣妹子出门怕不辣......................She was only ever afraid of going out with no spice,
抓一把辣椒会说话......................Pluck up your courage if you dare speak in her presence,
辣妹子辣妹子辣妹子....................She is hot, she is hot,
辣妹子辣妹子辣妹子哟..................She is hot, she is hot, yo.
辣妹子说话泼辣辣.......................Her words are sharp,
辣妹子做事泼辣辣.......................Her actions bold,
辣妹子待人热辣辣.......................She will welcome you warmly,
辣椒帮她走天下..........................Chilli gives the spice of life,
辣出汗来汗也辣呀汗也辣................She sweats chilli, sweats chilli ,
辣出泪来泪也辣呀泪也辣................She cries chilli, cries chilli,
辣出火来火也辣呀火也辣................She spits fire, and the fire is hot,
辣出歌来歌也辣 歌也辣.................She sings of chilli, the song is hot!

The song describes a (泼辣) bold and vivacious woman; strong is mind, spirit and deed (从小...不怕). She exudes (出汗) a passion that spreads beyond herself; others caught in her path cannot but be overtaken by it. At the end of the song, 汗、泪 and even 火 are more akin to the English “blood, sweat and tears.” There’s fire in her blood; it moves her--unconditionally--to be a force of passion in the normally drab world of our, under heaven (天下)

Unknown Chinese Spice Girl 2016


03-02-2018, 06:58 AM

It is because of the Kung Fu Magazine Forum that I tried Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce. Though my mouth did not catch on fire it was an interesting take on chili sauce. I was not expecting the sweetness. Though I would prefer more spice than sweetness, that is just me. I would say that Sriracha pretty much stands on its own and I really appreciate the experience.


04-10-2018, 07:43 AM

04-10-2018, 10:54 AM
That's good information to have. I had no idea that kind of thing could happen from eating a pepper.

I thought I liked really hot, peppery foods, but I recently found out there are limits. I tried out some Paqui Ghost Pepper chips. Well, they are the genuine article alright, but I realized they were a bit too much for me. I got upset stomach pains and maybe even a headache. Although not nearly as bad an effect as the guy got from eating the world's hottest pepper, I discovered I'm not as hot spice-tolerant as I thought I was.

04-10-2018, 12:27 PM
I tried some of those Pagui Ghost Pepper Chips too. They were on sale when I was grocery shopping and I was hungry (never shop for groceries when hungry). As I was driving home, I tore into those feckin chips and they scorched me. I had to pull over because my eyes were tearing so bad that I couldn't drive. I only ate a few chips, then spent the rest of the day trying to convince my family to try one, just to validate my experience (or at least not feel so wimpy). Now I know why those were on sale. :o

05-15-2018, 08:39 AM
Yes I would try a shot.
No I don't think it will be good.

This Tabasco Whisky Will Make You Forget All About Fireball (https://www.foodandwine.com/news/george-dickel-tabasco-whisky)

https://imagesvc.timeincapp.com/v3/mm/image?url=https%3A%2F%2Fcdn-image.foodandwine.com%2Fsites%2Fdefault%2Ffiles%2F styles%2Fmedium_2x%2Fpublic%2F1526328555%2Fgeorge-dickel-tabasco-barrel-finish-1-FT-BLOG0518.jpg%3Fitok%3D1j6jagHb&w=800&q=85
George Dickel teamed up with the hot sauce brand for this pepper barrel-aged whisky.


Sure, there are quite a few cocktails that incorporate a splash of hot sauce—Bloody Marys and Micheladas come to mind. And when it comes to whisky, if spicing things up was your jam, you could always opt for a cinnamon whisky, including the infamous Fireball brand. But one of America's classic whisky distillers is kicking it up a notch with the help of one of America's classic hot sauce makers as Tennesee's George Dickel launches a Tabasco Barrel Finish whisky in collaboration with Lousiana-based McIlhenny Company's Tabasco brand, which celebrates its 150th anniversary this year.

The whisky is aged for 30 days in barrels sourced from Tabasco which are used to age the peppers used in the iconic red sauce. Then actual Tabasco sauce is distilled into an essence and blended into the batch. The final product apparently offers imbibers a 70 proof whisky with a spicy kick with a smooth finish.

The company recommends enjoying the Tabasco-flavored whisky as a shot with a celery salt-rimmed glass, with pickle juice, or with an ice chaser. If you're wondering how well a "Hot Dickel" will be received by the distilling community, apparently the spiced-up whisky also won a gold medal at the 2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

“George Dickel Tennessee Whisky and Tabasco are two of the most iconic brands the South has to offer for a reason—the craftsmanship that goes into creating these products is the real deal,” Jeff Parrott, Director of American Whisk(e)y Development at Diageo (George Dickel's parent company), said in a statement. “Both brands have such a rich history, and we’re proud to collaborate with our friends at McIlhenny Company to marry their unique flavor with our quality Tennessee whisky.”

George Dickel Tabasco Barrel Finish is hitting shelves nationwide this month, and will retail for $24.99 for a 750-milliliter bottle, but will also come in 50-milliliter and one-liter sizes.

Let's talk Whisky! (http://www.kungfumagazine.com/forum/showthread.php?59392-Let-s-talk-Whisky!)
Hot Sauce! (http://www.kungfumagazine.com/forum/showthread.php?66863-Hot-Sauce!)

12-18-2018, 05:20 PM
Tourists compete to see how many chilis they can eat in 1 minute inside pepper-filled hot spring (https://shanghai.ist/2018/12/10/look-tourists-compete-to-see-how-many-chilis-they-can-eat-in-1-minute-inside-pepper-filled-hot-spring/)
The winner gulped down 20 peppers, could you do any better?
by Alex Linder December 10, 2018 in Gallery


With snow falling across the country, what better way to warm up than by stuffing yourself with chili peppers inside of a hot spring pool?

Over the weekend, a scenic area outside of Jiangxi’s Yichun city held a competition where brave tourists took a seat inside some pepper-filled pools and tried to gulp down as many chilis as they could in a minute.

The winner was one young woman who managed to eat 20 peppers in 60 seconds, earning herself the title of “Spicy Queen.”

Though, she is far from China’s most impressive pepper-eater. Earlier this year, a scenic spot in Henan province held a similar competition where the winner somehow managed to eat 50 chilis in one minute and not die immediately afterward.

There are many places on my body where I don't want immersed pepper oils. :eek:

01-21-2019, 09:14 AM
In Home Of Original Sriracha Sauce, Thais Say Rooster Brand Is Nothing To Crow About (https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2019/01/16/681944292/in-home-of-original-sriracha-sauce-thais-say-rooster-brand-is-nothing-to-crow-ab)
January 16, 20194:49 AM ET
Heard on Morning Edition

Sriraja Panich is the brand name of one of two Sriracha sauces created by Saowanit Trikityanukul's family. The family sold the brand to Thaitheparos, Thailand's leading sauce company, in the 1980s. The brand has struggled to gain a foothold in the U.S., where the Huy Fong Rooster brand of Sriracha, created by Vietnamese-American David Tran, reigns supreme.
Michael Sullivan/for NPR

Sriracha sauce. It's everywhere. Even beer and donuts. The fiery chili paste concocted by Vietnamese-American immigrant David Tran has conquered the American market and imagination in the past decade.

But the original Sriracha is actually Thai — and comes from the seaside city of Si Racha, where most residents haven't even heard of the U.S. brand, which is now being exported to Thailand.

I decided to go to the source to get the dirt on the sauce, and sat down with 71-year-old Saowanit Trikityanukul. Her grandmother was making Sriracha sauce when David Tran was still a baby, in what was then South Vietnam.

"If my grandmother was still alive today, she'd be 127 years old," Saowanit says, sitting in her garden in Si Racha, (the preferred anglicized spelling of the city's name) overlooking the Gulf of Thailand. She remembers helping her grandmother in the kitchen as an impatient 9-year-old.

"My job was to mix all the ingredients together. But I wasn't very happy doing it and I didn't really pay attention. I regret that now," she says. "Because I could have learned a lot."

Saowanit Trikityanukul, 71, remembers helping her grandmother make Sriracha sauce when she was a child.
Michael Sullivan/for NPR

Her grandmother is widely credited with being the first to make and sell the sauce. But Saowanit says it was really her great-grandfather, Gimsua Timkrajang, who made it first. Family lore says he traveled a lot on business to neighboring Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos and noticed they all had different sauces — sweet, salty, sour — but nothing that combined all three.

"So, my great-grandfather got an idea that he wanted to make one sauce that went along with all Thai foods," she says, "very creamy and different from other sauces."

And he got it. Not that it was easy making it. Saowanit remembers one batch that took weeks, even months, to prepare.

"We had to prepare the ingredients like pickled garlic, so we had to peel the garlic to make sure it was good," she says. "And the the chilis had to be perfectly red. And then the salt — my grandmother would only choose the big chunks and boil it, then filter and strain it ... and leave it in the sun until it dried."

The family originally made the sauce just for themselves and their friends. Then her grandmother's sister and brother started selling their own versions in Si Racha, where its harmonious blend of chilis, garlic, salt and vinegar appeals to both locals and tourists from nearby Bangkok. But the family never patented the name.

"We didn't want to keep it to ourselves," she says, adding that it wasn't much of a secret anyway — the ingredients were there on the side of the bottles for everyone to see. Soon there were dozens of imitators in Si Racha and beyond. Including, eventually, the Terminator of Srirachas, David Tran's famous Rooster brand.

"He saw an opportunity and made his own business," she says. She doesn't begrudge him his success, but "why do they have to use our name? "Champagne is one kind of drink. Sriracha is one kind of sauce."

And the American version is very different from what's made here, she says. I've brought along a half-dozen local favorites for her to try, blindfolded, along with a bottle of the American interloper. She works her way through the Thai versions. Surprise! Her two favorites are the ones originally made by her grandmother's siblings.

Gimsua Timkrajang, shown seated in this undated photo, was the first to make Sriracha sauce, according to his great-granddaughter. The sauce gets its name from Si Racha, the family's seaside hometown in Thailand.
Michael Sullivan/for NPR

I'm still impressed, though, that she can tell them apart blindfolded. They taste exactly the same to me. When it comes to the Rooster brand? After a tiny spoonful, she draws a sharp breath.

"It's not tasty," she says, taking a sip of water. "It's not mixed together properly. There's only one taste." Saowanit says a proper Sriracha sauce needs to be what Thais call klom klom — the hotness, the sour, the sweet and the garlic all blending together seamlessly, none overpowering the other. The American version, she says, just brings heat.

I test her theory at a nearby restaurant where the lunchtime crowd is digging into their food. They seem surprised to learn there's an American Sriracha. Tanpatha Punsawat is first on the spoon. "It's hot," she says carefully. "Very hot."

But is it good, I ask?

"It's OK," she says politely. ( Loosely translated, her facial expression was "ugh.") Her dining companion, Chuwet Kanja, tries next, rolling the Rooster around in his mouth. "No good," he says, making a face. "When I first tasted it, I wanted to gag. Too bitter. It's not klom klom." I give him a spoonful of the leading Thai brand. He smiles and gives it a thumbs up. Order restored.

Reactions like these haven't stopped importer Super Ting Tong from bringing the Rooster Brand to Thailand. And it's showing up on more and more tables at upmarket eateries and on supermarket shelves in the capital, Bangkok.

"You know, it's not an overnight success, but that's OK, we're working more on the slow and steady progression," says Robert Booth, one of the founding partners of Super Ting Tong, who says the company has imported two container loads of the Rooster brand to Thailand in the past year and change. That's about 60,000 bottles — enough to convince the company to order more. Super Ting Tong is a tongue-in-cheek name that roughly translates as "Super crazy" in Thai. And Booth admits the idea of importing Sriracha to Thailand has been met with some resistance.

"You occasionally run into some people who have very strong views about the Rooster brand not being the original Thai Sriracha, mostly the kind of angry Facebook trolls you would expect, " Booth says. "But, given the love of spicy sauces and spicy foods in Thailand, I think there's more than enough room to incorporate a new player in the market."

Leading Thai manufacturer Thaitheparos, which bought the Sriraja Panich brand from Saowanit Trikityanukul's family over 40 years ago, knows about slow starts. It has been exporting their Sriracha to the U.S. for more than a decade. It hasn't been pretty.

"We try to tell people we're the original Sriracha from Thailand," says Varanya Winyarat, deputy managing director of Thaitheparos. "But when Americans try Sriracha sauce, they try the Vietnamese-American one first, so they think the taste should be like that."

She's frustrated and thinks maybe her father, who runs the company, should shell out more money for advertising and a new distributor. "Now we only sell in Asian supermarkets. We have to go mainstream," she says.

"I think I have to educate them first what the sauce should taste like," she says, adding, "you have to educate them about the basics of the taste first. Then I think they would understand. "

She's not worried about the American Sriracha eating into market share here—"Thai people understand the real taste," she says, almost dismissively.

But she admits David Tran's Rooster brand has already crushed her hopes of conquering the U.S. market. But Varanya and export manager Paweena Kingpad say world Sriracha domination may still be in sight because of strong sales in another global Sriracha superpower: China.

"China is a big market for us — the biggest market, 100,000 bottles a month," Paweena says.

When asked why their brand is doing so well in China, the two women look at each other and smile. "Because Asian people know how to eat," Varanya says, giggling.

Game on, Rooster.

Interesting especially in context of this earlier article (http://www.kungfumagazine.com/forum/showthread.php?66863-Hot-Sauce!&p=1280817#post1280817).

05-10-2019, 08:37 AM
i can't even...:confused:

Hot pot flavored toothpaste goes on sale in China! (https://shanghai.ist/2019/05/10/hot-pot-flavored-toothpaste-goes-on-sale-in-china/?fbclid=IwAR2jSyOObR3jXvg4519RMkCGcTrl2PRaZwz1eSwL cVD7YkUkWFsC5OqMMd0)
Unfortunately, it was just a limited-edition run
by Alex Linder May 10, 2019


Want to preserve that spicy tingle from eating hot pot even after brushing? Have we got just the product for you!

A Chinese toothpaste company named Leng Suan Ling (冷酸灵) has partnered with hot pot chain Xiao Long Kan (小龙坎) to release a line of limited-edition hot pot-flavored toothpastes which come in three flavors: “medium-spicy,” “Sichuan-spicy,” and “absurdly-spicy.”


Unfortunately, you won’t be able to find these products at your local FamilyMart.

Over the first two or three days after they went on sale, 3,957 sets were reportedly sold online. There were then advertised to be a mere 300 left which appear to have now been quickly bought up for prices as low as 30 yuan ($4.40).


Alas, it appears that this revolution in toothpaste flavoring was essentially an effort at cross-promotional hype. Suppose we’ll have to stick to our traditional Chinese-made toothpastes flavored with tea and poison.

I will never understand China (http://www.kungfumagazine.com/forum/showthread.php?62318-I-will-never-understand-China)
Hot Sauce! (http://www.kungfumagazine.com/forum/showthread.php?66863-Hot-Sauce!)

05-24-2019, 09:40 AM
I can't even imagine how to brush your teeth with hot pot flavored toothpaste. But probably it could be an interesting experience. It is a pity that I did not get it.

06-03-2019, 08:21 AM
The sriracha story is such a great American success story.

The story of sriracha: how a hot sauce launched by refugee from Vietnam spawned a food empire (https://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/food-drink/article/3011438/story-sriracha-how-hot-sauce-launched-refugee-vietnam-spawned)
Contrary to popular belief, Huy Fong’s sriracha is an American-made spicy sauce with Thai roots, invented by Chinese-Vietnamese refugee David Tran in 1980
Tran began by delivering his product personally across California. Today his sauce business is worth US$80 million
Alkira Reinfrank
Published: 7:00am, 24 May, 2019

A bottle of Huy Fong’s famed hot sauce in the Asian food section of a New York supermarket. Photo: AlamyA bottle of Huy Fong’s famed hot sauce in the Asian food section of a New York supermarket. Photo: Alamy

When Sriracha fanatic Griffin Hammond first visited the Huy Fong Foods factory, where his beloved hot sauce is made, it took his breath away – literally.
“The smell inside the jalapeno grinding room was unbearable. I was wearing a mask but my eyes were watering, my nose was running. I could barely breathe,” the 34-year-old American filmmaker says.
More than 45 million kilograms (100 million pounds) of jalapenos are ground up each year to produce Huy Fong Foods’ legendary sriracha hot sauce, lauded for its spicy kick, vinegary tang and garlicky aftertaste. Recognised the world over for the white rooster on its label, this ubiquitous sauce, which first tantalised taste buds in 1980, has developed a cult following.
From fans getting tattoos of the bottle and personalising car number plates after it, to astronauts on the International Space Station taking it into orbit, never has there been a condiment with such a loyal fan base. Heat seekers are known to add it to almost any dish – drizzling it on pizza and sushi; mixing it into bowls of pasta or pho.
Easily spotted on the tables of Asian restaurants in the West, it is a common misconception that the “rooster sauce” – with its bottle covered in traditional Chinese characters and Vietnamese writing – is made in Asia. It’s also not produced by a Thai: the spicy sauce owes its success to soft-spoken Chinese-Vietnamese refugee David Tran.
“Americans don’t realise it is actually made in America. And that’s why I wanted to tell the story,” says Hammond, who went on a journey across two countries to make a documentary about the American-made hot sauce.

A young David Tran, who launched Huy Fong Foods’ sriracha hot sauce. Photo: Griffin Hammond.

Huy Fong’s sriracha hot sauce is made in a factory in Irwindale, California. Tens of millions of bottles fly off its conveyor belts every year, yet demand often outpaces supply.
Tran left the country of his birth in 1979, at a time when people of Chinese ancestry were being persecuted in the wake of the Sino-Vietnamese war.
He and his family sailed on a freighter called the Huey Fong bound for the British colony of Hong Kong. The ship spent 30 days in Hong Kong waters before the colonial authorities allowed it to dock; the Tran family were later given asylum in the US.

Huy Fong’s factory in Rosemead, California. Photo: Griffin Hammond

When they first arrived in Boston, Tran missed the food from home, like many immigrants at the time, and struggled to find fresh chillies. When his friend told him they grew in California, he moved with his family to Los Angeles.
“He just needed a job and found this niche where lots of Vietnamese immigrants in LA wanted hot sauce. So he started making the sauce and people liked it. He was pouring it by hand into glass bottles and delivering it personally [across California in his blue Chevy van],” says Hammond, who spent time with Tran at his factory while filming his 2013 short documentary, Sriracha.
What started in 1980 as a one-man operation on the outskirts of LA’s Chinatown soon grew into the empire it is today. Now in his 70s, Tran still oversees the US$80 million business named after the freighter which carried him on the first stage of his new life.

Tran arrived in Hong Kong on the Huey Fong as a Chinese-Vietnamese refugee. He later named his famous hot sauce company after it. Photo: Courtesy of Griffin Hammond.

“I had nothing when I came to America. I had my wife and children to look after,” Tran says. “I saw peppers and I started making the sauce. All I needed was US$2,000 a month. But I earned more than [that] in my first month. I did nothing special but make chilli sauce. What I got was way beyond what I have ever asked.”

continued next post

06-03-2019, 08:23 AM

Huy Fong Foods also produces sambal oelek, a spicy paste, and chilli garlic sauce, but its sriracha is still by far the biggest seller, with the factory churning out 12,000 bottles an hour to keep up with demand.
This is quite a feat for a company that has never bought advertising for its products, instead creating a food empire based solely on word of mouth. This has not stopped diehard fans creating dozens of their own adverts and songs dedicated to their favourite hot sauce on YouTube.

People in Si Racha [Thailand] were surprised to hear that sriracha, the namesake of their town, could be popular across the ocean
Griffin Hammond, filmmaker
While Huy Fong’s product is the most recognisable sriracha sauce in the West, it is by no means the only one on the market, nor was it the first. “Sriracha” is a generic name for a Thai hot sauce believed to have originated in the beachside town of Si Racha, on the east coast of Thailand.
There are numerous brands selling their own version of sriracha sauce in Thailand and, like ketchup, the flavour varies. But at its core sriracha contains chilli peppers, vinegar, garlic, sugar and salt.
“Some sriracha sauces are sweeter, some are more spicy, some are more sour. It depends on the producer,” says Titima Runguphan, founder of the Thai Culture Association in Hong Kong.

A selection of the many sriracha brands available. Photo: Griffin Hammond

The Si Racha district of Chonburi province is known for its chillis and seafood, Titima says. And Thai people love to tuck into fresh seafood served with a healthy dash of sriracha on the side, or an omelette over rice that’s smothered in it.
It is unclear who invented the much-loved sauce, but one of the country’s most popular variants, Sriraja Panich, brands itself the “original” sriracha sauce.
Sriraja Panich was invented in 1949 by a woman named Thanom Chakkapak. The story goes that she made it for friends and family in Si Racha using local chillis and garlic, and so named her product after the town. Seventy years later, Sriraja Panich is owned by food company Thaitheparos.

Filmmaker Griffin Hammond made the short documentary sriracha in 2013. Photo: Griffin Hammond

Recently it tried to crack the US market dominated by Huy Fong’s sauce, but to no avail. It has since shifted focus to China, after Thaitheparos’ vice-president saw fake versions of the sauce on Chinese shelves a few years ago.
To a connoisseur of Huy Fong’s variant, Sriraja Panich will taste slightly sweeter, less spicy, and have a thinner consistency than the American favourite – but that’s the way the Thais like it.
“[Huy Fong’s sriracha] doesn’t have layers. Thai people, we emphasis layers of taste; you have to have sweet, you have to have sour and you have to have saltiness … to suit the Thai taste. So maybe [Huy Fong’s spicy sriracha] … is suitable for Chinese people or Westerners, but for Thai people they would prefer the Thai recipe,” Titima says.

Griffin Hammond checks on the progress of jalapenos growing in Ventura County, California, for use in Huy Fong’s sriracha sauce. Photo: Griffin Hammond

While there is much debate as to which brand can lay claim to the tastiest sriracha sauce, one thing is for sure: if you live outside Thailand, you’re probably pronouncing its name incorrectly.
Sriracha has three syllables: see-RAH-cha. The first ‘R’ in sriracha is silent. “Although we spell it with an ‘R,’ it is not pronounced because it is something in Thai language that we call a false cluster,” Titima says.
Hammond travelled to Si Racha on his journey to discover the origins of the hot sauce, and says locals were amused to find that a version of it was so popular in the US.

Jalapenos growing in California. More than 45 million kilograms of the spicy peppers are ground up for Huy Fong’s sriracha sauce each year. Photo: Griffin Hammond

“There’s a common misconception in many places outside the US that Americans don’t like hot things. And so people in Si Racha were surprised to hear that sriracha, the namesake of their town, could be popular across the ocean,” he says of the sauce, which he uses daily.
As for Sriraja Panich, while he is a fan, Hammond is not going to be changing his hot sauce allegiances any time soon. “Yes, [Huy Fong’s sriracha] is still a better sauce for my American palate, I suppose,” he says.
Back in America, Huy Fong Foods remains a family-run business, with Tran’s son the company’s president and his daughter its vice-president. Despite his success, Tran has no plans to cash in on his good fortune.

David Tran at the Los Angeles factory. Photo: Griffin Hammond

“My dream is fulfilled. I don’t want anything else,” he says. “My goal was never to make money. I asked for little. Do not do things for the money; you won’t succeed.”
As for why there is a rooster on the front of the bottle, it is because Tran was born in the Year of the Rooster, according to the Chinese zodiac – a bold symbol for a man behind one of America’s boldest sauces.

Additional reporting by Yang Yang
This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: When the spice is right

I can't even imagine how to brush your teeth with hot pot flavored toothpaste. But probably it could be an interesting experience. It is a pity that I did not get it. haaaaaaa. yeah, i feel ya.

07-16-2019, 03:31 PM
That's gotta burn...

Jalapeño farmer wins $23.3 million in heated dispute with Sriracha maker (https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-sriracha-lawsuit-underwood-ranches-20190712-story.html)

https://ca-times.brightspotcdn.com/dims4/default/8624737/2147483647/strip/true/crop/2048x1366+0+0/resize/840x560!/quality/90/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fca-times.brightspotcdn.com%2F2f%2Ffc%2F45393c06b41b15 88f8d4cf17a143%2Fla-1562944221-04za8m2eaf-snap-image
Craig Underwood of Underwood Ranches tosses jalapeño peppers into the air in a Ventura County field where they are grown.(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

JULY 12, 2019 12:58 PM

After the collapse of a nearly 30-year partnership with the maker of the world-famous Sriracha sauce and a multimillion-dollar lawsuit with the company, Craig Underwood is still betting on his farm’s peppers.

A jury recently awarded $23.3 million to Underwood Ranches after a bitter lawsuit with Huy Fong Foods Inc., the manufacturer of the wildly popular Sriracha in the signature green-capped bottle. The family-owned Underwood farm was once the exclusive supplier of the chile peppers at the core of Huy Fong’s rooster-labeled sauces.

The trial, which began in early June, came to a close last week when a civil jury determined that Irwindale-based Huy Fong breached its contract with the chile grower and committed fraud by intentionally misrepresenting and concealing information.

“It certainly isn’t our nature to give up. We felt we had been wronged, so we were hoping we could right that through the court,” said Underwood, who manages the Camarillo farm. “When the verdict came down, there was a lot of celebrating. We celebrated at lunch. We celebrated at dinner. And then we celebrated the next day.”

Underwood said it was an emotional moment because the dissolution of the relationship with Huy Fong had hit the grower’s finances hard.

In 1968 — when Underwood returned home to work on the farm with his father after studying agriculture at Cornell University and serving three years in the U.S. Navy — Underwood Ranches was farming on 400 acres. At the peak of its production harvesting peppers for Huy Fong Foods in 2014, it had spread out to 4,000 acres.

The business partnership flourished until the fall of 2016, when Huy Fong demanded Underwood Ranches return more than $1 million the manufacturer said was overpaid to the farm for growing costs, according to court documents.

Historically, Huy Fong would prepay Underwood Ranches for the estimated costs associated with growing and harvesting the chiles. The agreement was “partly oral, partly written and partly established by the parties’ practice,” court records show.

By January 2017, the relationship had soured to the point that the parties stopped working together.

The next month, Huy Fong Foods filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court, which later was moved to Ventura County, where Underwood’s business is located. The grower filed a cross-complaint in February 2018, alleging that Huy Fong caused the breach in the partnership and that as a result, Underwood Ranches sustained more than $20 million in losses.

https://ca-times.brightspotcdn.com/dims4/default/59a5cf5/2147483647/strip/true/crop/2048x1366+0+0/resize/840x560!/quality/90/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fca-times.brightspotcdn.com%2F62%2F25%2F1bc0633f5a5d46 fd0e028b889f55%2Fla-1562944279-uj8gjv6o0k-snap-image
The Underwood farm was once the exclusive supplier of jalepeño peppers for Huy Fong Foods' Sriracha.(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

In ruling in favor of Underwood Ranches, the jury granted $14.8 million for financial losses it sustained in 2017 and 2018. The $1.5 million overpayment sought by Huy Fong was deducted and awarded to the Sriracha maker. Underwood also was awarded $10 million in punitive damages.

Michael Martin, a lawyer representing Huy Fong, said the manufacturer’s legal team plans to fight the decision.

“Obviously, we disagree with the verdict. We’re going to challenge it post-trial in motions and then ultimately on appeal,” Martin said. “As far as the financial impact of the verdict on the client, the company is going to continue to conduct business as usual.”

Underwood said that now that the suit is over, his team just wants to get the farm back to normal.

“The aftermath of the breakup has been really hard. All of a sudden, we had 1,700 acres and nothing to grow on it,” Underwood said, adding that the grower had to lay off 45 people. “We’ve had a lot of support from suppliers, our lender and people who work for us. We wouldn’t have made it otherwise.”

Looking ahead, Underwood Ranches is still planning for its peppers to sustain the farm.

“When our relationship with Huy Fong fell apart, we didn’t know what we were going to do on the farm. But we’re pepper growers,” Underwood said. “So after a while, we just thought, ‘Why don’t we make our own line of sauces?’”

The sauces — including Underwood’s own version of Sriracha — started selling about a month ago in farmers markets in Ventura County as the farm shifts its focus from creation to distribution.

David Tran, who founded the Sriracha manufacturer after fleeing Vietnam, said Underwood’s new sauces are an attempt to put the company out of business.

“Unfortunately, rulings during the trial prevented Huy Fong from fully advising the jury of these things,” Tran said in a statement.

https://ca-times.brightspotcdn.com/dims4/default/42e02c5/2147483647/strip/true/crop/2048x1324+0+0/resize/840x543!/quality/90/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fca-times.brightspotcdn.com%2F09%2F61%2Ff74e77ca879f7c 28d09a6c4718e3%2Fla-1562944347-2ygteuct05-snap-image
Underwood Ranches now has its own line of hot sauces, including a Sriracha sauce.(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Meanwhile, Huy Fong Foods is now receiving its chiles from other growers in California, New Mexico and Mexico, said Donna Lam, an executive at the company.

And at Underwood Ranches, onions, cilantro, basil and other crops now fill the plots where the peppers for Huy Fong Foods once grew.

Those peppers will always be what he’s most proud of, said Underwood, whose family has been farming in Ventura County since 1867. They’re what he said he’s fought the most for and what he hopes will carry the farm forward.


Alexa Díaz
Alexa Díaz is an audience engagement editor for the Los Angeles Times.

08-02-2019, 12:07 PM

Uproar in China after study suggests eating chilli is linked to dementia (https://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/3020195/uproar-china-after-study-suggests-eating-chilli-linked-dementia)
Sample of Chinese people aged over 55 who ate at least 50 grams of chilli a day had a higher risk of memory loss
Research generates a storm on social media platform Weibo, with over 300 million views
Ann Cao
Published: 2:21pm, 26 Jul, 2019

Dietary guidelines in China suggest no limit for chilli consumption. Photo: Handout

Eating chilli may be linked to a decline in cognitive function and an added risk of dementia, a study has found, causing a stir on Chinese social media.
The study, published in the journal Nutrients in May, was conducted by five researchers from universities in Qatar, Australia and the United States. Based on data collected from 4,582 Chinese people aged over 55 during a 15-year period, it concluded that chilli intake was inversely related to cognitive ability.
Those who ate more than 50 grams of chilli a day had more than double the risk of poor memory, and a 56 per cent higher risk of suffering memory loss, the study found.
The cognitive decline was greater among people of average weight than among those who were overweight, it found.
However, the way in which chilli intake might cause cognitive decline remained unknown, the researchers noted.
The researchers’ previous study suggested that eating chilli had beneficial effects by being inversely associated with mortality, obesity and hypertension.
“Chilli consumption was found to be beneficial for body weight and blood pressure in our previous studies,” Dr Zumin Shi, one of the five researchers, wrote. “However, in this study, we found adverse effects on cognition among older adults.”
The study generated huge interest among chilli lovers on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like platform, when it was posted on Wednesday by Chinese website Pear Video. The topic received more than 300 million views, with some chilli lovers standing firm and others expressing disbelief.
“Chilli undermines my memory, but I can’t live without it,” one user said.
“Sichuan and Hunan people would disagree [with the findings],” another commented.
In certain regions, including the provinces of Hunan in central China and Sichuan in the southwest, almost one in three adults consume spicy food such as chilli pepper on a daily basis, according to a study published in 2015 in medical journal The BMJ.
Jiang Zhuoqin, a nutrition professor at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, said there was no need for Chinese people to eat less spice based solely on the latest study.
Dietary guidelines in China – in common with some other countries, including the US – suggest healthy limits to salt and sugar intake, but no such limit for chilli, Jiang said, adding that chilli flavouring is not the dominant factor determining mental health.
Jiang questioned the robustness of the study on the basis that it did not consider varying degrees of chilli consumption in different regions.
“People in the regions that consume chilli heavily, including Sichuan and Hunan, do not appear to be less smart than those in other areas,” he said.
This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Social media hot over dementia link to eating chilli

01-30-2022, 02:05 PM
Big Hot Sauce Wants More Hot Sauce (https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2022-mccormick-franks-cholula-hot-sauce-supremacy/)
Spice king McCormick’s acquisitions of Frank’s RedHot and Cholula give it the edge to own “the next ketchup.”
By Austin Carr
January 26, 2022, 5:00 AM PST

Aisle A3-7, the condiments section of the Walmart Supercenter north of Baltimore, might as well be a theater of war. Shelves of rival ketchups, mustards, mayonnaises, and dressings stand at attention, ready to bombard taste buds. The fight isn’t only about flavor, of course, but also about branding. There’s the classic red coat and bold-black lettering of Heinz, the stout blue-and-white Hellmann’s jar, the proud yellow bottle of French’s. Cheaper, healthier, and perhaps tastier options are available, but these iconic products, conjuring familiar and delicious memories, most often prove victorious at checkout.

Minutes up the road, at McCormick & Co.’s headquarters in Hunt Valley, Md., Chief Executive Officer Lawrence Kurzius has been plotting to send reinforcements to Walmart’s shelves, which accounted for 12% of McCormick’s $5.6 billion revenue in 2020. The 132-year-old company is best known for the crimson-capped seasoning and herbs sold up the aisle, in A12, Walmart’s spice section. But Kurzius, looking for growth beyond spices, has been aggressively targeting the hypercompetitive condiments business. In recent years his company has bought up French’s mustard, Stubb’s barbecue sauce, and Frank’s RedHot, a Louisiana-style pepper sauce that’s been dousing Buffalo wings since the 1960s.

The addition of Frank’s, in particular, was a coup. Acquired with French’s in 2017 for $4.2 billion, it’s the biggest hot sauce in the U.S. (ahead of Tabasco) in the hottest condiment category, according to researcher Euromonitor International. Globally, hot sauce sales are up 54% since 2015, to about $5 billion, with China’s Lao Gan Ma—a savory chili oil that’s huge in Asia and has a cult following in the U.S.—outselling both Frank’s and Tabasco worldwide. Kurzius, who’s gotten in on the trend himself, dumping the stuff on his eggs and even injecting it into his Thanksgiving turkey, wanted more than a stake in a growth market. He wanted total world hot sauce supremacy. And so, just two years after the Frank’s deal, he set his sights on another powerhouse in the space: Cholula.

Cholula, then No. 3 in the U.S. after Tabasco and Frank’s, had grown popular thanks to its distinctive rounded-wood cap and piquancy, which makes it spicier than Frank’s but just mild enough for American tastes. (On the Scoville Heat Unit scale of hot sauce hotness, Cholula scores as high as 2,000 SHUs, a bit less than a jalapeño pepper.) Brand-wise, Cholula also offered an authenticity to McCormick that Frank’s and its 900 SHUs seemed to lack, even if the made-in-Mexico sauce was actually owned by a Connecticut-based private equity firm, L Catterton, and run by executives in Stamford.

Kurzius’s mergers-and-acquisitions team had been meeting with L Catterton over tea and Zoom since mid-2019 to feel out what a sale could look like. Things got more serious when L Catterton put Cholula up for auction in September 2020. Naturally, there was competition: A slew of food conglomerates went after the brand, including Kraft Heinz Co., according to two people familiar with the negotiations. If McCormick was to become Big Hot Sauce, it would have to fight off Big Ketchup first. Kurzius asked McCormick’s board for *permission to make a cannonball offer that would clear the field of competitors. Director W. Anthony Vernon, who’d been CEO of Kraft Foods before it merged with Heinz, says the board’s response was blunt: “Go get it.”

McCormick’s $800 million bid beat out Heinz that November. “When I read that, I said, ‘Oh my gosh! That’s a lot of red peppers!’ ” recalls Luis Saavedra Jr., chief operating officer of Tapatío, a family-run rival to Cholula based in Southern California. Between Frank’s and Cholula, Kurzius suddenly controlled about a third of the U.S. market, according to Euromonitor, with lots more room to expand.

McCormick already has wholesale relationships with many of the world’s largest retailers and restaurant chains through its condiments and spice business, the same international network of buyers who are now adding Cholula bottles and squeeze packs to their bulk orders. “They want to see their hot sauce on every tabletop in the world,” says Sharif Rod, who previously oversaw Cholula’s Latin America exports. “It’s the next ketchup.” (Kraft Heinz spokesperson Jenna Thornton declines to comment on the Cholula deal, but notes that the company’s “Taste Elevation platform” is experiencing significant growth. She points to advances such as Buffaranch, a spicy buffalo sauce mixed with ranch dressing. “Our innovation agenda is beginning to take hold,” Thornton says.)

McCormick’s turmeric production line in Cockeysville, Md. Photographer: Chris Gunn for Bloomberg Businessweek
McCormick’s hegemonistic ambitions were catalyzed, in part, by the Covid-19 era. Although its sales to restaurants declined in 2020, revenue from consumers shot up in the early months of the lockdowns as shoppers frantically replenished their pantries. Overall, customer purchases of McCormick products at U.S. stores jumped 55% in the spring quarter of last year, a wild swing for a company accustomed to single-digit growth and known for selling your grandmother a tiny jar of paprika once every couple of decades. The company, which reported record annual sales growth on Jan. 27, has seen its stock soar to all-time highs during the pandemic. It’s worth roughly double what it was in 2016, when Kurzius took over.

To keep the growth going, he’s betting on products you might not even realize McCormick owns or touches. That includes seasonings and condiments sold in stores, but also the foods and drinks that McCormick develops for PepsiCo Inc. and other food brands. The company won’t comment on which convenience-store concoctions it’s had a hand in, but sources familiar with the operation, who requested anonymity to speak candidly about the secretive industry, say McCormick has helped craft top-sellers including Bud Light Lime and Cool Ranch Doritos. Just weeks after the Cholula deal, Kurzius pushed deeper into this world by acquiring FONA International LLC, a flavor manufacturer, for $710 million.

“Not until Lawrence did McCormick go after these bigger acquisitions to put it on the map as a major food player,” says Vernon, adding that the company’s goal is to evolve beyond “vanilla McCormick,” a reference to the company’s formerly restrained approach as well as its extract business. That means going up against the likes of Kraft Heinz and Hellmann’s, owned by Unilever Plc, to invade more grocery aisles. “I remember saying to Lawrence: ‘We’re in an arms race with far bigger players with far deeper balance sheets,’ ” Vernon says. “ ‘How do we ensure this doesn’t get away from us?’ ”

At the start of 2020 things did seem to be getting away from McCormick. That January, Kurzius flew to China for a trip that included an uneasy Lunar New Year celebration at the company’s Shanghai office. “There were probably 1,000 people in that room,” he recalls. “Everybody was toasting and shaking hands.” The chatter among the crowd was about the dangerous new virus that had appeared in Wuhan, home of a McCormick subsidiary, Wuhan Asia-Pacific Condiments Co. “Our China leadership team was really scared,” Kurzius says.

The situation grew worse after he got home to Maryland. McCormick’s three factories in China, where seasonings to be sold in the country are mixed and packaged, were unable to reopen after the holidays because of lockdowns, threatening sales in the company’s second-largest market. McCormick’s supply chain is vast, with about 14,000 raw materials procured from 80 countries, including China. The entire ecosystem—farms, factories, shippers—was imperiled as the pandemic gathered force. So was its food-service business; restaurant sales had historically accounted for a fifth of revenue.continued next post

01-30-2022, 02:06 PM
From February to early March, McCormick’s stock price lost over a quarter of its value. But then store sales took off. After Purell and toilet paper, panic buyers went for groceries. In the week ended March 15, consumer purchases of those vanilla vanilla products shot up 54%. “It was like Thanksgiving and Christmas, with the amount of baking going on,” Kurzius says. Retail sales of broths and recipe mixes (such as taco or chili seasoning kits) more than doubled. The following week, it was all about Frank’s and French’s, with sales leaping 90%.

Some of the enthusiasm was about stockpiling, but Kurzius says the stay-at-home era brought a cultural shift. A generation was suddenly trying to learn how to cook for the first time. “On our Ask McCormick helpline, we got the most basic questions you can imagine,” he remembers. “No lie: We’d get questions like, ‘What is a teaspoon?’ ”

The sales growth, which continued into the summer, further strained the company’s supply chain. To triage, Kurzius suspended hundreds of less popular items, some of which are now permanently discontinued. (R.I.P. Grill Mates Carolina Gold sweet & tangy seasoning.) The company hired an additional 1,400 workers. Some factories moved to 24/7 production. This was partly about meeting demand, but it was also a way to adapt to Covid safety protocols that required workers to be spaced apart from one another and do additional cleaning and sanitation during shift changes.

There was only so much that could be done. Whereas electronics giants try to cultivate multiple sources of components in case of geographic bottlenecks, McCormick is ultimately dependent on an extensive network of farms in places such as Indonesia, which supplies most of the world’s cinnamon, and Turkey, home of the bay leaf. “We can’t move the equator,” says Donald Pratt, managing director of McCormick’s global ingredients subsidiary. Complicating matters, the sales volatility made forecasting a nightmare. “It was taking analysts hours to make sense of the signals,” he recalls.

Then came the great turmeric crisis. The Indian spice has taken off among Instagram foodies who herald its antioxidant powers. Sold as a ground powder, turmeric has become a rare hashtag-worthy hit among McCormick’s red-capped seasonings. It’s also responsible for the bright yellow color in French’s mustard. When McCormick’s U.S. turmeric supply started running critically low around grill season—blasphemy in the land of the Ball Park Frank—in part because ocean freight was so overburdened, the company’s sourcing group had to charter an emergency cargo plane full of the stuff to the French’s factory in Springfield, Mo. Unfortunately, the plane was somehow erroneously directed to Maryland, forcing McCormick to hire truckers to transfer the goods overnight, a 1,000-mile drive, in time for a scheduled production run.

McCormick’s distinctive red caps. Photographer: Chris Gunn for Bloomberg Businessweek

The turmeric production line in action. Photographer: Chris Gunn for Bloomberg Businessweek
U.S. stocks of jarred turmeric were running out, too, due to extreme demand, leading McCormick to fast-track a sample from a different Indian supplier in late July. The partner, who already supplied turmeric to McCormick’s European markets, promised it could add enough capacity for the Americas. But it still needed to go through stateside auditing to ensure its spices met U.S. Food and Drug Administration import standards and had the right color consistency to mix properly with local ingredients. “Uniformity is super important,” says Zoe Wood, a global buyer for McCormick based in the Cayman Islands. “We don’t want red-capped turmeric sitting on the shelf next to different-colored turmeric.”

With many employees working remotely and McCormick research labs operating with a skeleton crew, a company scientist in Maryland had to test the color palette of the new turmeric in her home kitchen after rifling through her cupboards for materials she could use as control samples. Wood logged into a videoconference with the scientist to see that she’d put together “a lovely dinner plate” of mayo, the new supplier’s exported powder, and McCormick’s original ground turmeric for comparison. She was swirling them into the mayonnaise in yellowy blobs to make sure they resulted in the same hue. “She’s like, ‘This is a match, perfect, we can make this work,’  ” Wood says. The scientist’s thumbs-up allowed the sample to jump the queue at McCormick’s backlogged lab, where it was soon tested and approved for levels of curcumin, its main chemical component. After it passed the lab work, McCormick placed a large order with the Indian supplier on Sept. 15.

With U.S. mustard reserves secured, the company announced results for its third quarter two weeks later. Consumer sales were up 15% from the same period in 2019, but down from the prior quarter’s 26% bump. Analysts wondered whether the pandemic gains were decelerating and would prove to be fleeting or whether the continued double-digit growth represented a new normal.

Kurzius judged the bottle of hot sauce half-full. It was time to go after Cholula. “There were a number of opportunities we had to do more boring things, like shore up our capital structure,” he says. “But we thought if we take this on now, we can really blast it out in food service when we get past this crisis and restaurants start to reopen.”

Beyond the Red Cap
A recent history of McCormick’s notable acquisitions

Old Bay
1990 $12.5m*
2008 $604m
2015 $100m
Frank’s RedHot and French’s
2017 $4.2b
2020 $800m

International brands
Ducros (France)
2000 $379m
Kamis (Poland)
2011 $286m
DaQiao (China)
2013 $145m

*According to an estimate reported by the Baltimore Sun continued next post

01-30-2022, 02:07 PM
Colleagues say Kurzius’s calls for change are animated by his reverence for The Power of People, written by the late Charles P. McCormick. C.P., as he’s known, was the nephew and successor to Willoughby McCormick, who started in the business in 1889 by making root beer and fruit syrups in a Baltimore cellar. The operation grew. He acquired a Philadelphia-based spice company and, according to early 20th century advertising circulars, expanded into manufacturing mustard flour, blood purifier, cold cream, witch hazel, cream of tartar, liver pills, castor oil, and something called eye water.

The company boomed through the 1920s. After the Depression (and Willoughby’s death in 1932), it was C.P. who rebuilt McCormick and orchestrated acquisitions of seasonings and extracts companies that transformed McCormick into a global spice empire. C.P.’s now-out-of-print business book, published in 1949, includes a chapter on defeating communism; jarringly, its paperback cover featured a mushroom cloud pluming over the planet, apparently a reference to his description of the inventiveness of future generations as “atomic.” The book captures C.P.’s unusual flair for leadership, detailing how he erected a model grocery store at McCormick’s offices so executives could compare packaging designs with those of competitors. He cut weekly production hours from 56 to 45 while raising wages by 10%, which unexpectedly boosted output.

Most lasting was his organizational philosophy of “multiple management,” a bottom-up approach that had McCormick create mini-boards of directors among factory operators and junior employees. The premise was to build a pipeline for ideas that higher-ups might otherwise ignore. The policy led to the decision to replace 5% of production shifts with tea breaks—tea was another product line, and C.P. argued that caffeinated workers would be more productive—and to kill a plan for a rooftop neon sign that would cost $4,000 a year to light. But the larger goal was to stop McCormick from growing stale, like forgotten sage, an implicit criticism of his uncle, who C.P. felt never understood the company’s full potential. He decried “deadheads” and “yes men” who “degenerate into a fixed, self-perpetuating group.”

Subsequent CEOs, including C.P.’s son Buzz, tried to carry this structure forward, with varying degrees of success. A 1990 Fortune story noted that a turnaround at the company from the preceding decade was primarily because of Buzz “freshening the look of its products by replacing the familiar red and white tins with clear plastic bottles”—like the ones consumers recognize today. It was also the result of a pricing war with a now-vanquished Australian rival—and an unlawful pricing scheme in which McCormick allegedly offered grocery chains big discounts in exchange for as much as 90% of the spice-aisle shelf space. (The company agreed to settle antitrust charges brought by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission in 2000 without admitting wrongdoing.)

Kurzius gives out C.P.’s book to new board members, keeps the old man’s top hat on display, and is still friends with 93-year-old Buzz. He joined McCormick through its 2003 acquisition of Zatarain’s, maker of Cajun seasonings and microwaveable gumbo, where he was CEO. A marketing veteran of Quaker Oats and Uncle Ben’s, he then rose through McCormick’s executive ranks, becoming chief operating officer in 2015. With a Vincent Price mustache and buttoned-up manner, the 63-year-old often wears a blank expression in meetings that can make employees second-guess themselves. “He takes copious notes in this monster book and writes in 0.01 font, so even if you’re sitting beside him, it’s impossible to read,” says Angela Francolini, the former head of consumer strategy. “I remember thinking, ‘What are you writing?!’ ” (A corporate spokesperson responds: The notebook “is not huge. In fact, it’s pretty small.”)

Kurzius disliked it when McCormick was referred to as a mature business dependent on its legacy red-capped portfolio. The company had a history of expanding through mergers, including the 1990 purchase of Baltimore’s beloved Old Bay seafood seasoning and the $604 million deal to acquire rival Lawry’s in 2008. But Kurzius didn’t think the moves were bold enough. A shareholder presentation he co-authored in 2010 called for McCormick to go after more emerging markets and “deliver fewer, bigger” new products.

“There’s a company out there that would love to have a Doritos knockoff, right? Where do those flavors come from? Don’t know. Can’t say”
Buying Frank’s hot sauce and French’s mustard, the latter then a declining brand, from Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc was one of Kurzius’s first big moves after taking over the top job. “We had looked at some larger acquisitions over the years but never pulled the trigger,” he says.

McCormick’s analysts saw that French’s still had life and that Frank’s could help the company capitalize on millennial love for low-calorie heat. Noah Chaimberg, founding hot sauce sommelier of the retailer Heatonist, notes that the food trend is as much about culture as flavor. Mexican cuisine had exploded in popularity, and there’s an audience of aspiring chili sommeliers in the millions who tune into Hot Ones, a YouTube show where guests answer questions over scorching wings. But as competing bids drove the price for the two brands above $3 billion, Vernon, the board member, says there was “bedwetting” among his fellow directors. At one point, he asked Kurzius whether he was getting in over his head. Kurzius vowed “to win this,” Vernon recalls, and promised to deliver a return on the investment faster than the skeptics thought feasible. The deal closed in August 2017.

The following year, consumer store sales of French’s dropped 3.1%, slightly smaller than the previous year’s decrease. Sales rose in 2019, and French’s stayed in its dominant position, with 12% of the $2 billion global mustard market, according to Euromonitor. This was a consequence, Kurzius says, of McCormick’s distribution muscle, defending French’s from “being pushed around the shelf” by mustards sold by Heinz and Hellmann’s. Retail consumption of Frank’s, meanwhile, grew almost 15% that year.

McCormick’s might has helped Cholula become the No. 2 player in the U.S. even as the company has sought to make the division more profitable. Two people familiar with the transition say that McCormick supply managers showed up at Cholula’s factory in Jalisco, Mexico, to hunt for cost savings. Analysts also see huge potential in boosting single-packet servings, known as “sachets,” which are sold in bulk and, of course, include a picture of the bottle’s wood cap.

Still, McCormick has a way to go before it can make hot sauce as big as ketchup. The latter market is nearly $2 billion larger worldwide, according to Euromonitor. Whereas Heinz faces relatively little competition for its flagship product, the hot sauce business is full of small-batch sellers, private labels marketed by grocery stores, and family-led brands with loyal followings such as McIlhenny’s Tabasco, Huy Fong sriracha, Baumer’s Crystal, and Tapatío, all of which seem to have the same objective as McCormick. “We want to be the Heinz ketchup of the hot sauce world,” says Tapatío’s Saavedra Jr.

The French’s factory in Springfield, Mo. Photographer: Chris Gunn for Bloomberg Business-week continued next post

01-30-2022, 02:07 PM
Checking the mustard for viscosity. Photographer: Chris Gunn for Bloomberg Businessweek
Photographer: Chris Gunn for Bloomberg Businessweek

As the condiment arms race plays out, McCormick may find nearer-term success in its food-science division. It employs more than 500 people in research and development, including engineers who’ve created products over the years for Yum! Brands Inc. and McDonald’s Corp.—though it’s all very hush-hush, likely because of nondisclosure agreements. When Chief Science Officer Brian Farkas is asked to explain the secrecy, he gives a rambling, cryptic nonanswer that makes it sound as if snack espionage is a constant threat. “There’s a company out there that would love to have a Doritos knockoff, right? Where do those flavors come from? Don’t know. Can’t say,” he says.

A former longtime McCormick scientist says it’s more about branding than anything else. McCormick’s clients want their customers to believe they pioneer their own goods, as opposed to outsourcing deliciousness to third-party chemists. “Maybe 20 years ago, we had 100 cherry flavors, and now we have a library of 100,000 cherry flavors,” this person says of the broader industry. With the acquisition of FONA, Kurzius is pushing into developing more flavors for beverages, confections, and even health products (think of the tastes in supplements like Flintstones Vitamins).

McCormick also sometimes does cross-promotions with outside brands. Frank’s and Cholula are now featured on menus at fast-food chains Subway and Chopt. And grocery stores sell Stubb’s frozen pulled pork, Old Bay potato chips and popcorn, and French’s-flavored craft beer. “Some people thought it sounded gross, but it was a pretty big hit,” says Jill Pratt, who oversees McCormick’s marketing in the Americas.

In other ways, the brand extensions help McCormick diversify from those dated red caps. As in its partnerships with big food brands, a bottle of Cholula doesn’t even mention McCormick. The sauce’s packaging only says that it’s imported from Mexico, as if it were still a family shop, which it hasn’t been for many years. (Prior to McCormick and L Catterton, Jose Cuervo oversaw Cholula.) Consumers “don’t have to know French’s and Frank’s and Cholula come from McCormick,” Kurzius says. “Now, I’d love for investors to know, but for consumers what matters is the loyalty.” It’s the same reason in recent years that General Mills, Hershey, and Unilever have respectively acquired Annie’s (organic packaged foods), SkinnyPop (healthy popcorn), and Sir Kensington’s (fancy ketchup and mayo). The acquisitions are all designed to appeal to younger consumers who are moving away from the processed foods churned out by conglomerates.

Still, the big brands have plenty of firepower. At the Walmart near McCormick’s headquarters, Heinz is selling blends such as Kranch, Ketchili, Mayochup, Honeyracha, and Tarchup. Depending on your perspective, the danger or promise is that McCormick might follow suit and die-hard Cholula stans will be confronted with Frenlula spicy mustard or StubbsBay barbecue sauce. “The temptation of marketing teams worldwide is to jump into having a Taco Bell Special Edition Cholula chimichanga,” says Sharif Rod, the former Latin America exporter of Cholula.

Brand dilution. Point taken. On the other hand, a Taco Bell meal smothered with delicious Cholula hot sauce could be, as C.P. McCormick would say, atomic.

(Updates to reflect McCormick’s latest earnings report in eighth paragraph.) ****. I never knew...