Sriracha Factory Tour
(For a quick video glimpse of the Sriracha making process, check out my vlog I made!)
In celebration of the 34 year anniversary of Sriracha, Huy Fong Foods Inc. opened up their factory for Chili Grinding tours to give us a up close and personal look at how the your favorite hot sauce is made. Of course, I was so excited to be invited to experience it all. It was like an Asian rite of passage.Of course I had to arrive n my very own Sriracha Mobile. A proper entrance is very important. It's also very important to have a "fresh" license plate so people know who you are. Hot 2. Okay, who am I kidding? After posing for pictures, I took my place at the back of the Sriracha Mobile. We zoomed by at a pretty decent speed. Look at how my hair was flying all over the place!First order of business upon arriving was getting our swag on. It's always important to dress for the occasion. I was fitted with this super stylish red hairnet. I was finally looking the part. I didn't understand why the hairnets weren't green though. The Sriracha sauce has a green cap!And the
man product of the hour... I present you with Sriracha Sauce! What a beautiful sight!I loved how they had miniature special edition bottles of Sriracha. We were greeted by a poster size Mr. Tran. I tried scanning my hands , but no secret staircase opened up for me. The machine must have not been working that day...The Irwindale location of Huy Foods Inc. is humongous. 238,000 square feet to be exact!(Chili 'Waterfall' falling from the truck into the grinders.)
Chili grinding season lasts about 4 months a year. If you live around the San Gabriel Valley location, you may notice huge truckloads of fresh peppers on the freeway heading towards the factory. Did you know 30-40 tuck loads of chili peppers are received a day during the chili grinding season. The chili peppers are rolled into the hoppers, which take it into the facility to be washed. (Drum filling station.)
After the chili is ground up, they are put into the mixers where salt, vinegar, and preservatives are added to the ground peppers. The fresh chili base travels into the drum filling station onto a conveyer belt area. The chili base is used to make Huy Food's three sauces. Even the bottle making process was fun to watch! The blow molding machines make different size bottles. The factory has 9 bottle making lines that can make up to 18,000 bottles an hour.It's a Sriracha lover's dream!Once the bottles are filled and inspected, the labels are silk screened on. There's a special robot that automatically stacks and packs everything. Plastic wrapped, packed, and ready to go!And then I ran into another life cut-out of Mr. Tran and another one of his hilarious shirts!The tour also treated us all to a free Sriracha soft serve ice cream. Not my cup of tea, but I had to taste it given the occasion. Ta dah! Sriracha Ice Cream. After the tour, I went to check out the 'Rooster Room' aka the souvenir shop! They had lots of fun goodies!
The products they sold were so well thought-out. The shirts were affordable at $10 a piece. Most of them were cheeky and witty. Free advertising for Sriracha and fun for fans to wear around. Plus, all the various Mr. Tran life-size posters around the factory hawking his own shirts were hilarious. Well done. Well done!I loved how they kept the sign up!The tour was so much fun. It was so cool to see from start to finish how one of the most iconic foods of all time is made. It also didn't hurt getting to meet Mr. David Tran himself, who was so nice and hospitable. I want to thank Huy Fong Foods for having me, but also take the time to give a big shout out to their PR company. Wow. What a great event. Being a food writer, I go to a lot of events. This event was so well done. Everything was on point. The care and thought that they put in the tour was apparent. My only piece of advice would be that they should have created an official hashtag that everyone could easily post and tag all their pictures to for their convenience. Other than that, I went home with a limited edition 34 anniversary miniature bottle of Sriracha and t-shirt and a bigger appreciation for the rooster sauce.
The 'Hands off my cock' shirt didn't hurt either!
The factory is located at: 4800 Azusa Canyon Road in Irwindale.