Huy Fong Foods
|Founded||1980 in Los Angeles|
|Headquarters||Irwindale, California, USA|
|Key people||David Tran
|Products||Asian-style hot sauce|
Huy Fong Foods (Chinese: 滙豐食品公司; pinyin: Huìfēng Shípǐn Gōngsī) is a hot sauce company based in Rosemead, California. Beginning in 1980 on Spring Street in Los Angeles's Chinatown, with an initial investment of US$50,000 in family savings after being turned down by a bank for a US$200,000 loan, it has grown to become one of the leaders in the Asian hot sauce market, especially Sriracha sauce.
The company is named for the old Panamanian freighter that carried Tran and 3,317 other refugees out of Vietnam in December 1978. The rooster logo comes from the fact that Tran was born in the Year of the Rooster on the Vietnamese zodiac. The bottles' trademark green top symbolizes the freshness of the chili used.
The sauce was developed by the company's founder, David Tran (Trần), an ethnic Chinese Vietnamese farmer (born 1945) who had grown chili peppers, produced, and sold chili sauce in Long Binh, a village just north of Saigon. He fled Vietnam in 1979 and arrived in the United States (first in Boston, then in Los Angeles) in the spring of 1980 as a part of the migration of the Vietnamese boat people following the Vietnam War. In the late 19th century, Tran's grandfather had moved the family from Chaozhou, Guangdong, China to Saigon, where they settled into the Chinese community.
Huy Fong Foods is a family business, staffed by eight members of the family. David Tran's son, William Tran (born c. 1976), is the company's president; his daughter Yassie Tran-Holliday is vice-president. The company has never advertised its products, relying instead on word of mouth.
The company's most popular product is its sriracha sauce. It was originally made with Serrano peppers and is now made with red Jalapeño peppers, reducing the overall pungency. It is currently Huy Fong Foods' best-known and best-selling item, easily recognized by its bright red color and its packaging: a clear plastic bottle with a green cap, text in five languages (Vietnamese, English, Chinese, French and Spanish) and the rooster logo.
Huy Fong also makes sambal oelek and chili garlic sauces.
In 1986 or 1987, Huy Fong Foods relocated to a 68,000-square-foot (6,300 m2) building in Rosemead, California. The company purchases chilis grown in Ventura, Los Angeles, and Kern Counties. Most of each year's chili mash is produced in just two months, during the autumn harvest. The sauces are produced on machinery that has been specially modified by Tran, who taught himself machining and welding skills. In 2001, the company was estimated to have sold 6,000 tons of chili products for approximately US$12 million.
Huy Fong Foods' chili sauces are made from red jalapeño chili peppers and contain no artificial ingredients. The company formerly used serrano chilis but found them difficult to harvest. All five sauces are manufactured in Rosemead, California. The company has warned customers about counterfeit versions of its sauces.
In December 2009, Bon Appetit magazine named its Sriracha sauce Ingredient of the Year for 2010. In 2010 the company produced 20 million bottles of sauce in a year. As of 2012 it had grown to sales of more than US$60 million a year.
New factory and community relations issues
In 2010, the company opened a factory in Irwindale, California. It is 23 acres, with 26,000 square feet of office space, 150,000 square feet of production space, and 480,000 square feet of warehouse. The odor of chilis that emanates from the new Irwindale factory upset the community's residents and the City of Irwindale filed a lawsuit against Huy Fong Foods in October 2013, claiming that the odor was a public nuisance. Initially, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge refused the city's bid to shut down the factory but a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ordered the factory to essentially shut down on Nov. 27, 2013, prohibiting all activities that could cause odors.
- "Contact Us." Huy Fong Foods. Retrieved on February 26, 2010.
- Grant, Bruce (1979). The Boat People: An Age Investigation with Bruce Grant. Penguin Books. p. 124.
- Clemens, Randy (2011). The Sriracha Cookbook: 50 "Rooster Sauce" Recipes that Pack a Punch. Random House. p. 10.
- Shyong, Frank (2013-04-12). "Sriracha hot sauce purveyor turns up the heat - David Tran introduced Sriracha to the U.S. in the 1980s, and it quickly caught on. His company sells more than $60 million of it a year.". LA Times. Retrieved 2013-04-30.
- Edge, John T. (2009-05-19). "A Chili Sauce to Crow About". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-04-30.
- "To our valued customers"
- "Best Foods of the Year". Retrieved 2011-12-03.
- "Huy Fong Foods is moving to Irwindale".
- Rogers, John (October 30, 2013). "City: Odor from Sriracha chili plant a nuisance". Associated Press.
- Sriracha lawsuit: Judge denies Calif. city's bid to close hot sauce plant - CBS News
- Shyong, Frank (27 November 2013). "Effect on Sriracha supply unclear after partial shutdown ordered". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 27 November 2013.
- Fire In The Bowl - David Tran: The Emperor of Hot Sauce, Los Angeles magazine, April 2001 or repost
- Nakamura, Eric. "The Famous Hot Sauce Factory Tour!" (1997). Giant Robot, no. 9, pp. 32–33.