Thanksgiving weekend, news broke that Huy Fong Foods, the Southern California–based company responsible for making the popular hot sauce Sriracha, was ordered to partially shut down amid complaints from nearby residents that the factory's strong chile odor was making them sick.
That partial shutdown prompted some to worry that there might be a shortage of the widely coveted hot sauce in the coming year. And eBay seller "larryhagman" is capitalizing on those fears. This week he put up for sale what he calls, "the last packet of Sriracha ever made." His asking price: $10,000.
As larryhagman explains on his eBay page:
"I know you're saying, '$10,000 for a pack of Sriracha? That's crazy!' Well guess what, when the zombie apocalypse arrives and you're out of Sriracha, which are you gonna miss more—Sriracha for that rodent you just cooked, or the $10,000?"
Point taken, larryhagman.
Except, according to the picture he posted, that isn't the coveted Huy Fong Sriracha sauce. It's made by a different company, Spice World International Group.
There's news that even in the coming year, a shortage isn't as likely as previously assumed.
The odors that prompted the factory's partial shutdown were allegedly related to its once-a-year harvest season, when it collects and grinds its red-hot jalapeño peppers. The company claims, however, to have finished that process, according to the Associated Press
, so the injunction against Huy Fong may not have an immediate effect on the rest of its production—specifically its mixing and bottling—which occurs year-round.
The public fervor surrounding Huy Fong's Sriracha is almost as much about the company's backstory as it is about the taste of its celebrated condiment. Huy Fong Foods was founded by David Tran
, an immigrant from Vietnam who came to the U.S. after facing discrimination in his home country due to his Chinese ancestry. Tran eventually found his way to Los Angeles, where he began working on a proprietary blend of jalapeño peppers, vinegar, salt, sugar and garlic. Despite the magnitude of the company's growth, the peppers used in Huy Fong's Sriracha remain locally-sourced from a family-owned farm in Ventura County.
Whether or not Sriracha-geddon is in our near future, if buyers are interested in stocking up on the condiment, they'd be wise to make sure they're buying the real thing. Huy Fong's website
gives a rundown on the packaging markers that signify the products' authenticity. Unfortunately for larryhagman's Sriracha packet, a stamp bearing the name "Spice World Int'l Group" isn't one of them.