Little did David Tran know that when he began acting on his passion for making chili sauce in his native Vietnam in 1975 he would create a condiment that has become an American staple.
He left Vietnam four years later on a freighter named Huey Fong.
A jobless Tran found he wasn’t the only one missing a spicy sauce, and began selling his Sriracha Hot Sauce to local Asian restaurants out of a 5,000-square-foot building in the Chinatown section of Los Angeles. To meet the demand throughout the state, Tran bought a blue Chevy van, driving as far north as San Francisco and as far south as San Diego.
Rapid success soon saw the company move first into a 68,000-square-foot plant, then into a 170,000-square-foot former Wham-O building, the company known for its popular toys like Hula Hoops and Frisbees.
Tran is known for saying, “Make a rich man’s sauce at a poor man’s price,” and with the success the company has seen over the years, his sauce has certainly enrichened the palates of many Americans.