Lots of people think the word “sriracha” is tied to one specific company, Huy Fong.
They often wonder if the name “sriracha” is a trademark belonging to that company, or if sriracha is actually a brand they own.
But what’s the real story here? Is sriracha truly a brand?
Stay with me, and we’ll dive into the history of sriracha sauce, exploring its name and figuring out if it’s really a brand or not.
Is Sriracha A Brand Or A Type Of Sauce?
Well, actually, no one really owns the name “Sriracha” in the U.S., and this means that different different brands can have their own take on it, like Sky Valley Sriracha, Roland Sriracha, or the famous Huy Fong Sriracha.
The sauce’s origin story?
Well, it all started in Thailand back in the 1940s.
A lady named Thanom Chakkapak whipped up this sauce and named it after her hometown of Si Racha, where folks loved it with seafood.
She never bothered to trademark the name, so now anyone can use it.
With so many people making Sriracha these days, brands gotta add something special to stand out from the crowd, that’s why you find the name of the brand as a prefix before the term “sriracha”, – just to distinguish them from the rest.
In the U.S., when most people think of Sriracha, they think of the one with the rooster logo – that’s Huy Fong Foods. The guy behind it, David Tran, was a Vietnamese refugee who came to the U.S. in ’79 and spiced up his own version. His Sriracha’s a bit thinner but still packs a punch and goes great on everything from phở to burgers.
And Sriracha hasn’t stopped there; it’s taken on a life of its own. Different brands keep mixing things up, even aging it in whiskey barrels or blending it with mayo or black pepper. You’ll even find Sriracha-flavored snacks and drinks.
Is Sriracha A Trademark Name?
Sriracha a trademark name? Nah, not in the U.S. anyway.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) looks at “Sriracha” and sees a generic term that describes a particular kind of hot sauce with all that yummy stuff like chili peppers, vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt.
It’s like calling a tissue a “Kleenex” – it’s a name that’s used for the general product.
Now, the guy who made Sriracha super famous in the U.S., David Tran of Huy Fong Foods, never bothered to trademark the term when he started selling his sauce in 1980.
He was the only one doing it at the time, so maybe he didn’t see the need.
Looking back, he could’ve been swimming in licensing cash if he’d locked down that name, but hey, hindsight’s 20/20, right?
Instead, Tran just trademarked his cool rooster logo and that unique bottle cap.
He didn’t sweat it when others used the term “Sriracha” for their stuff.
In his mind, it was like free advertising for his sauce, and it’s true if you look at the cult following his brand has today!
Now, he did try to slap a trademark on “Sriracha” in other places like Australia and Thailand, but that got messy with local competitors claiming that “Sriracha” was just a name for a type of sauce from the Thai town of Si Racha.
Some other companies have taken a stab at trying to trademark “Sriracha” in the U.S. for different things like toys, honey, and clothes.
But the USPTO was like, “Nope, too generic,” and shot those attempts down.
Are There Different Types Of Sriracha?
Yeah, there’s not just one way to make this popular sauce; there’s a whole world of Sriracha out there!
Let’s break it down:
First up, you’ve got the OG Sriracha, called Sriraja Panich, straight from Thailand.
This is where it all started. It’s got chili peppers, distilled vinegar, garlic, sugar and salt, and it’s more tangy and runny, with a bit of a mild kick to it. Think of it as the classic rock of Sriracha.
Now, over in the U.S., Huy Fong’s Sriracha is the big name.
You’ve seen the bottle with the rooster on it, right? It’s made pretty much like the original Thai version, but it doses slack when it comes to harmonizing all the elements of the sauce together! Don’t believe, ask the Thais. So the US version is like a cover band that’s almost as good as the real thing.
But wait, there’s more!
Some companies love to get creative and mix Sriracha with other tasty stuff like honey, mustard, coriander, or black pepper. Or maybe they’ll infuse it with smoky flavors, add extra garlic, or turn up the heat with more spice.
A typical example is the Flying Goose Brand. They’re like the Beatles of Sriracha, with a whole variety of sauces to their name.
Different Brands Of Sriracha
There’s a whole smorgasbord of them, each with its own unique flair. Let’s go through them quickly.
- Huy Fong: That iconic rooster? Yep, that’s them. This is the classic! THE Sriracha for most people in the U.S. It’s made with Red jalapeño peppers, vinegar, garlic, sugar and salt.
- Sriracha Panich: This Thai original has a softer, sweeter touch. Sun-dried chilies are the secret ingredient here. It’s like the classy grandparent of all brands of Sriracha.
- Kikkoman: From Japan, this one’s vegan and gluten-free. It’s smooth, creamy, and balanced with a splash of tamari soy sauce.
- Sky Valley: Going organic? Sky Valley is all about that. Less fire, more sweet and bold, and made from red jalapeño peppers.
- Roland: Made in Malaysia and China, it’s like a cousin of Huy Fong but a tad less spicy. A nice blend of everything you love in Sriracha.
- Ox-Brand: Another Thai gem, gluten-free with a thick, smooth consistency.
- Badia: Bright orange and mild, this American brand might be your go-to if you’re feeding the kiddos or spice-wary friends.
- Uni-Eagle: Sweet and savory from Thailand. Think of it as ketchup’s exotic cousin.
- Trader Joe’s: Exclusive to Trader Joe’s stores, this one has that garlicky punch but with less vinegar.
- Tabasco Sriracha: Ever wish Tabasco had a Sriracha sibling? Here it is! Fiery with a touch of smokiness, from the tabasco pepper sauce included in it of course.
- Lee Kum Kee: Lee Kum Kee is a brand that’s chinese and well-known for soy sauce. Their sriracha got a sweet vibe with hints of ginger.
- Polar: This American brand made in Thailand is a favorite in many households. It has a taste very close to Huy Fong and many people swear by it actually, especially during this sriracha shortage.
- Shark: A Thai veteran in the Sriracha game since the 1930s. Rich, complex, and chunky, it’s Sriracha with loads of history.
- Flying Goose: A popular brand in Asia and Europe. It comes in all kinds of flavors like extra hot and lemongrass. It’s like the party animal of Sriracha brands.
- Texas Pete: Dark orange and mild from the U.S. It’s got that garlicky sweetness, with a balanced heat, much like Huy Fong.
- Dynasty: Affordable and tangy, this American brand is sourced from the Malaysia company, Dynasty Food Industries, with more than half a century in the business. You definitely know what you’re getting right?