There can be little doubt that Huy Fong sriracha, the thick chili-pepper hot sauce that you probably first encountered at a $1 dumpling spot, has been the breakout condiment of the past few years. Now, it’s found all over the restaurant scene, from sriracha-laced bloody Marys to spicy mayos, and it has spawned countless imitators, including a handmade Brooklyn variety. While sriracha is said to have originated in Si Racha, Thailand, it was Huy Fong Inc. that first introduced it to the U.S. when owner David Tran first established the company in L.A.’s Chinatown in 1980.

These days, Huy Fong sells more than $60 million of the stuff each year, and Tran is a bonafide hot-sauce kingpin. The L.A. Times has an interesting profile on him and his company that’s worth checking out if you want to regale your friends with sriracha factoids over dinner. Here are a few that stand out:

  • When he was starting out, Tran made “his own [sriracha] by hand in a bucket, bottled it and drove it to customers in a van.”
  • Packaging supplies originally told him it was too spicy to sell, but he stood his ground.
  • Huy Fong is moving to “a $40-million, 655,000-square-foot factory and headquarters in Irwindale that could triple its production capacity.”
  • Tran’s motto is: “Make a rich man’s sauce at a poor man’s price.”

[via L.A. Times]