It’s that time of year when Huy Fong Foods (known for their famous Sriracha sauce) opens their doors to celebrate the chili grinding season. For the next 4 or 5 weekends, visitors can come and do a self guided tour of HFF, take a many photos as you want, and watch them grind the chilies for the season. Stephen and I came last year, and the year before that, and each year it seems to change just slightly. We took my friend Roger for his first visit, and he was thoroughly impressed by the generosity of the company.
The event is free, but you must book a spot when tickets become available in July. I was able to get the first time slot of the day, for the very first tour of the season at 10:00 am. Founder David Tran was there to kick off the festivities, with a lion dance in the front courtyard. After the animated celebration, the doors were opened for all the visitors to check out.
The tour itself was about the same… after registration, you enter the warehouse and see stacks and stacks of boxes being shipped to destinations all over the world. There’s props around the warehouse to take photos, and we always enjoy the cardboard cutout of Mr. Tran. The next stop was watching the staff haul in the pallets of chilies picked from the fields to get sorted, washed, crushed, salted, then barreled for fermentation.
After fermentation, the chilies are ready to be bottled and there’s a machine that makes the famous HFF Sriracha bottles.
At the end of the tour, we were given a pint of free Sriracha ice cream (vanilla or chocolate) plus a choice of the Sriracha sauce, Chili sauce, or Sambal Sauce, along with snacks, a visor and this year’s special T-shirt 38 Years of Greatness.
At the end of the tour, founder David Tran was at the entrance taking photos with the fans. It was once again, a great tour, and I look forward to attending next year’s.