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Sriracha is the generic name for a Thai hot sauce named after the seaside city of Si Racha, in the Chonburi Province of central Thailand, where it was first produced for dishes served at local seafood restaurants. It is a paste typically made from sun-ripened chili peppers, vinegar, garlic, sugar and salt. An Americanized puree, primarily produced by Huy Fong Foods, is drastically different from the Thai pastes. It has become a common condiment in the United States.
The flavor of both Thai and popular non-Thai versions is dominated by its central ingredient, hot chilies. To achieve a blend of hot, sweet, and spicy, other items such as sugar, salt, garlic, and vinegar are typically added. Traditional Thai Sriracha tends to be tangier, sweeter, and thinner than non-Thai, which is often thicker in texture. Versions featuring lemon grass, ginger, galanga and other exotic flavors have been introduced as well.
Originally exclusively a fresh sauce domestically consumed, Sriracha sold as a prepared product typically contains preservatives such as potassium sorbate, sodium bisulfite, and citric acid.
Sriracha is frequently found as a dipping sauce, particularly for seafood. Beyond its native boundaries Sriracha serves as a general-purpose hot sauce in a variety of cuisines, appearing anywhere from a condiment for Vietnamese phở to a topping for sushi rolls and pizza in the United States. It is occasionally used in lieu of ketchup, as on buffalo wings, French fries, or eggs. It is also used as a distinct ingredient at eating establishments from franchises like Applebee's to exclusive restaurants, as with Jean-Georges Vongerichten's Perry Street in New York City.