Sriracha's reportedly shaky fate has been overplayed time and again. A judge last month ordered the Irwindale hot sauce factory to stop stinking up its neighborhood. But it was a moot point, since Hoy Fong Foods' chili-crushing season was over until next fall. And a California Department of Public Health order that the company store Sriracha for 30 days before selling it to the public set off another false panic about a possible shortage. The shelving was just part of the process of ensuring food safety. The sauce will survive.
But the reality of Sriracha's staying power hasn't stopped a Texas state representative, Jason Villalba, from trying to poach the beloved hot sauce maker:
Yes, taking a play straight out of Gov. Rick Perry's book (he came to California last year and lobbied companies to move to what he said was his more business-friendly state), the Republican politician sent a letter to Hoy Fong Foods CEO David Tran this week inviting him to relocate the spicy enterprise to Texas, where he promised that government interference would be minimal.
Villalba noted that Texas has no corporate taxes and that it's a right-to-work state, which makes it unfriendly to unions.
The representative got a few facts wrong, however, in a statement to the media. For one, he said he could organize a delegation of Texans who would come to Rosemead, "where the company based [sic]."
And his Dallas-based office said Huy Fong Foods "has been forced to partially shut down its operations by a ruling stemming from a lawsuit filed by the city of Irwindale." That's not really true. It was ordered to do what it takes to stop the stink. There was no partial shutdown.
In his letter, Villalba wrote:
As a public official and a corporate attorney for small businesses, I am extremely troubled by excessive government interference in the operations of private, job-creating businesses like Huy Fong Foods. You have worked too hard and have helped too many people to let government bureaucrats shut down your thriving business.
On Twitter it appears the rep has started a #BringSriracha2Texas hashtag.
We reached out to Tran for his response but had yet to hear back.
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Sure, being a core part of the Southwest and Mexican American culture, Texas is no stranger to the joys of hot sauce, a derivative of the indigenous, Latin American chili that found its way to Asia by the 1500s.
But make no mistake, Sriracha is a true product of Southern California and our sprawling San Gabriel Valley, America's most populous Asian American community. Making Sriracha in Texas would be like making Mexican hot sauce in New York City.
In other words, good luck with this, Villalba.