The Reason Andrew Zimmern Has Avoided Sriracha In The Past

Andrew Zimmern declared Sriracha to be overrated in 2014, and a line in the sand was drawn. You could either stand with Team Zimmern or with Team Sriracha in this great American showdown. Zimmern, host of the Travel Channel's "Bizarre Food with Andrew Zimmern," didn't hold back when he shared his thoughts with Today on the matter, saying, "There are about 200 other hot sauces I'll reach for before I reach for Sriracha. I don't understand why the rest of the food world thinks it's the greatest thing since sliced bread." But this does not really get to the heart of why Zimmern has had such harsh feelings about this beloved sauce.

Per Thrillist, Sriracha became popular in the United States after David Tran, who is from Vietnam, started making it and sold it out of the back of his Chevy van while living in California. The sauce quickly grew in popularity and Tran formed a company, naming it Huy Fong, which translates to "gathering prosperity." Today, that bottle with the iconic rooster on it, is pretty much everywhere. According to Taste of Home, a single factory produces 20 million bottles of this sauce annually. That's a lot of Sriracha. So, if so many people like this sauce, what is the impetus for Zimmern having shunned it over the years?

American Sriracha doesn't have depth of flavor

Zimmern's seeming disdain over what he viewed as foodies just being trendy and hopping on the Sriracha bandwagon came to a head when he and Momofuko's David Chang locked horns over this chili sauce. Per People, Zimmern wrote in a post, "Hot sauce to me should have so many different levels of appeal, and the conventional American-made sriracha just doesn't have it for me. I think it's good, but I don't think it's great, and I don't think it's worthy of all the attention." Zimmern went on to explain that American-made Sriracha "just doesn't have the depth of flavor" compared to Thai Sriracha. Zimmern noted that American Sriracha is made with jalapeños, while the Thai version uses Thai chilies — and apparently, that makes all the difference to this celebrity chef. 

But it is important to note that Zimmern does not dislike Sriracha. In fact, he wrote on his own site, "I like Sriracha just fine, I have it in my fridge and use it on occasion... but I like the flavor of so many others, most I like even more. Next time you're at the grocery store, remove your Sriracha blinders and take a moment to look at the other options." Zimmern's feelings really can be traced to an overuse of Sriracha and his desire for his fans to be open to trying other sauces, as well. Seems on point when you consider his adventurous palate.