Sriracha is one of the undisputed best hot sauces in the world.
And restaurants all over California are getting desperate to keep it in stock.
According to FoodAndWine, a major shortage of Rooster Sauce is sending shockwaves through the food industry.
Supermarkets across the Bay Area are seeing it fly off the shelves as customers begin the long, inadvisable process of hoarding every bottle they find.
Unfortunately, this is having a dire effect on many local businesses, as they struggle to keep up with demand.
Some restaurants are cutting back on menu-items that require it, while others are looking to the community for help.
One restaurant in Los Angeles, Bé Ù Kitchen, is even offering freebies in exchange for unopened bottles.
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FoodAndWine quotes their post on Instagram:
“We will give you a free banh mi, popcorn chicken, or order of summer rolls if you bring us a 28oz bottle of sriracha. Half off for the 17ouncers!!”
As the New York Times reported in June, Huy Fong foods says an “unprecedented shortage” of red jalapeno chiles is forcing the company to halt production of Sriracha.
The reason for this?
Drought throughout the northern states of Mexico has persisted long enough to affect several of the country’s exported crops.
And among those, the delicious red jalapeno, a key ingredient in the fabled Rooster Sauce.
Which, itself, is a key ingredient in many delicious Vietnamese dishes.
For an example of how prevalent the sauce is, Bé Ù Kitchen estimates they go through “about 312 bottles a year.”
“Of all the supply chain issues in the world, this one feels personal lol.”
Correlation between Sriracha and Climate Change
Mexico isn’t the only place dealing with persistent drought conditions.
Many of the state’s current water reservoirs are about half as full as they usually are.
To help with the situation, the governor is considering proposing significant water restrictions.
These could range anywhere from education to fines.
From the governor’s press release:
“Californians made significant changes since the last drought but we have seen an uptick in water use, especially as we enter the summer months. We all have to be more thoughtful about how to make every drop count.”
According to a 2015 study by the PPIC Water Policy Center, individual water use in dry years accounts for approximately 11% of overall use.
28% can be attributed to Environmental use (such as maintaining rivers, wetlands, Delta overflow, and instream flows).
But a whopping 61% is being used by agriculture.
This means crop production and manufactured goods.
On top of that, FoodAndWaterWatch.org notes that nearly 20% of agribusiness water use goes towards cultivating tree nuts.
But sure, 5 minute showers will definitely help the situation.