Here’s to the Rooster

I suspect that the first time I encountered one of the loves of my life was many years ago sitting in a small Vietnamese restaurant in Mesa, Arizona.  The place is still there, and if you’re in the neighborhood, I can’t recommend strongly enough Khai Hoan.  It’s nothing fancy, but the food is fantastic.

Eventually I would settle on their lemon grass chicken as my go-to dish.  But this first visit occurred after a disastrous off-road trip that I had to bow out of early due to a flat tire on my Jeep Wrangler.  The young lady who was my passenger for the ride suggested Vietnamese as a consolation event and guided us to Khai Hoan.  I had never had Vietnamese food before.  I was nursing the beginning of a rather unpleasant cold, and she directed me to a steaming bowl of pho (pronounced fuh) – a Vietnamese staple.  It was fantastic and amazing, and my wife and I have since developed a basic recipe for pho that our family enjoys at home.  
But given my well-established penchant for the spicy, I was drawn to the colorful bottle of hot sauce on the table in the squeeze bottle.  With my first taste, I was hooked.  This had a powerful punch, and was distinctive from the Tabasco and other American-style hot sauces I was familiar with.  We now keep a bottle of Sriracha in the fridge at all times.  When I get it out to accompany a dizzying and probably tacky array of foods, my kids love to tease me about my love for this hot sauce.  
This is a great little article on the company that only makes me like the stuff more (beware, that last link is to a comic with some objectionable language – proceed at your own risk).  I love that the company bucks most of the assumptions about how a company needs to grow.  No US advertising.  No social media presence.  An outdated web site.  Firm commitment to a single vendor (near where we used to live!) that actually governs the supply of ingredients and therefore the scale of the operation.  There’s no indication that the owner is going to abandon this very successful strategy in order to expand operations further.  He sounds happy with the impressive success that he has.  
I gave my Jeep up when I got married.  The young lady is now a Facebook friend and we both have happy families of our own.  But Sriracha is still an integral part of my life.  A very integral part, apparently.  

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