Why Is There A Rooster On Sriracha Bottles?

Sriracha is an iconic hot sauce, not just for its versatile flavor but also because of its packaging. You most likely have seen the squeeze bottles with the green tops in the condiment aisles of your local grocery stores. The bottles are a distinctive part of the Huy Fong Foods Sriracha brand; however, no part of the sauce’s branding is more distinctive than the rooster logo. Sriracha is sometimes called rooster sauce because of the emblem on the label. Where does the image come from? What does it mean? Why is there a rooster on Sriracha bottles? We answer it all below.

The rooster in the Chinese zodiac calendar

The rooster is a Chinese zodiac symbol that represents several traits. Supposedly, a person born in the year of the rooster is personable and a gifted talker. Other important qualities include resourcefulness and charisma. The rooster is David Tran’s zodiac sign. David Tran is the man who started Huy Fong Foods, the company that makes Sriracha hot sauce. 

What does the Sriracha rooster represent?

In the context of Sriracha sauce and its maker, the rooster represents tenacity; in Vietnam, roosters symbolize strength. Fighting roosters are known for their will to keep fighting even when hurt. Why is this important? Let’s take a look at David Tran’s life story.

Tran is an immigrant to the United States who came to the country from Vietnam. He was born in 1945, the Year of the Rooster, and he arrived in the US after escaping from his country of birth after the Vietnam War. Tran’s journey took him first to Hong Kong and then to Boston before he wound up in Los Angeles. Tran has said that the rooster represents his strength. The boat that transported him to the United States was the Huey Fong, which inspired his company’s name. 

Having first made hot sauces in Vietnam, Tran continued doing so after arriving in the US. He began manufacturing Sriracha hot sauce in California in 1980. At first, he marketed the sauce primarily to restaurants in and around Los Angeles. In the early years, he transported Sriracha to San Francisco and San Diego in a van onto which he had hand-painted the rooster emblem. 

It is important to note that sriracha hot sauce is not David Tran’s invention. It is a Thai condiment from Sri Racha in Thailand that many believe was invented by a woman named Thanom Chakkapak. It’s why you often see “sriracha” (lowercase) written when generally discussing sriracha and not specifically David Tran’s sauce.

What is the rooster emblem’s origin story?

In the early 1970s, Tran happened upon a street artist in Vietnam and asked him to draw a rooster picture. Later, he would use the picture on bottle caps for his first version of Sriracha — this was the hot sauce he made while still in Vietnam.

He brought the artist’s sketch with him to the United States. Tran would go on to commission another artist to create a new version of the rooster drawing once he was in America. He wanted a larger and clearer image to use on his Sriracha bottles; it is this second version of the rooster that you see on the Huy Fong Foods Sriracha labels. Tran says that he never asked for the original artist’s name and is quoted in Modern Farmer Magazine as saying he does not know who he is.

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UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on December 21, 2022 to include new content.
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