I inherited my love of factory tours from my late father, who rarely missed an opportunity to schlep us kids to something (a) educational and (b) free. Among many other jaunts, I clearly remember touring a Chevrolet factory (loud) and a Chicken of the Sea tuna factory (smelly). I’m sure Dad would have approved of the Huy Fong hot-sauce factory in Irwindale (Los Angeles County), California, where the tour isn’t just educational and free, but also concludes with a giveaway: a generous bottle of one of the three Huy Fong products – sriracha, chili-garlic paste, or sambal oelek.
What’s more, the founder of Huy Fong is an immigrant, as was my father. David Tran was born in Vietnam in 1945 into an ethnic-Chinese family that was exiled by the Communist government in 1979. The Taiwanese ship on which he departed was called the Huey Fong – “gathering prosperity” – and Tran adapted the propitious name for the company he founded in Los Angeles in 1980.
Figure of Huy Fong founder David Tran with oversize sriracha bottle, in the training room at Huy Fong headquarters.