LA Restaurant Willing to Trade Free Food for Bottles of Sriracha

That's one way to beat the supply chain shortage.

A bottle of Huy Fong Foods Sriracha sauce
Photo: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Earlier this month, Huy Fong Foods confirmed that it was facing an "unprecedented shortage" of its Sriracha hot sauce, due to a poor harvest of the chili peppers it uses to make the iconic green-topped condiment. The California-based company said that it hoped it would be better-stocked later this year — but that's little consolation to the restaurants that rely on Huy Fong's sauces to give their recipes a fiery kick.

Although some restaurants have said they may have to put limits on some of their Sriracha-powered dishes, LAist reports that one Los Angeles joint is willing to trade some of its (less spicy) menu items for unopened bottles of Sriracha. "We need Sriracha (Huy Fong Foods Brands ONLY)," Vietnamese street food restaurant Bé Ù wrote on Instagram. "Of all the supply chain issues in the world, this one feels personal."

According to the Instagram post, anyone who takes a box-fresh 28-ounce bottle of Sriracha to Bé Ù will get a coupon for a free banh mi sandwich, popcorn chicken, or order of summer rolls. And customers who are willing to part with a 17-ounce bottle will get half off their order. "We go through about 312 bottles a year, so any little bit helps," they wrote.

In the comments, Los Angeles residents were quick to list the stores where Sriracha was still in stock (and, if you're local, you might want to check out Ralph's, Target, and "the Albertsons in Los Feliz"). Regardless of where it was purchased, it seems like people are taking Bé Ù up on their offer: it wrote that it had written out 48 coupons in a single day.

"We are still endeavoring to resolve this issue that has [been] caused by several spiraling events, including unexpected crop failure from the spring chili harvest," Huy Fong told Food & Wine in a statement earlier this month. "We hope for a fruitful fall season and thank our customers for their patience and continued support during this difficult time."

That "unexpected crop failure" was caused by adverse weather conditions in one region of Mexico where some of the company's chilis are grown. But Donna Lam, an executive operations officer for Huy Fong, told the Los Angeles Times they also source chilis from other parts of Mexico and that, although this year's pepper crop was smaller than average, some peppers were still harvestable. "We are just hoping it will start flowing from a different region," she told the outlet. "We are working still to resolve this issue."

Until then, restaurants like Bé Ù will just do what they can to get by — although "doing what they can" doesn't necessarily mean using another kind of Sriracha. "It's kinda like switching out your favorite makeup brand or soda brand," they replied to an Instagram commenter. "We'll do it if we have to, but we're gonna try like hell to not."

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