The Chemistry of Sriracha & What Sets Your Mouth Aflame

If you head over to the Huy Fong Foods web site, they’ll tell you that Sriracha, their ever-popular Thai condiment, is “made from sun ripen chilies which are ground into a smooth paste along with garlic and packaged in a convenient squeeze bottle.” It’s the chilies that make your mouth burn when you pour that Sriracha onto your eggs or burgers, or in your soup and, yes, cocktails. But if you want to get scientific about things, it’s actually the capsaicin and dihydrocapsaicin — the two compounds inside the hot peppers — that set your mouth aflame.  All of this, and more, gets covered by this new video, The Chemistry of Sriracha, from the American Chemical Society. It’s part of their video series, Reactions, that examines the chemistry of everyday things.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.