At the 2nd Annual Sriracha Festival, held this past Sunday in Chinatown's Central Plaza, the ubiquitous bottle based out of Irwindale could be found on every table, accentuating dishes that were already drizzled, baked and infused with the hot sauce. Hosted by The Sriracha Cookbook and Food GPS, the event featured an impressive lineup of chefs touting bites that could light your mouth on fire in one single spoonful. There was crispy rice salad with sriracha lemongrass vinaigrette from Jessica Koslow of Sqirl, yucca in a sriracha sauce from Philip Lee of The Garadene Swine and Scratch Bar, and spicy pork tan tan ramen from Alvin Cailan and Johnny Lee of Eggslut (the pair, as they do at Grand Central Market, drew the longest lines at the festival). Eric Greenspan entertained the crowd—as he always does so well—with boisterous declarations of his grilled cheese from Greenpsan's Grilled Cheese, made with bacon, sriracha, egg, and accompanied by a tomato-sriracha soup dip. Our favorite savory dishes included a hearty pork sriracha meatball will slaw from Eastside Market Italian Deli, as well as a creamy, oh-so-fall sriracha braised pumpkin with yogurt sauce and green sriracha from Mud Hen Tavern.
But the real winners? Desserts ruled at the Sriracha Festival, causing a bottleneck of attendees at one end of the plaza clamoring for something sweet and spicy. Red Bread served two kinds of pies: a sriracha apple crumble, and a fantastic sriracha black bottom Meyer lemon custard pie, which didn't taste spicy at first until it hit us after a couple bites in the most pleasant way. McConnell's Fine Ice Cream garnered a crowd as well, offering three flavors that you could top with a sriracha caramel sauce (Two words: Mind. Blowing.). And Kristine de la Cruz of Crème Caramel was slinging her Holy Petit S'mores, a sriracha marshmallow layered on a dark chocolate brownie and topped with sriracha honeycomb dust. Hot damn.
Among the food and select drink options (Eagle Rock Brewery, Beachwood BBQ & Brewing and Golden Road Brewing were all handing out brews to satisfy sweaty sriracha-lovers), attendees milled around while playing cornhole and flipping through pages of The Sriracha Cookbook (available for purchase, of course). It was a manageable crowd compared to, say, the LA Street Food Fest, and while we look forward to seeing this event grow next year (more spicy desserts, please!), we hope it maintains its well-curated list of vendors and backyard BBQ feel.
RECOMMENDED: The spiciest dishes in Los Angeles
Did you attend this year? What were your favorite dishes? Let us know in the comments below!