Hot Sauce CEO: U.S. No Different Than Communist Vietnam

Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter
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The maker of a popular hot sauce whose company faces possible government regulation says the U.S. reminds him of communist Vietnam, a country he escaped more than 30 years ago.

“Today, I feel almost the same [as when I left Vietnam],” David Tran, president of Huy Fong Foods, told NPR. “Even now we live in the USA, but my feeling, the government, not a big difference.”

Tran named his company after the Panamanian freighter that brought him and 3,000 other refugees to the U.S. in 1978, according to United Liberty.

Huy Fong’s sriracha hot sauce is a popular condiment, used in many Asian dishes and by restaurants like Applebee’s, Subway and P.F. Changs.

But a strong odor emitted from the company’s factory in Irwindale, Cal. has drawn complaints from a few neighbors who say that it gives them headaches and causes allergic reactions.

A judge forced part of the factory to close last year. And last month Irwindale city officials attempted to declare the Huy Fong factory a public nuisance.

The attempted regulation that Tran says reminds him of communist Vietnam has played right into the hands of outside suitors who come bearing the gift of less government regulation.

As part of a larger effort to attract California companies, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and other state politicians have lobbied Huy Fong Foods to relocate to the Lone Star State.

Perry’s latest coup was the sales and marketing headquarters of Toyota Motors, which plans to move from Torrance, Cal. to Plano, Tex. The company cited a more favorable business climate and was also provided a $40 million tax break.

On Monday, Texas state Rep. Jason Villalba visited Huy Fong Foods to discuss expansion into his state.

Tran says he would like to stay in Irwindale, “but it is dependent on Irwindale,” Joy Tse, a spokeswoman for Huy Fong Foods, told The Daily Caller.  “We will eventually reach our capacity here in Irwindale (if they allow us to continue here) so we have to look at all our options,” said Tse, noting “we had a good first initial meeting with the Texan delegation.”

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