LA Heat: Taste Changing Condiments, is an art exhibition exploring the impact of Sriracha and Tapatio in Los Angeles. The exhibit included a curated selection of artwork from artists of diverse backgrounds who are passionate and reflective about notions of identity, community, and foodways.
Sriracha and Tapatio hot sauces are two examples of the recent homegrown all-American condiments that have dramatically impacted American cuisine. The rise in popularity of these condiments signifies an increase in Asian and Latino populations living in the US and especially in Los Angeles after the passing of the Immigration and Nationality Act in 1965. In 1971, Mexican immigrant Jose-Luis Saavedra, Sr., started Tapatio Hot Sauce, a unique combination of red chili peppers, spices and a hint of garlic, in a warehouse in Maywood, California. David Tran, an immigrant from Vietnam of Chinese ancestry, started making Thai-inspired Sriracha sauce blended fromchili peppers, vinegar, garlic in small shop in Los Angeles Chinatown in 1983. In large American cities everywhere, both Sriracha and Tapatio contend to rival Heinz Ketchup and French’s mustard as the all-American condiment for the Y-Generation, for these hot sauces have become interwoven into the American cultural fabric and thus becoming an ubiquitous condiment in American cuisine.
So now that you have a little background of the exhibit, I won’t hold back and show you some of what I thought were some real L.A. Heat in the show. No particular order just as I saw it walking into the museum, enjoy.