Subway’s strong suit has always been its all-American sandwiches, slathered in roast beef, tuna, turkey breast, topped with mayo, mustard, ranch and the like.
But in Santa Ana, wedged between the heavily Asian Orange County enclaves of Westminster and Irvine, the standard sauces are bland compared to the newest menu addition: Sriracha hot sauce.
Subway said it is testing the spicy red paste “in a limited number of locations” and that the pilot was just one of “hundreds of items and variations on items” the chain tries out “on an ongoing basis.”
But the experiment, first noted by Foodbeast, is also interesting as evidence of Americans’ growing acceptance of ethnic tastes.
Food analysts said ethnic foods are going mainstream with fast-food Indian options, customizable sushi joints and easily accessible street food eateries and food trucks.
Earlier this year, research group IBISWorld named hot sauce one of the fastest growing industries along with solar panel makers and Pilates studios. Piquant flavorings were expected to pull in nearly $1.1 billion in revenue last year, reaching $1.3 billion by 2017.
Sriracha founder David Tran told The Times that, as of 2010, demand for his product had increased every year for the last three decades. The thick sauce, named after a Thai seaside town, is pumped into more than 20 million bottles a year.
Huy Fong Foods, which makes Sriracha, began building a new, $40-million facility in Irwindale about two years ago.