LA Heat: Taste Changing Condiments

Michael C Hsiung On the topic of how various sauces can make pizza better


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 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.

Participating artists in the exhibition were:

    • Edith Beaucage
    • Erik Benjamins
    • Audrey Chan
    • Ching Ching Cheng
    • The Chung!!
    • Chris Christion
    • Clayton Brothers
    • Eye One
    • Gajin Fujita
    • Daniel Gonzalez
    • Pato Hebert
    • Michael C. Hsiung
    • Phung Huynh
    • Tomo Isoyama
    • Nery Gabriel Lemus
  • Sandra Low
  • Trinh Mai
  • Patrick Martinez
  • Michael Massenburg
  • Kwanchai Moriya
  • Jose Ramirez
  • Yoshie Sakai
  • Jose Sarinana
  • Sand One
  • Shark Toof
  • Sket
  • Slick
  • Henry Taylor
  • Werc

Thank you to our sponsors and community partners:
Cal Humanities
Chinatown BID
Chinatown Community for Equitable Development
Culinary Historians of Southern California
El Pueblo Historical Monument
Friends of La Plaza
Mexicali Tacos and Co.
Smithsonian Institution–Smithsonian Latino Center and Asian Pacific American Center
Starry Kitchen
The Grids
Xoia Vietnamese Eats


Thank you to our supporters that contributed to our first crowd-sourcing campaign on IndieGoGo to support this exhibition.

Ghost Pepper   

  • Randy Clemens
  • O.C. Lee

Habanero pepper          

  • Eduardo Buenviaje
  • Suellen Cheng
  • Munson Kwok
  • Leslie Ito
  • Jean Miao
  • Phuong Tang & Jeff Liu
  • Patricia Wakida
  • Jean Wong
  • Rockett Wong
  • Simon D. Wu

Cayenne Pepper

  • Bessie Chin
  • Michael Duchemin
  • Sam Lee Gallery
  • Phung Huynh
  • Khue & Chris Jacobs
  • Pauline Wong Lemasson
  • Scott Ito & Nan Lee
  • Betty Liu
  • Sean Mizuno
  • Dora Quach
  • Kasumi Sakai
  • Diane M. L. Tan
  • Ehren Tool
  • Vera de Vera
  • Shinae Yoon
  • Donna Young

Serrano Pepper

  • Sum-Sum Chan
  • Adam Chapnick
  • Bessie Chin
  • Jennifer Cho
  • Mike Fong
  • Michael Ho
  • Noelle Ito
  • Lawrence Joe
  • Traci Kato-Kiriyama
  • Kimberly Kawasaki
  • Sojin Kim
  • Wendy Lin
  • Sandra Low
  • D.B. Quan
  • The Sampiano Family
  • Geneva Tien
  • Michael Velasquez & Naoko Watanabe
  • Ellen Wu
  • Christine Yee

Jalapeños Pepper

  • Edith Beaucage
  • Eric Bellomy
  • Massiel Bobadilla
  • Jeffrey Chavez
  • Jeffrey Chavez
  • Yu Pang Cheng
  • Lin Tang & John Duong
  • Steven Fujimoto
  • Nary La
  • Yiuwing Lam
  • John & Stefanie Lau
  • Lawrence Li
  • Taiji Miyagawa
  • Elizabeth Morin
  • Michael C. Oliveira
  • Jason Peri
  • Zhen Zhen Peri
  • Francisco Rivera
  • Riley Robbins
  • Tim Roddy
  • David Show
  • Sarah Stevenson
  • Andy Su
  • Kathy Tokudomi
  • San Tong
  • Carlos Valle
  • Clare Wagner
  • Randall Dean Warlick
  • Abbie Wanamaker
  • Kenneth Wong
  • Vivian Yan
  • Jinfang Yang

Bell Pepper       

  • Leigh Gleason
  • Howard Ho
  • Daniel Katz
  • Jen Ju
  • Sophie Lafferty
  • Jessica Lui
  • Jason Pulaski
  • Todd Rosenblatt
  • Charissa R Santos
  • Phonexay Singharatsavong
  • Annie Tang
  • Lisa Taylor
  • Deeba Zaman


  • Jeffrey Chin
  • Megan Mateo
  • Robert Mateo
  • Michelle Garcia-Ortiz
  • Shaheen Sayani
  • Jonathan Wong

We also want to thank those that donated anonymously and thank those who helped spread the word about the campaign to families, friends, and colleagues.


This project was made possible with support from Cal Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. For more information, visit