Sriracha, the Southeast Asian chili sauce—and in more recent years, white people catnip—long ago went the way of rosé and avocado toast, which is to say that its ubiquity reached unsustainable levels. By now, it has become so overexposed that even the most forgiving sauce fanatics are feeling uneasy.
Two sriracha-related news stories out this week could mark the final nails in the spicy coffin of the maniacal trendiness surrounding this beloved condiment. Heed this golden rule, future sauce publicists: If you're available as part of a new gimmick item at a major fast-food chain, you're just not that cool anymore.
Actually, that's not fair. When we first heard that McDonald's was testing a new Sriracha Big Mac, outwardly, we may have rolled our eyes, but inwardly, we said something closer to "gimme." Even all the hyperbole—that this was the first time McDonald's had ever modified the Big Mac in its 50-year existence, for instance, or McDonald's spokeswoman Becca Hary calling the new burger a "milestone for McDonald's"—kind of worked.
RECIPE: How to Make Your Own Sriracha
Columbus, Ohio—the only place the Sriracha Big Mac is currently served—started not seeming all that far to go for a burger. McDonald's locations in Bangkok have long-served burgers with sweet chili sauce, and (pardon the turn of phrase) that shit is dope.
But then the sriracha lobby had to go and take things a step too far.
.@Lexus just made a Sriracha car, and no this isn't an April Fools' joke: https://t.co/kEhYyGhcsb pic.twitter.com/JpmOAEOJRY
— Adweek (@Adweek) November 17, 2016
Over the years, most people's relationship to sriracha followed a pattern: Scoff and dismiss, then taste and embrace. In time, we've all been convinced that sriracha belongs on our eggs, on our burgers, on our fried chicken, in our beers, and in our Bloody Marys. Hell, at this point, getting us to put sriracha on our chocolate soufflés wouldn't even really take that much convincing. But one place sriracha doesn't belong, and will never belong, is all over a goddamn Lexus.
Now, we don't mean that Sriracha can't go in your car; it should. Keep some in the glove box if you want to. What we mean is this. Prepare to shake your head while we introduce the new 2017 Lexus Sriracha IS, the company's first food-themed car. Its paint job is based on the iconic rooster sauce bottle produced by Huy Fong Foods, and the paint even apparently has actual sriracha in it, complete with bits of artificial chili flake.
Lexus IS Sriracha. The singular most amusing car in the LA Auto show. pic.twitter.com/u7qMgoF6n7
— Joseph Simpson (@JoeSimpson) November 17, 2016
The car boasts a good amount of new features of the "WTF does this even mean?" variety. Take, for example, the steering wheel: "The steering wheel, for instance, has been injected with a Sriracha-like liquid that was then cast in resin, and comes complete with a warning for 'Hot Handling.'"
OK… (backing away slowly…)
Listen, whether you're an accountant or a hot sauce trend, getting an impractical bright red car means the same thing: a pending midlife crisis. So, lords of the sriracha trend, let us tell you what we would tell a human man who has reached a similar point in his journey on Earth: This has gone too far, and you will someday die.
Lexus slathered a bunch of #Sriracha-inspired mods on its compact performance sedan.https://t.co/tkXTmIsNqx #LAautoshow pic.twitter.com/6XpvYgRi7I
— Roadshow (@roadshow) November 16, 2016
That may sound strong, but this whole thing has really made the scales fall from our eyes. Yes, sriracha tastes good—pretty great, actually—but for too long, we've been sucking it down at every meal without even asking why. Sriracha is all we know, and we need a break.
Does anybody remember what ketchup even tastes like?