A little-known sauce, chili soy is often referred to as the “Chili Pepper Sauce” because of its resemblance to chili peppers.
The sauce was invented in the US by a Vietnamese immigrant who found it easier to make the sauce when compared to using garlic and ginger.
“It was really easy to work with,” explains Jason LaPorte, founder of LaPorta Foods, which produces chili soy sauces.
“We just made a few batches of it, and it was pretty easy to do it.”
He says it took him only two weeks to find the recipe for the sauce.
“And that’s why it’s so popular,” he says.
The first batch of chili soy Sauce is served at LaPortas restaurant in Phoenix, Arizona.
It’s the sauce LaPortes used in his video for “Chi-Chi.”
(Courtesy of Jason LaParte) But the sauce was actually invented in Vietnam and became a popular condiment in the late 1960s.
“They called it chili pepper sauce, because it’s really hot and hot and spicy, and then they put it in rice and called it rice rice, and they used rice, rice, so they called it chilis,” LaPorto explains.
He says the sauce is still popular in Vietnam today, especially in the southern part of the country, where the heat of the sun is a constant factor.
“In Vietnam, chili pepper is so much hotter than chili rice, it’s hard to find rice in Vietnam, so we just kind of took the heat from the rice and used it for the chili,” LaPace says.
“I’ve had people come up to me and say, ‘I love your video,’ because it was so authentic.
It was authentic to Vietnam.”
And in a recent interview with Vogue, LaPort says the new recipe for chili soy had been in the works for years.
“You can use this sauce, but I also had it for years before I actually made the first batch, and I still had it in my refrigerator.
I still have it in the refrigerator.
And I keep it in a jar with my food because I love it,” he said.
The original recipe was called “Taste of Chilis” in a book published in the early 1980s by an American food writer, David Dorsett, and a Vietnamese-American cook named Pham Phuong, who was an assistant to the chef at LaParreas restaurant.
“So that’s how I got to know the recipe,” La Porte says.
In his book, Dorsetts mentions that the original recipe used a mixture of “the hot, fresh, hot and sour chili” as a base.
“But I think there was some miscommunication in that,” La Parte says.
But LaPortu says the chef’s name is a reference to his love of chili sauce.
“[Dorsett] called me ‘the chilischin’ in my book, and he also called me Pham.
So, I think he wanted me to go by that name, because he wanted to be more familiar with me, and Pham would be more like a chef.”
But the new chili soy recipe is just as authentic, he says, adding that he is a fan of the sauce’s chili flavor.
“There are other things I would love to add,” he tells Vogue.
“Like the sourness of the chilli, and the spicy flavor of the chili.”
(Photograph by Jason Laporte) “Chilis are pretty hot and the sauce comes out a little bit too hot, and so it’s pretty tough to make.
So you can’t just use the sauce to make chili, you have to make a good sauce.”
He adds that he’s trying to keep the recipe simple, but he hopes the new version will appeal to a wider audience.
“People are looking for a different, authentic version of chili sauce,” Laportes says.
And if you’re looking for the recipe, you can find it online.
“When I made the original version of the recipe in the 1980s, there was a lot of confusion because it used the same recipe, but the sauce used a lot more chili peppers and the ingredients were just a little more complicated, but it was still a very simple, very authentic recipe,” he adds.
“Now it’s just a more authentic version.”
For more on the history of chili, check out our story about the Vietnam War.