Take Two®

News and culture through the lens of Southern California. Hosted by A Martínez

LA Heat exhibition celebrates Angelenos' love of hot sauce

by Take Two®

The exhibition "LA Heat" is now on display at the Chinese American Museum in downtown LA until July 12, 2014. Leo Duran

If there was a cuisine that defined L.A., you should probably first look into a bottle.

Hot sauces are a regular part of meals in Southern California, and two of the nation's biggest brands — Sriracha and Tapatio — hail from the L.A.-area.

Those and more sauces are getting a tribute at downtown's Chinese American Museum in the exhibit, "LA Heat." Dozens of local artists jumped at the chance to make art specifically for the exhibit, with examples ranging from neon-lit pieces that evoke grocery store signs to actual hot sauces silkscreened onto placemats like paint.

The historic cultural museum might seem an unlikely place to host it, but co-curator Joelle Warlick says it fits into the organization's mission to reflect L.A.'s cultural diversity.

"We're trying to look at different aspects of Los Angeles," says Warlick on Take Two. "As well as just what immigrants like Luis  Saavedra and David Tran —  the founders of Tapatio and Sriracha — were able to achieve when they came here."

Los Angeles seems to be the perfect place to showcase hot sauces too, she adds, because creativity and energy bubbles through the air.

"When you think of Los Angeles, you do think of nice weather, you think of a hot place," said Warlick. "This also means a place that's hot with excitement. It's a unique place that you can't get anywhere else."

LA Heat is at the museum from now until July 12. Take a tour of the museum through this slideshow, and tell us how spicy you go on your food.

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