February 25, 2014 12:00 PM EST

Sriracha chili sauce has become one of the most universally adored condiments. It’s spicy, it’s garlicky, it’s a little sweet, and it’s good on just about everything. Seriously, people love the flavor so much they’ve created Sriracha vodka, Sriracha candy canes and even Sriracha aged in whiskey barrels.

But why, you may be wondering, is Sriracha so special? What sets it apart from all the other hot sauces out there? Allow science to explain.

More Must-Read Stories From TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com.

You May Also Like