Hawkeye’s sriracha cameo was all wrong, and we can’t figure out why

The famous hot sauce made an appearance on the hit Marvel series—but why did it look like that?

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Yelena Belova catches a sriracha bottle hurled at her by Kate Bishop in Hawkeye
Yelena Belova catches a sriracha bottle hurled at her by Kate Bishop in Hawkeye
Screenshot: Disney+

We will never cease to be amazed by our readers’ eagle eyes. Or, in this case, their hawkeyes. We were informed by a Takeout reader that in a recent episode of the hit limited series Hawkeye, a bottle of sriracha showed up on camera. This is all well and good—it’s everyone’s favorite chili sauce, after all—but why was the cap red?

It all started with a recent email from an anonymous reader who was watching episode 5 of Marvel Studios’ Hawkeye on Disney+, which aired in December. (Perhaps you’ve been catching up on the series yourself during the Omicron surge?) In one scene of the episode, Florence Pugh’s character, Yelena Belova, breaks into the apartment of Kate Bishop (portrayed by Hailee Steinfeld) in order to make clandestine stovetop mac and cheese. Frightened, Kate throws a red bottle at Yelena, which the latter catches expertly before uttering a nonchalant, “Hiiiii.”

The bottle appears for all the world to be a bottle of Huy Fong Sriracha Chili Sauce (with its trademark rooster), with one notable exception: the iconic Huy Fong green cap has been swapped with a red one, for some reason.

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As a refresher, here are the bottles of sriracha we’re all familiar with:

Huy Fong sriracha bottles with green caps
Photo: David McNew (Getty Images)
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Red sauce, green caps. We know it, we love it. Looks great on babies. It’s even been turned into a sexy Halloween costume. But when Yelena starts dousing her mac and cheese with hot sauce in Hawkeye (“I love hot sauce!”), we see that the bottle has been altered:

Yelena douses her mac and cheese in red-capped sriracha
Yelena douses her mac and cheese in red-capped sriracha
Screenshot: Disney+
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“Please, please, please tell me why this lid on the bottle of Huy Fong Sriracha in Hawkeye is red,” the anonymous reader wrote to The Takeout. “My first reaction to the scene in the show was exclaiming that the lid was the wrong color.” (The subject line of this email was, aptly, “Huy Fong Sriracha lids are green.”)

Could this possibly be some “extra hot” version of the classic product? We reached out to Huy Fong customer service, asking whether its sriracha has ever been packaged with a red cap instead of a green one. For context, we mentioned the anomalous bottle in the recent episode of Hawkeye. The reply from Huy Fong left us scratching our heads:

“The sriracha that was used for the episode of Hawkeye is not our brand,” customer service replied. “That is why it has a red cap, our brand only had [sic] a green.”

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Reader, at the risk of defying a representative of Huy Fong Foods, Inc., I must insist that this is most definitely a Huy Fong bottle. Here’s a better look at it, in a behind-the-scenes Instagram photo posted by Steinfeld:

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The rooster, the label... it’s all right there. I replied to Huy Fong with a zoomed-in screenshot of the bottle, asking for clarification, but did not receive a response.

So, is the red cap an attempt to mask sriracha as a “generic” product on screen? That wouldn’t make much sense, since a Wikipedia entry claims that both the green cap and the rooster logo are registered trademarks.

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One theory The Takeout staff had was that the red cap serves a technical purpose. Since green screens are such a big part of filming anything Marvel-related, maybe the green cap was covered up to avoid “disappearing” into a digital background via accidental camouflage?

The set for Kate Bishop’s apartment on Hawkeye appears to be entirely practical, and no combat or CGI action sequences occur during this macaroni scene, just some deep conversation. The one possible exception is when Kate hurls the bottle at Yelena in the first place—a movement that was presumably CGI-assisted to look ninja-like as Yelena expertly catches the bottle right in front of her face.

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Until we know more, all we can do is guess. If you have any “am I the only one seeing this?” food moments that you’d like to share with The Takeout, by all means, hit us up at hello@thetakeout.com.