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Szechuan Peppercorns (Sichuan pepper) - its unique flavor

Updated on November 28, 2011
Only the fruit is eaten; the stems and seeds are discarded.
Only the fruit is eaten; the stems and seeds are discarded.

What does it taste like?

Szechuan peppercorns (also spelled Sichuan peppercorns) are an unusual Chinese spice that gives spicy Szechuan and Hunan cuisine a "bite" that's very different from what we traditionally understand as spicy.

It is a flavor that's difficult to describe--kind of a lemony, numbness-inducing peppery sharpness--but it leaves a faint smell in your upper nose for hours after eating it. It's one of those unusual flavors that has to be experienced to be understood, and it's quite nice. It's not hot or spicy in the usual other peppers can be, but it can complement them pretty nicely.

Banned in the US until 2005 (because of fears it could carry the citrus canker bacteria; they can be imported, provided that they've been pasteurized), Szechuan pepper is most commonly found in Chinese Five Spice, a blend of 5 spices (cinnamon, star anise, ginger, cloves, and Szechuan pepper).

It is also popular in Bhutanese, Japanese and Tibetan cuisines.


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    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 5 years ago from Peru, South America

      I use sichuan peppercorns in my dan-dan noodles and you're right, it is hard a sensation to describe. I love your description: lemony numbness-inducing peppery sharpness.

    • anglnwu profile image

      anglnwu 6 years ago

      Szechuan peppers have to be one of my favorite peppers. I actually wrote a hub on it too. I use it extensively in my cooking due to its pleasant distinctive taste. Whether you're marinating meats or adding a hit to the soup, szechuan peppers deliver like no other spice can. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      ZiminChow 7 years ago

      Hi dear,Sichuan Inland organic Agriculture Corporation sell Szechuan peppercorns,which is organic and natural.Please contact me freely.My


    • profile image

      Cindy 9 years ago

      We can supply this kind of SICHUAN PEPPER. If someone want to buy it, please feel free to contact with me, thanks. My MSN:

    • profile image

      IĆ°unn 10 years ago

      nice - I love szechaun cooking and all hot foodz generally.

    • vic profile image

      vic 11 years ago

      I don't think I have ever tried it. I have to get some and try it in a dish. Thanks.