Sichuan Peppercorn Tasting with Fuchsia Dunlop | Conversations with Tyler

Sichuan Peppercorn Tasting with Fuchsia Dunlop | Conversations with Tyler


Tyler: Now, I’d like to have you teach us
all a lesson about Sichuan peppercorns. Before I came here, I brought from my home
my inferior Virginia suburban peppercorns bought at a local Chinese market. You brought, from Sichuan province, your own
version of Sichuan peppercorns. Fuchsia: The good stuff. Tyler: The good stuff. [laughter]
Tyler: If you could try the two for us. You’re all welcomed at the table to try along. Fuchsia: Can you pass that around and everyone
have a sniff of the one you brought? Tyler: These are what you call the inferior
peppercorns. Fuchsia: Then keep the lid on between. Take the lid off, and put your nose in that
box and have a good sniff. Don’t taste it until instructed. Fuchsia: Yes. Tyler: Yours are better. Fuchsia: The first thing is as soon as you
open that pot you get this overwhelming, gorgeous, slightly citrusy fragrance which is very distinctive,
right? That tells you it’s very fresh and lovely
Sichuan pepper. Then if you take one of the ones I brought
and put it in your mouth. What I would suggest is chew it very juicily
at the front of your mouth about three times and then take it out, because it’s a delayed
reaction. Tyler: Amazing. Fuchsia: Yeah? Your tongue is beginning to sing, and dance,
and tingle? Tyler: Yes. Fuchsia: That is what they call in Chinese
ma. It means tingling sensation, the same word
for pins and needles, and anesthesia. If the Sichuan pepper is not that great you
don’t get the tingle. You get some aroma. But this is simply overwhelming. That’s why I said just put one in your mouth
and take it out after a few seconds because if you put a handful in and you keep chewing
it, it will be overwhelming. [laughs]
Tyler: In terms of the history of my Sichuan peppercorns and the history of yours, these
at least pretend they’re from China. Correct? Is it that they’re from the wrong place, or
they’ve been sitting around too long, or you know the best source? What’s the underlying difference behind the
difference? Fuchsia: In Sichuan they would say that the
best Sichuan pepper comes from a particular region, Hanyuan, in the west of Sichuan. There’s a real, as I said, a concern with
provenance of things. I think there are different varieties, which
will be more fruity and less fruity. The other thing is, I think most of the Sichuan
pepper that is exported has been exported and handled by Cantonese people. In parts of China apart from Sichuan, Sichuan
pepper is used differently. It’s used in spice combinations. It’s used to take away the fishiness of meat
and poultry ingredients. That’s a Chinese culinary concept. But it’s not used for this tingling ma sensation. Unless you’re Sichuanese, you’re not going
to be seeking out the really zingy Sichuan pepper. That’s the problem, really, that you would
need Sichuanese exporters taking command… [laughter]
Fuchsia: and making sure we all get the tingly Sichuan pepper.

1 thought on “Sichuan Peppercorn Tasting with Fuchsia Dunlop | Conversations with Tyler

  1. Sichuan peppercorns are like tea leaves and coffee beans, the quality is highly related to the origin and as well as the gene.

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