[CH] Szechuan spice

Ashkenaz, Scott (Scott.Ashkenaz@kla-tencor.com)
Mon, 8 Jun 1998 00:21:41 -0700

A work acquaintance dropped off an odd spice. His parents brought it from
China, and he claims that it is a spice "very characteristic of Szechuan

It looks like a reddish/pinkish peppercorn, but split and softer. The flavor
is described differently by several people, including things like sweet,
sour, bitter, flowery, intense. But all have one thing in common:  it seems
to numb the tongue and lips for about 10 minutes, with some people
describing a tingling sensation.

It is normally ground up and included in sauces used on meat, particularly
pork. He first had me taste it in salted fried fava beans.

Any idea what it is?

scott@it did not seem to be psychoactive, but my teeth did seem to divide
into octaves