Inspired by this thread: In praise of habanero
I love Sichuan peppercorns in my Chinese food. I first had them when I was in Beijing last year. For those who have never had them, they’re not spicy, but they do cause your mouth to tingle when you eat them, much like when you put a topical anaesthetic in your mouth. They go great with spicy Sichuan food. For a long time, their importation into the US was banned, but now it is permitted as long as the peppercorns are heat-treated. Unfortunately, rare is the American Chinese restaurant that actually has these peppercorns. Sometimes I ask the waitress if they have them, but she usually doesn’t know what I’m talking about. I recently bought a bag at a Chinese market so I can add them to my food myself. Most American Chinese restaurants are a sad imitation of some of the food I had in Beijing.
Who else can’t get enough of these things? Why is it that so few American Chinese restaurants use them?