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Sichuan/Szechuan Peppercorns

Does anyone know where to find Sichuan peppercorns in L.A.? And, some favorite uses? I have a wonderful Jeremiah Tower recipe for lamb racks marinated in Sichuan peppercorns and honey.

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  1. You can get them at Penzy's now that they are legal again. For a while they were only available under the counter.


    5 Replies
    1. re: Paliman

      Thanks for the source. I need them in the next few days so have to look local. I guess the spice place in the Farmer's Market has closed (haven't been there in a year) - phone number is disconnected.

      1. re: Hungry4Good

        Penzeys have a store in Torrance, at Hawthorne and Torrance Blvds. Bring a non-Hound and give him or her control of the credit card.

          1. re: Das Ubergeek

            CAUTION: Penzey's is incredible enough to make non-hounds switch to the right team! Last time I ended up with more spices in my basket.

            "This is so cool, we never come out here, let's try this one, you might as well get this too, what's (fill in the blank)?..."

            1. re: Pei

              The other great thing about Penzeys though is you can buy a small amount for CHEAP!!! So while I do go wild everytime I visit, It's never too much of a hit on my wallet... :)


      2. I go a big jar of them at Surfas, only about $3.50. But like you, I'm not sure what to do with them, as I'm not much of a Szechwan cook.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Chowpatty

          thank you...of course Surfa's! I hear they impart a very interesting flavor and aroma. I thought the honey/pepper marinade with lamb might be an interesting yet non-Asian way to try them out - for Xmas Eve dinner.

          1. re: Chowpatty

            No fancy recipes required!! They taste awesome ground and put into soups and on steamed veggies... I have a baggie of ground in my desk when I need to add a little ZING to something... :)


            1. re: Dommy

              Do you grind it all? Stem, seeds and husk?

              1. re: Hungry4Good

                I also keep a stash. I remove as many of the stems as I can, gently roast in a wok and when cool grind in a blade type coffee grinder.

          2. Anyone know if you can buy the big cello bags in Chinese markets?

            I like to prepare some for immediate use and keep them on the side ... the rest are left in the hulls for later use.

            I put some in a big cast iron skillet and heat them until they release their full aroma. Then I throw them in the Cuisinart and whirl for a minute or two. Put them into a large dry sieve and sift.

            Throw away the large hulls and reside that was left in the sieve. Put the sifted powder into a small jar with a tight lid and use for whatever recipe you desire.

            1 Reply
            1. re: SilverlakeGirl

              Call this foody spice joint in Santa Monica late afternoon Sunday,
              good chance you'll find 'em there:
              Le Sanctuaire
              2710 Main St
              Santa Monica, CA 90405
              (310) 581-8999

            2. I just bought a 4 oz. bag at 99 Ranch Market in Van Nuys for $1.89.

              1 Reply
              1. re: BearCity

                Dang, they're definintely in the food supply now!

              2. 5 lb. bag for $5.00. Smaller sizes also available.

                168 Market
                1421 E. Valley Blvd.
                Alhambra, CA 91801

                For good recipes try some of these(I double the amount of Sichuan Pepper in all recipes, since the USDA ban they seem less potent):



                1. Penzeys has excellent ones and have a store in Torrance S/W corner of Torrance/Hawthorne Blvds. (310)406-3877.

                  1. You can also pick them up at 99 Ranch (Sepulveda at Victory, northeast corner, in Van Nuys). They're labeled as "dried peppercorn" or something equally misleading in the spice aisle. Look for the pink bag with the panda on it.

                    1. I got them at the Shun Fat in Monterey Park. They're kind of hard to find--on the bottom shelf of the spice aisle and they are labelled as "dried peppercorn" there as well, though I don't remember if there's a panda on the label. If you're not too familiar with them, maybe you should check out a picture before you go.


                      As for uses, my husband makes mapo tofu and braised sichuan pork from Fuschia Dunlop's book using sichuan peppercorn. I had the most amazing sichuan peppercorn ice cream in Buenos Aires which I have yet to attempt to make. Somehow the cold neutralized the spice and only left the citrus-y ma la taste. It was remarkable.

                      1. To the OP Hungry4Good: ooooh, can you please post the Tower lamb recipe on Home Cooking? Thanks.

                        1 Reply
                        1. Hawaii Supermarket on Valley Blvd. in San Gabriel has Sichuan peppercorn in restaurant-size bags, if you really need that much. When you go in the front door, turn to the right. All the restaurant stuff is there.

                          All the chinese supermarkets in this area stock SPC in the smaller for-home size bags, about $1-2. They'll be next to the crushed red chili, typically. It's useful to know that they're sometimes called "prickly ash."

                          Oh, and it's the wrinkly little dark-red hulls, not the shiny black seeds, that have most of the flavor. I keep some SPC in a pepper grinder. One thing I've found that's fantastic is leftover pasta (e.g. penne) drizzled with olive oil, a dusting of ground cayenne pepper, and several turns of the SPC grinder. It's good warm and it's good cold.

                          1. If you go to a Chinese market, and you can't find them, the chinese (mandarin) name is Hua Jiao.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Jerome

                              Cantonese is "faa jiu" but most places will be more likely to speak to you in Mandarin, since most are Taiwanese-owned.