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What's that Spice, Royaljelly? (moved from Toronto)

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mickeyj Apr 17, 2007 05:04 AM

Royaljelly (or any one who knows), what is the spice used on the chili chicken at Szechuan Legend? Is it szechuan peppercorn? Is it MSG? It does not taste spicy/hot, but rather it numbs the tongue a bit.

  1. Kagemusha Apr 17, 2007 03:48 PM

    That's what "hua jiao" or Sichuan pepper does: knocks down your poor mouth's defenses before the chili attacks!

    4 Replies
    1. re: Kagemusha
      Royaljelly Apr 17, 2007 03:57 PM

      Ya, it's quite the odd sensation isn't it? The first time I had it, I couldn't believe how numb my lips were after eating it. Maybe they could make good use of it in a dental office one day. :)

      1. re: Royaljelly
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        mickeyj Apr 18, 2007 04:56 AM

        Thanks all. It is a very odd sensation. It had the same sensation in the mouth as coarse salt might. Szechuan Legend was good though - thanks for chowhounders for the recommend. We were seated at the back (by the "bar") -- they have the coolest ceramic urns about 4 feet high and quite wide, set up at the back. Inside are smaller ceramic bowls for their special soups (which we didn't try). When someone ordered a special soup (listed on a different menu), they opened up the huge urn and pulled out the smaller covered bowl of soup.

        1. re: mickeyj
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          FlavoursGal Apr 18, 2007 04:40 PM

          I have to get back to Szechuan Legend. We had a great meal there a couple of months ago, combined with exceptionally warm and gracious service. If you're interested in doing any Sichuan cooking yourself, I'd recommend Fuchsia Dunlop's Sichuan and Hunan books.

          1. re: FlavoursGal
            Royaljelly Apr 18, 2007 07:28 PM

            We were there 2 nights ago and the place was absolutely packed. Tried this catfish dish in a dark brown sauce. Wasn't too spicy, but I didn't like the tougher texture of the fish (although my wife liked it). Also tried the 3 mushroom variety on tofu dish, which was rather plain.

    2. TorontoJo Apr 17, 2007 06:35 AM

      If it numbs, then it's definitely szechuan peppercorn. Crazy stuff. And kind of addictive.

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