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Aug 6, 2008 08:44 PM

Authentic Sichuan doubanjiang (chili bean paste) in NYC?

I'm looking for real sichuan doubanjiang, imported from sichuan province.

The real stuff is supposed to use broad beans, as opposed to soy beans, which most brands use.

I've been to most of the stores in Manhattan Chinatown, and have used many brands of toban djan, of varying quality, but have yet to find the real thing.

Anyone know??


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  1. Have you tried Kam Man? I went searching for Sichuan peppercorns through Chinatown last weekend and remember thinking they had a better selection of regional items.

    3 Replies
    1. re: JungMann

      As of about a year ago, anyway, they did at least have a decent selection of doubanjiang. I don't know if the one I bought was any better than the others since most of the labels were inscrutible (to me anyway; sp?) but it did identify itself as coming from what I thought I recalled as the right area (Pixian province as I recall) so I figured it might the better bet. It struck me as the right starting point, anyway.... (?)

      1. re: MikeG

        Fwiw, I'll mention that I recently found the Dan Dan Seasoning Co paste at New York Mart on Mott St in Chinatown. (It's in mylar packets, not the ceramic jug in shown in Dunlop's blog.)

        I haven't tasted it yet, but does have a nice aroma and color. Looking forward to trying it soon since the Juan Chen brand (the red bag) hasn't shown up on the shelves for a while.

    2. Take a look at this link and scroll down to Chili Bean Paste Example #2:

      A few months back Fuchsia Dunlop's two books were the Cookbooks of the Month and many of us in Manhattan had lengthy and ongoing discussions about where to buy the recommended ingredients. The bean paste pictured at this link is probably the one you're looking for. To the best of my recollection, no one managed to find this particular brand in any of four or five Manhattan Chinatown shops, including Kam Man. I might be wrong about this, and hope that if so another Manhattan COTMer will chime in here. I believe many of us ended up substituting Chinese or Korean pastes made either with all soybeans or a combination of broad and soy.

      Good luck. And if you find it, do let us know.

      6 Replies
      1. re: JoanN

        Thanks Joan for this link. The preferred brand in that link made with broad beans is "Juan Cheng Pai" or Juan Cheng Brand if that is of any help to Sam.

        1. re: scoopG

          Dunlop has a recent post on her blog on preferred chile bean pastes:

          I just bought Baiweizhai brand Pockmarked Grandma's Bean Curd Seasoning. It's from Zigong in Sichuan.

          Broad beans are the first ingredient, but it also has garlic and ginger. I want to find one from Pixian if I can.

          1. re: ChiefHDB

            I've seen them (Pixian bean pastes) in the HK Supermarket among other places. Do you read Chinese by any chance? I'm not sure if Pixian is listed in English or Chinese. Will doubtlessly be in a Chinese store this weekend and will keep an eye out.

            1. re: buttertart

              Thinking it was douban jiang proper, I've bought the "red oil chilli bean sauce" referred to in the last paragraph of Dunlop's post at Kam Man. (Unless one does read Chinese, apparently the only way to confirm which of the two is which is the ingredients list.) Fwiw, Pixian is mentioned in English on the jar, but only in small print on the back, as part of the manufacturer's address. Since I don't read Chinese, I have no idea what the main label says.

              I've never seen the Sichuan Dan Dan Seasoning Co product, but I haven't been looking for it (until now!)

              Kam Man
              200 Canal St, New York, NY 10013

              1. re: MikeG

                Come to think of it the manufacturer's address does have to be on the label in English to be FDA compliant.

                1. re: MikeG

                  I wish I read chinese... I did see some good ones in HK yesterday, but I'm pretty happy with the one I bought so I just held off.

                  The place I found it is a smaller grocery store on the west side of mulberry, just south of canal, it's slightly below street level. I can't remember at all what it was called.

                  I also did find a chile oil produced in Sichuan at HK, it's really good, I'll take a picture for reference as soon as I can.

        2. sorry to be so late in responding-
          the Hong Kong supermarket in flushing (37th st. near main ave ) has the authentic product with broad beans-the exact one as in Kitchen Chick web site
          you can also get facing heaven chilis in the supermarkets in flushing

          1. i don't know the name of it, but there is the huge chinese supermarket on grand st.. maybe essex is the cross st?

            there is also a korean market, that has many chinese and japanese goods as well on 32nd st between 5th and 6th

            4 Replies
            1. re: thew

              ok some research - try these:

              Kam Man Foods on Canal
              Dynasty Supermarket on Elizabeth
              Hong Kong Supermarket on East Broadway
              New York Supermarket East Broadway (under the Manhattan Bridge)

              i think i was thinking of dynasty on elizabeth before

              1. re: thew

                I haven't seen doubanjiang at Han Ah Reum on 32nd, Kam Man on Canal or the Hong Kong Supermarket (which used to be called Dynasty) on Elizabeth. I've been looking as well.

                1. re: JungMann

                  I found this one in Kam Man, but it must have been about the third or fourth time I'd looked for it there. Perhaps they get in a limited supply, sell out quickly, and you have to be there at just the right time.

                  Fuschia Dunlop says the most famous chili bean pastes are from Pixian, just outside of Chengdu, and that is indeed where this one comes from.


                  1. re: JoanN

                    this is the exact one i've been using and its generally available at the Supermarkets in Flushing, e.g. HK supermarket at main and 37 st.

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