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Sichuan ingredients in Minneapolis

kriminalrat Aug 2, 2013 06:22 AM

Decided to start Sichuan cooking and need to start a pantry. Shuang Hur,United Noodle, or somewhere else? Whaere is the best Market? Also does anyone have suggestions for particular brands. I have a feeling it might be difficult to track down staples like Chili Bean paste, sichuan dried chilis, preserved vegetables, etc....

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  1. ibew292 RE: kriminalrat Aug 2, 2013 06:28 AM

    United Noodle berfore Shuang Hur. UN should have what you are looking for.

    1. mitch cumstein RE: kriminalrat Aug 2, 2013 07:15 AM

      i usually get sichuan peppercorns at shuang hur, it's closer for me than UN and they always have them, but labeled under prickly ash berry

      1. m
        Maggie19 RE: kriminalrat Aug 2, 2013 09:07 AM

        I prefer Shuang Hur - although UN may have a larger selection, but prices seem higher at UN. Buy dried peppers to make your own chili paste and chili oil, I like dried Thai peppers... Por Kwan, Lee Kum Kee, and Sichuan Pixiandouban are all decent brands. I like Pearl River Bridge for ss.

        1. k
          kevin47 RE: kriminalrat Aug 3, 2013 09:44 AM

          You shouldn't have much trouble finding chili bean paste. The trick is knowing exactly what you need for the recipe, because the sheer volume of options can be overwhelming.

          Szechuan peppercorns are much harder to find. I thought I read UN doesn't even have them, but Shuang Hur does (just ask for them if you can't find them).

          Lee Kum Kee is always reliable, so that's my go to.

          26 Replies
          1. re: kevin47
            gildeddawn RE: kevin47 Aug 3, 2013 10:13 AM

            Szechuan peppercorns are always available at Penzey's.

            1. re: gildeddawn
              mitch cumstein RE: gildeddawn Aug 3, 2013 07:16 PM

              penzeys is a rip off. Sichuan peppercorns are always at shuang hur labeled as prickly ash berries.

              1. re: mitch cumstein
                gildeddawn RE: mitch cumstein Aug 4, 2013 11:24 AM

                Yeah, it's more expensive, that's definitely true. Just offering it in case people were having trouble finding them.

                1. re: gildeddawn
                  ibew292 RE: gildeddawn Aug 4, 2013 01:56 PM

                  Quality costs more....

                2. re: mitch cumstein
                  kriminalrat RE: mitch cumstein Aug 7, 2013 11:12 AM

                  Was disappointed with shuang hurs peppercorns...virtually no ma (numbing flavor)

                3. re: gildeddawn
                  kevin47 RE: gildeddawn Aug 6, 2013 08:52 PM

                  When I called Penzey's they didn't have them. Are they called something else there too?

                  1. re: kevin47
                    getgot211 RE: kevin47 Aug 6, 2013 10:05 PM

                    I just bought some last Friday, maybe you talked to someone new?

                    1. re: kevin47
                      mitch cumstein RE: kevin47 Aug 6, 2013 10:20 PM

                      prickly. ash. berries.

                      1. re: kevin47
                        justalex RE: kevin47 Aug 8, 2013 07:46 AM

                        Just looked at the jar I have from Penzey's. In big bold type it says 'Peppercorns'. Underneath, in smaller type, it reads 'China Szechuan'.

                    2. re: kevin47
                      The Dairy Queen RE: kevin47 Aug 3, 2013 04:44 PM

                      Lee Kum Kee is pretty ubiquitous. But, I agree, it's a good idea to know exactly what you're cooking so you can acquire the exact right ingredients. I often bring the cookbook with me. I love this slide show of shopping for ingredients (in NY, not Mpls, sadly) with Fuchsia Dunlop. http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2013/0... If you're cooking from Dunlop's Sichuan Cookery/Land of Plenty there are some extensive threads on the home cooking board where people talk about the brands they've found and often post photos.

                      Here's the Master thread (with links to a bunch of subthreads) for Dunlop "Land of Plenty" (Sichuan) & "Revolutionary Chinese" (Hunan) http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/494660

                      Here's the master thread for Dunlop's "Every Grain of Rice".


                      1. re: The Dairy Queen
                        kriminalrat RE: The Dairy Queen Aug 4, 2013 07:31 AM

                        I went shuang hur and was able to find pretty much everything. The only thing I couldn't find was dried sichuan chiles. Went to 3 places no luck. Everyone has Thai peppers but I think the heat in those would overpower recipes.

                        1. re: kriminalrat
                          BigSal RE: kriminalrat Aug 4, 2013 08:06 AM

                          I've found these dried chiles at Shuang Hur in Minneapolis. http://www.kitchenchick.com/2007/02/t...

                          1. re: BigSal
                            kriminalrat RE: BigSal Aug 7, 2013 11:08 AM

                            Missed them...is there a substitute for the Sichuan Chile?

                            1. re: kriminalrat
                              BigSal RE: kriminalrat Aug 7, 2013 05:39 PM

                              They are hard to find at Shuang Hur- not the most organized place. :) According to Fuchsia Dunlop, any chile that will give off that nice red color and palatable heat will work (Thai peppers are typically too hot). http://tinyurl.com/mow2tah. Before I tracked down the heaven facing chiles, I just used another Chinese chile.

                        2. re: The Dairy Queen
                          kriminalrat RE: The Dairy Queen Aug 7, 2013 11:14 AM

                          Thanks tdq...just picked up lop and a wok and am really enjoying cooking Sichuan food.

                          1. re: kriminalrat
                            The Dairy Queen RE: kriminalrat Aug 7, 2013 06:19 PM

                            Please do come post over in the LOP threads on Home Cooking. The more the merrier. Plus, the more Twin Citeans scouring town for Sichuan ingredients, the better.


                        3. re: kevin47
                          BigSal RE: kevin47 Aug 4, 2013 08:11 AM

                          My mapo tofu taste so much better now that I am using Sichuan chili bean paste (douban jiang). It adds a depth of flavor and savoriness that wasn't there previously. The ingredients are chillies, broad (fava) beans, salt and wheatflour. I purchased them online, but recently noticed they are available locally at United Noodle.

                          1. re: BigSal
                            The Dairy Queen RE: BigSal Aug 4, 2013 10:16 AM

                            What brand,BigSal? A photo would be great, if it's not too much trouble.


                            1. re: The Dairy Queen
                              BigSal RE: The Dairy Queen Aug 4, 2013 03:30 PM

                              The ones I have were purchased online and different than the one at United Noodle. I'll try to remember to take a picture for you the next time I'm there.

                              1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                ChancesR RE: The Dairy Queen Aug 4, 2013 03:56 PM

                                I'm just finishing a jar of the pic on the left for my Mapo Tofu. But I'm going back to the can on the right, which to me has a more traditional flavor.

                                1. re: ChancesR
                                  The Dairy Queen RE: ChancesR Aug 4, 2013 08:22 PM

                                  Very kind of you, thank you! Both of those have broad beans?


                                2. re: The Dairy Queen
                                  The Dairy Queen RE: The Dairy Queen Aug 4, 2013 08:21 PM

                                  That would be great, if it's not too much trouble. It's easy to find the ones that have soybeans; harder to find the ones with broad beans.


                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                    BigSal RE: The Dairy Queen Aug 5, 2013 07:02 PM

                                    Went to United Noodle today and they are out of the Pixian Broad Bean Chili Paste. They said it should be in stock in the next week or so. I'll let you know the next time I see it.

                                    I did see the the canned chili bean sauce (the one of the right) ChancesR posted and it is made with soybeans. Not sure about the other.

                                    1. re: BigSal
                                      ChancesR RE: BigSal Aug 6, 2013 09:15 AM

                                      TDQ and BigSal, I didn't know about the broad bean/soybean dichotomy. Does the broad bean chili bean sauce have a different flavor?

                                      1. re: ChancesR
                                        BigSal RE: ChancesR Aug 6, 2013 07:03 PM

                                        I'm no expert, but I read about Pixian doubanjiang in Fucshia Dunlop's book and blog (and elsewhere). It is my understanding that the premiere doubanjiang (aka the soul of Sichuan cuisine) is made in Pixian county. There they make it with broad beans. I have noticed that the Pixian doubanjiang seems to have more complexity than some of the others (non-Pixian) I have used. For us, it is worth seeking out the Pixian variety, so it's nice to know that we have local sources (United Noodle) for it now.

                                        1. re: BigSal
                                          BigSal RE: BigSal Aug 17, 2013 02:23 PM

                                          United Noodle has the Pixian doubanjiang (chili bean paste) back in stock. I haven't tried this brand before. On a side note, I've noticed that the salt content varies quite a bit with different pastes, so I would taste your dish with the paste before adding any soy sauce or salt.

                            2. j
                              jeanmt RE: kriminalrat Aug 6, 2013 11:47 AM

                              And don't forget Dragon Star on Dale and Minnehaha in St. Paul. I've had decent luck there. I order sichuan peppercorns online at world something (you have to send a check) and it's worked out great. World of Spices?

                              1. scoopG RE: kriminalrat Aug 8, 2013 05:02 AM

                                Given all the food safety woes in China, Chinese in the USA are now happy to search for the “made in Taiwan” label. Lan Chi makes a wide range of prepared sauces.


                                See if the local suppliers can get a hold of the wonderful, aged soy sauce made by
                                Wan Ja Shan – a Taiwanese company that makes their soy sauce in NY State. They also have an organic soy sauce.


                                1. c
                                  ChancesR RE: kriminalrat Oct 23, 2013 11:04 AM

                                  Found Ming Teh brand Broad Bean Paste With Chili at United Noodle. It's made in Taiwan so may be safer per scoopG's concern. Haven't tried it yet but will re-post when I do.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: ChancesR
                                    JoeAllen RE: ChancesR Oct 24, 2013 09:04 AM

                                    For us on the north side, we go to Golden Lion supermarket, off 252/85th. Huge selection, I've gotten our schizuan peppercorns there.

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