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The Real Thing - Looking for a restaurant that cooks with Szechuan Peppercorn.

There are plenty of Chinese restaurants with Szechuan in their name and on their menus, but they almost never actually use this exotically floral and hot spice. I realize that most of the Chinese food in the US is heavily influenced by southern China where many immigrants came from, but I'm dying for some authentically prepared Szechuan dishes with real Szechuan peppercorn. Anyone know of a restaurant worth recommending?

 
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  1. Where have you tried that you didn't find what you're looking for?

    1. have you tried z&y? interesting if you don't consider them authentic.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Dustin_E

        Wow. Thanks! I didn't know about Z&Y. Looks just like the grub I had my first night In Chengdu. (I also had an unforgettable hot pot dinner with eel blood smeared on the plates.)

        1. re: the_dying_gaul

          Sichuan peppercorns aren't in every Sichuan dish, so if that's specifically what you're looking for, make sure to ask the servers for dishes that have lots of "ma la" (numbing spiciness). Also, put on your phone or memorize this combination of characters for Málà : 麻辣 . They're typically at the beginning of a dish's name, and sometimes differentiate the traditional version of a dish versus the westernized.

          1. re: the_dying_gaul

            fish in flaming chili oil
            spicy special tofu
            dan dan mien

            are dishes i often get, that have this numbing sensation.

            green onion pancake
            beef pancake roll
            shrimp with egg yolk

            are dishes there that i like that don't have the numbing sensation, but might be a nice counter-point to some of the dishes i mentioned above.

            there are also full threads in the archives about what to order at z&y.

            you seem to know this type of cuisine, so please report back what you liked if you give it a try.

        2. You might have to specifically ask your waiter for the chef to use more of the spice. I would not call it hot, it is strangely alkaline/chemical, tastes like anise, and makes your tongue tingle. I can see why they don't use a lot of it when preparing food for non-chinese or even chinese people not from sichuan. When I was in china I regularly got soups etc with 20 of those little devils floating in them and I just could not eat it and I am a person known for his love of extremely spicy food.

          1. I'm surprised that you don't see it around, but then I live five minutes from China Village in Albany, where it's a staple ingredient.

            1. I've had great dan dan noodles at Bund Shanghai. I assume other of their dishes use Sichuan peppercorns. I've never found them lacking in appropriate dishes.