December 29, 2018

Together

In Chengdu alone, there are over twenty thousand hotpot restaurants.

You can see at least 7 restaurants along a 5-metre stretch of one street.

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Before the introduction of chilli into China, traditional Sichuan cuisine was not spicy.

It’s sweet, like this.

Steamed glutinous rice, with red bean paste and pork belly.

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Or sweet and sour, like sweet and sour pork ribs.

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Or savoury, like stir-fried diced pork with celtuce.

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Or salty, like stir-fried pork slices with salted pepper.

生爆盐煎肉

image source

The place the produces the most peppers is also not Sichuan, but Guizhou.

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Zunyi City of Guizhou Province sells over two million tonnes of peppers to the rest of the country.

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There’s an entire market dedicated to the trade of peppers, with real-time updates on pepper price. Traders who specialise in pepper are called “pepper agents”.

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Every dish comes with its own dipping sauce with varying degrees of spiciness.

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Diced pepper in noodles.

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Chilli oil in noodles.

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Chilli oil with peanuts for tofu.

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Whether it’s pork,

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or fish, there’s always a saucer of chilli oil for it.

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Restaurants in Guizhou also sell these jars of chilli oil.

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In Sichuan, peppers can be made into sour and slightly sweet pickles.

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Or turned into chilli oil that adds “hotness” to cold dishes.

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And of course there is the match made in heaven, between peppers and Sichuan peppercorn, to form the unique Sichuan flavour of “mala” (numb and spicy).

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In Heilongjiang, researchers in lab coats look busy.

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The subject of their study?

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They bring in napa cabbage by the truckload, to analyse the best way to make suancai—sour cabbage.

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There’s a dish called 白菜包白菜—cabbage leaves wrapped in cabbage leaves.

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酸菜粉条

Sour cabbage and pork with glass noodles

酸菜粉条

image source

Shanxi hotpot

With glass noodles, tofu, pork ribs, pork slices, and so much more.

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盆菜

“Big bowl” casserole

Carrots, mushrooms, yam, tofu, squid, braised pork with preserved vegetables, popcorn chicken and other ingredients are added to the big bowl in layer upon layer.

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盆菜

This casserole-style dish is common in many parts of China, though ingredients and taste differ.

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About fmiswriting

One out of 1.4 billion voices.

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