Sichuan Chili Peppers
Although chili peppers first arrived in China in the 16th century it was several more centuries before they made their way into widespread use. Surprisingly, chilis were initially considered to be more of a decorative garden plant rather than anything desirable to eat. They were heavily featured in spacious gardens around the Jiang-Zhe province which were renowned for their beauty at the time. Later on, traders brought chilis to the Guizhou area where the temperate climate allowed the chilis to thrive. Nowadays, some of the largest chili farms are located in Guizhou, these farms supply chilis to much of China and even other parts of Asia.
It wasn’t until the 19th century that chilis became a staple for Sichuan cuisine. It became so iconic that today one cannot picture Sichuan cuisine without the vibrant red color of the chili pepper. It’s impossible to take a step in any Chengdu market without encountering hundreds of different varieties of chili pepper.
Chili peppers and Sichuan peppercorn was found to be an incredibly formidable duo of flavor and it is for this reason that this combination is present in many Sichuan dishes. Although this taste is one of the most popular, Sichuan cuisine is more than just one taste. It is dynamic and full of depth, and it is said that every type of dish has many different variations and for each of those variations there are a hundred different flavors.