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Where to buy Sichuan/Chinese ingredients?


Lochina
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I'm reading Fuschia Dunlop's excellent book on Sichuan regional cooking, entitled Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper (I highly recommend it). Reading about 50 pages from this book every day has inspired me to try to cook from it, as well as from her more recipe-specific cookbook Land of Plenty. I need to pick up some stapes like pickled chiles, chili bean paste, Sichuan peppercorns, and fermented black beans, to start. I've shopped around in Chinatown before, but I'm hoping someone has a great recommendation for a place where I can pick up most of these ingredients. Please let me know!

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If you go to FuchsiaDunlop.com and click on the blog link a few people (including myself) have talked about where they get Chinese Ingrediants.

I have found the quality of Sichuan Peppercorns in my local chinese markets to be really awfull but most do sell acceptable Lee Kum Kee chilli bean paste and Pearl River Brand black beans.

Turkish or middle eastern shops always sell mild, red pickled chilli's.

I have never seen them in a chinese supermarket apart from those Thai birdeyes that are far too hot for purpose.

Strangley I have had much more success in Korean/Japanese shops and have even sourced some great facing heaven chilli's and very fresh Sichuan peppercorns.

I wonder why this is? Perhaps Sichuan food is popular with Koreans or Japanese peoples? I would love to find out if anyone knows.

Anyway, I hope this helps.

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You should be able to get most if not all of these items in big Chinese supermarkets. The biggest I know of within city limits is A&C in Flushing, on Kissena Blvd. across the street from the Flushing branch of the Queens Borough Public Library. In Manhattan, try Hong Kong Supermarket on Pike St. (extension of Allen) between East Broadway and Madison St.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Canal and Mott - go to Kam Man. They have everything you list, and will have just about anything that isn't fresh. Hong Kong Supermarket, as mentioned, is great, too. You can always go to Deluxe Supermarket for really amazing fresh items, especially all kinds of meats - it's at 79 elizabeth.

I want pancakes! God, do you people understand every language except English? Yo quiero pancakes! Donnez moi pancakes! Click click bloody click pancakes!

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Thanks! I just got back from a major spree at the Brooklyn location of Hong Kong Supermarket, getting basically all the Sichuan ingredients I'll need to cook from Land of Plenty--for a total of $22. However, I couldn't locate the most important ingredient--the peppercorns. I found a bag of "Chinese Prickly Ash," thought it probably was the peppercorns, decided not to buy it in case it was something different, and came home to have Google inform that that is in fact an alternate name for Szechuan peppercorn. D'oh! I couldn't tell anything about the quality, though--I smelled them and they were not very fragrant. Any experience buying really good Szechuan peppercorns in New York? Where?

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It's hard to even know what good Sichuan peppercorns are supposed to look like.

Since the ban was lifted, they've certainly become easier to find, but I think the treatment they undergo to be let into this country saps them of a lot of their volatile oils.

I remember getting some before the ban (they were findable in certain places), and they were much more fragrant and biting they the ones I've gotten since.

That said, most of the markets I've been to carry them now.

Here's a topic that discusses tips for using.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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  • 1 month later...

Was at Hong Kong supermarket on East B’way yesterday and was disappointed in their selection. I did find facing heaven chiles, but not the brand of chili bean paste I wanted (which I’ve found before in the Flushing Hong Kong market) or even the brand of rice vinegar I was looking for (Pearl River Bridge). I find their selection to be very hit and miss. I can't always count on them having what I'm looking for in stock.

Edited by JBN (log)
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  • 2 weeks later...

I actually just saw Sichuan peppercorns today in the unlikeliest of places - an Indian Spice market. The store is Dual, on 1st avenue between 5th and 6th streets (the west side of the avenue, a few steps below street level. It is a fantastic store in general -- their spice selection is fantastic and very reasonably priced.

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