Friday, April 9, 2010

The Spice Market

Today I wandered into the wholesale spice market near the north train station.

There were enormous bags of Sichuan peppercorns, taller than a person. The red milder variety was there in abundance, as well as the more pungent dark green kind. (I've noticed in grocery stores the red kind is often labelled 花椒 while the green kind is 麻椒)

You could choose many grinds and types of hot pepper powder (辣椒面 or 辣椒粉)

While red pepper, Sichuan pepper, and dried spices were mostly on offer you could also find pickled peppers (泡椒):

The spices were gorgeous and very fresh smelling. Star anise (八角), fennel (小茴香), not sure, lotus seeds (莲子)

These were only a small selection of the spices there. They also had many kinds of dried mushrooms and dried seafood in the back corner.

Hai jiao:

Hot pepper is 辣椒, pronounced 'la jiao' in Mandarin. In Sichuanese, hot pepper is 'hai jiao'. This gets transliterated with the ocean character into '海椒'. So, this place is called Chengdu Haijiao Cheng, or Hot Pepper City (海椒城) :

Location: Wukuaishi
Location in Chinese: 五块石

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