Hua jiao, famous for its numbing properties, is indigenous to Sichuan, but is also grown in northern provinces including Shanxi and Shandong. Photo: Chris Dwyer

Sichuan peppercorns revealed: why they are numbing and the best places in Chengdu to get them

Travelling through China’s southwest province, we uncover the truth behind this extraordinary ingredient (it’s actually a berry), and search Chengdu for the ultimate in ma la

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Hua jiao, famous for its numbing properties, is indigenous to Sichuan, but is also grown in northern provinces including Shanxi and Shandong. Photo: Chris Dwyer
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