Editor's note: London-based cook, food writer and consultant Fuchsia Dunlop sits down with CNN to discuss her love affair with Sichuanese cuisine. Her responses have been edited for concision and flow.
CNN: What sparked your interest in Sichuanese cuisine?
I got very interested in China through a job subediting news reports about the east Asian region, particularly China. So I started Mandarin evening classes and went on holiday to China and was fascinated.
I'd been in Sichuan in 1993 when coming back from a holiday to Tibet and had an amazing lunch with some dishes I never forgot. I had looked up a Sichuanese musician whom I'd met in my hometown of Oxford, and he and his wife took me out. It was at a very modest little restaurant, but we had a delicious meal and ended up on the riverbank drinking jasmine tea at a teahouse. At that moment, I thought, I want to come back and live here.
The next year, I applied for a British Council scholarship to study minorities, culture and history at Sichuan University. While in Sichuan, I started cooking in my spare time and investigating the food. It gradually just took over, and I realized that was the thing that I really wanted to study.
Read the full interview, "Sichuan cuisine: More than just spice," on CNN International
I find hot and spicy food very boring. The spices are so overpowering that you cannot taste any of the subtle flavors of other ingredients. Put enough sauce on it and packing peanuts become edible.
Good stuff. If my food doesn't give me the sniffles, it is boring.
I had some Sichuan hot mustard sauce in high school and I thought my head and chest were going to explode.
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