When we visited Gege and his family last weekend, one of the many things he insisted we take with us when we left was a box containing two small jars of chilli sauce. No big deal, right? I spent my first year in China in Hunan, home of the hottest, and China has a wide variety of chilli sauces.
Except that this particular sauce is made of 海南灯笼黄辣椒/Hainan Lantern Yellow Chillies. Hainan has its own particular flavour, quite distinct from other chillies- although I don't know how to describe how the flavour is different. And it has quite a pleasant burn to it. Actually, it's pretty damn potent.
So this evening I mixed a couple of chopstick-pinches of this Hainan Yellow into the vinegar for my jiaozi, and poured myself a glass of Guizhou Chun to wash it all down with, and the result is I'm on quite a pleasant high, thinking I ought to do this more often.
I never thought I'd say this about a non-Hunan chilli or chilli sauce, but that Hainan Yellow is good stuff. Look out for it- 海南灯笼黄辣椒/Hainan Lantern Yellow Chilli. But be careful, it's potent.
Yeah, lzh is still away at this conference. She'll be back tomorrow morning (uh, yeah, better clean up then, ay?). But that's ok, because that Hainan Yellow turned my store-bought jiaozi into something really quite pleasant.
That durian candy Gege gave us wasn't so good though... but it did help me out big time when I got up from my attempt at a nap and was hit full force by a kick-arse huge sugar craving.
I love chilli. I hate Tianjin for robbing me of my chilli tolerance. I really love chilli. I also love Hunan food. Damn, it's long since time I returned to Changsha. I've got places there I need to show lzh just like there are places in Aotearoa she needs to see. Places I grew up in. Places that are burnt into my soul.
Did I mention I love chilli?
Yeah, sure, I was born and raised in New Zealand of 100% Pakeha stock, and I lived there until I was 23 and a half- as in never left those fair isles until I wangled my first job in China. But still, there are many respects in which I grew up in China.
Damn, that Hainan Yellow is good, but I'm going to have to put a bit more in the mix next time, it's starting to wear off already.