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Sichuan Pepper Spice and Mala Flavor

Recently, especially in Jabodetabek, restaurants with Chinese nuances have begun to spread. These restaurants serve an unusual hot pot menu using Chinese spices; Sichuan pepper. What is Sichuan pepper?

Sichuan pepper is a spice that belongs to the Rutaceae family originating from the Sichuan region of China. Sichuan pepper has a distinctive aroma and taste and is commonly used for medical purposes because it has good health benefits. This spice is also used as a spice in Chinese cuisine besides medical purposes.

Sichuan pepper can cause numbing on the tongue due to the presence of the hydroxyl α shansool. In Chinese cuisine, Sichuan pepper is usually mixed with chili peppers to create the Mala flavor, literally translated to “numbing” (Ma) and “spicy” (La). This is the key ingredient for Chinese hotpot cuisine that makes its numbing taste.

Recently in Indonesian market there are some companies who launch mala flavor. We can find some products like: Instant noodles, snacks, and some ramen restaurants. Sichuan pepper is widely used spice in Chinese cuisine, which is used as one of ngohiong spices (5 spices). The 5 spices are made with star anise, Sichuan pepper, cinnamon, cloves and fennel. Chinese people commonly used it for marinating meat, flour batter, and hotpot.

Sichuan pepper or Zanthoxylum sp. also spread to other countries including Thailand, Japan and Indonesia. In Indonesia, there is Andaliman spice which has the same genus as Sichuan pepper. It is commonly grown in the forest of west Sumatra.

Andaliman spice is a typical spice from the Batak land area in West Sumatra. The distinctive aroma of Andaliman, which is like the smell of lime, and it is often used to "wash" fish to get rid of the fishy smell. This unique taste of Andaliman also gave birth to Batak culinary specialties such as Arsik Fish, Dekke Naiura, Mie Gomak, Saksang and various types of Sambal.

For some people who are familiar with Andaliman taste, they might be easier to adapt to the Sichuan pepper flavor or the Mala flavor. In line with the trend of Mala flavor in Indonesia. NP Foods Indonesia also has developed various variants of the Mala seasoning. We have created many variants of Mala Seasoning; those can be applied into snacks, instant noodles, biscuits and even processed meat. Using unique raw materials from around the world, NP Foods creates a unique and distinctive taste to meet the needs especially for the snack food, instant noodle and processed meat industry.

PT. NP Foods Indonesia also committed to producing and distributing products that comply with BPOM Regulations, as we follow the Indonesian Government and as our concern for the Indonesian people for what they consume.


  • Ji, Yue, Shiming Li, Chi-Tang ho. 2019. Chemical composition, sensory properties and application of Sichuan pepper (Zanthoxylum genus). New Brunswick : Food Science and Human Wellness 8 (2019).

  •, administrator, Andaliman Harta Terpendam Tano Batak. 2020 <> (diakses 14 Maret 2023).


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