Sichuan pepper is the fruit of a shrub related to the prickly ash that is native to Sichuan, and there's a world of difference between fresh, premium-grade Sichuan pepper and what is normally found in the U.S. The best "hua jiao" is grown in Hanyuan County, and beyond that our Chengdu buyer looks for intense aroma, high oil content and a strong numbing sensation, as well as purity, with no additives and few stems and seeds (which are not used for cooking but often appear in lower quality Sichuan pepper). Go here for more information on Sichuan pepper or details on how to roast and grind the peppercorns to use as a powder.
Source: Hanyuan County, Sichuan
Size: 100 grams (3.5 ounces); 1 1/2 cups by volume