Star Anise (Ba Jiao, 八角)
Star anise, the eight-pointed, beautiful star spice, is native to southwest China (and Vietnam) and is widely used in braises, stews and soup stocks. It is an ingredient of Chinese five spice (along with Sichuan pepper, cassia bark, fennel and clove), and finds its way into Sichuan hot pot and dry pot spice mixes.
Premium-grade star anise such as this from Guangxi Province features mostly whole, large stars with high oil content and a fragrance and flavor that puts the supermarket version to shame. Note that Chinese star anise is larger and rougher-textured than some other varieties.
Source: Grown in Guangxi Autonomous Region
Size: 2 ounces (57 grams)