It is time to let you in on a secret: Mission Chinese Food's flagrantly aromatic, house-made spice blend.
Danny Bowien and Anthony Myint, the chefs of the brand-new dining concept at the old-guard restaurant Lung Shan, knew that it would be an uphill battle to cook profoundly flavorful Chinese food without MSG.
So the two created a powder of dried chiles, black and Sichuan peppercorns, cumin and coriander seeds, star anise and Vietnamese cinnamon that appears in many of Mission Chinese Food's pedigreed dishes. Hot, sweet and sharp, it careens through the mouth doing maniacal whirligigs.
The mix appears twice in the incendiary ma po tofu ($8), a dish so meticulously assembled that Bowien compares it to a Sichuan Bolognese.
The blend is the final fillip for a scorching plate of pickles ($3); it will also be the rub for a forthcoming dish modeled after the lamb burgers at New York City's famed Xi'an Famous Foods.
For home use, he says the blend (click here to download the recipe) is ideal for braised ribs. Or keep it simple and mix it with equal parts salt and use as a garnish for edamame or pickles.
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Mission Chinese Food/Lung Shan, 2234 Mission St. (at 18th St.); 415-863-2800 or missionchinesefood.com
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