What’s in that Chinese BBQ Man’s Spice Mix?

It’s a question we get quite a bit while dining on our Street Eats Night Markets tour. The blend of spices have just enough kick to set your mouth abuzz (or aflame, depending on your tolerance for spice), yet is well balanced so that it’s quite hard to place your finger on what exactly the flavor is.

We’ve tried asking, and it’s definitely a case or everyone’s blend is probably a little bit different, depending on family recipe, region, etc.

Based on asking around and independent research (that includes A LOT of tastings) our  spice mix would probably look something like this:

Szechuan Pepper corns or Black Pepper corns
Star Anis (roasted and ground fine)
Fennel seed
& Cumin

spice mix bbq china street food

Whatever the exact mixture, it’s usually a delicious and exotic-tasting combination of flavors that makes the skewers really POP.
In Shanghai, you can usually find BBQ guys set up at night on busy street corners, or around popular bar streets, such as Yonfu Lu, Hengshan Lu, and all along Wulumuqi Lu.

Happy eats!

Spots on our full Day Tour Monday March 26th still available!
Running Tips for Spring in Shanghai

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