Edibles & Potables: Why 50Hertz Tingly Foods is a “sensory company,” not a chili pepper purveyor

For whatever reason, I read as many British newspapers as American. It balances the view and broadens perspective.

The Guardian is a British daily newspaper. It was founded in 1821 as The Manchester Guardian; it changed its name in 1959. Along with its sister papers The Observer and The Guardian WeeklyThe Guardian is part of the Guardian Media Group, owned by the Scott Trust.

The Guardian’s series “The New Face of Small Business” recently featured Yao Zhao and his company 50Hertz Tingly Foods, which “isn’t a chili oil or spice purveyor – it’s a ‘sensory company’ importing the taste of China’s Sichuan province to the US.”

Why “50Hertz”? Taylor Holliday explains at Explore Parts Unknown (“Where the Peppers Grow”).

Even more than other spices that have been endowed by evolution with defensive odors and tastes, Sichuan pepper seem designed not to be being eaten. Once you get past the thorns, the taste of a fresh or freshly dried berry leaves your mouth, tongue, and lips buzzing and numb for several minutes. It is literally electric: The active ingredient, sanshool, causes a vibration on the lips measured at 50 hertz. According to a 2013 study at University College London, that’s the same frequency as the power grid in most parts of...Read more