Szechuan cuisine pays particular attention to “balancing the flavors” and regards flavor as its foundation. The six basic flavors concerned are tingly spicy, hot spicy, sweet, salty, tangy, and bitter, and more flavors are produced through the combination of two or more of the basic flavors. The secret of the famous “hot” Szechwan cuisine lies in the skillful use of hot chili peppers for its vibrant red color and subtle spicy fragrance. Szechuan cuisine has 24 basic flavors, the most among all the Chinese cuisines.
They can be categorized into 3 types:
1). Spicy category: tingly spicy, chilly oil spicy, sour-spicy, tingly pepper spicy, home-cooking flavor, Lychee spicy, Yushiang flavor (fish flavor spicy), orange flavor, strange flavor, and so on.
2). Savory category: garlic flavor, ginger flavor, mustard flavor, sesame flavor, smoke flavor, soy flavor, five-spice flavor, wine flavor and so on.
3). Fresh sweet sour category: salty savory, tomato flavor, sweet wine flavor, lychee flavor, sweet-sour flavor, fermented bean flavor and so on.