Q&A

How Did Chile Peppers Get to China?

A new book addresses the chile pepper’s journey

Photo: Westend61/Getty Images

Chinese cuisine is almost unimaginable without chile peppers. From Beijing to Chongqing to Shanghai to Hong Kong, you find chiles fresh, dried, and pickled, chile pastes, chile oils. Sometimes they dominate, as in the fiery food of Sichuan province; sometimes they’re condiments designed merely…