During a visit to Chongqing for Chinese New Year, my mum made a cucumber salad using local green Sichuan pepper oil. The iconic combination of floral aroma and tingling sensation was a visceral reminder of my upbringing in Chongqing in the 1990s in China. I returned to the U.S. with a bottle.
After serving one of Thomas Keller’s mushroom pasta recipes at a dinner party, I offered my guests green Sichuan pepper oil as a condiment. Everyone loved the tingling sensation! And the floral aroma complemented the umami from Parmesan cheese and the earthiness of the mushrooms. I realized then that the uniqueness of Sichuan pepper shouldn't be confined to just Chinese cuisines!
So I started selling green Sichuan pepper oil in April 2020. 2 months later, The New York Times recognized its novelty, describing it as "an oil that tingles and transforms". We sold tens of thousands of bottles overnight. And now we have 50Hertz-ers using it in their pasta, ramen, pizzas, and even tacos!
Why are we called 50Hertz?
When scientists at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London studied Sichuan Pepper, they found that the “frequency of the tingling induced by Sichuan Pepper was consistently at around 50 Hertz”, giving rise to our company’s name.
The tingling, numbing, sensation is caused by a molecule called hydroxy-α-sanshool. While humans have nerve endings all over our skin, this aromatic molecule can only reach those nerve receptors where the skin is very thin, such as on the mouth and lips. This is why we experience a stimulating pleasant sensation when tasting Sichuan Pepper.
At 50Hertz, we are on a mission to infuse excitement into your food and drinks with a curious tongue tingling sensation and a beautiful floral aroma that only Sichuan pepper could bring!