The chile pepper did not arrive in China until the 1570s, and yet Chinese cuisine without chiles is hard to imagine. Indigenous to the Americas, chiles are so much a part of Chinese culture that many Chinese assume that they are native plants. In a conversation moderated by Charity Robey, Brian Dott described more than 400 years of Chinese chile history; how the plant went from foreign and suspect, to an integral part of traditional Chinese medicine, garden aesthetics, cuisine and language, even changing the meaning of spicy (la). The beautifully illustrated Zoom presentation is currently available to CHNY members and ticketed guests; it will be released to the general public in February 2021.
As a special treat, CHNY member and drinks expert Kara Newman created a chili-infused cocktail for our virtual reception.