Here's something I can never figure out: I visited Sichuan, China about 20 years ago. One of the most interesting culinary things I found out is that they use this wonderful spice that has an anesthetic quality, makes the tongue & lips tingle.
In all of the dozens of times I've eaten in NY "Sichuan" restaurants I have never encountered the stuff. I've seen it in spice shops, but no one ever seems to cook with it! What gives?