Tana seed is a traditional spice used by the Taiwanese indigenous people. The shelled Tana seeds bear a citrus fragrance and can be ground or smashed into pieces before adding them to a dish. They are able to remove meat odours and enhance the aroma. They are often used in various meat and seafood dishes and are also used in baking or making cocktails. It is paired with crunchy nuts roasted at low-temperatures, and no matter whether it is used as a dipping sauce, or a sauce for rice or noodles, it will add layers of flavour to the food. It is an essential all-purpose sauce for the kitchen.
We use Tana seeds sourced from an indigenous tribe in Hualien. The seeds are hand-collected by the tribe in the low-altitude mountains, and then sun-dried for several days. Tana is an aboriginal name and it is a close relative of Sichuan pepper, with both being members of the Rutaceae family and emitting a strong fragrance. Additionally, as the branches and leaves have thorns, they are locally known as “birds-perch-not”. The young leaves are also fragrant and the indigenous people often pick them for cooking soup, frying eggs, or brewing medicinal wine.