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Five-Spice Powder

We tested six brands of five-spice powder to determine which really delivered an authentic Asian flavor.

What We Learned

Chinese five-spice powder adds a kick that offsets richness in both sweet and savory recipes. In traditional Chinese cooking, the five elements of the cosmos—earth, fire, metal, water, and wood—are represented by five-spice powder. Most blends from China include cinnamon, star anise, cloves, fennel, and Sichuan pepper. (Companies selling five-spice powder in America substitute white...