Guaiwei (Chinese: 怪味; pinyin: guài wèi; literally: "strange/exotic taste") is a seasoning mixture in Szechuan cuisine of China. Although it is popular in the Sichuan province, it is seldom used outside of the region's cuisine, unlike yuxiang, another seasoning mixture of the region. The guaiwei seasoning exists in several forms but can be viewed as the combination of yuxiang and mala seasoning with a high proportion of sesame and sour ingredients.
The ingredients of guaiwei always consists of either some or all of each group of:
- Sesame: Using either ground sesame, sesame oil, or sesame paste
- Sour: Using either lemon juice or more traditionally, dark rice vinegar(香醋)
- Piquant: Using Sichuan peppercorns, occasionally without chilis
- Savoury: Using soy sauce or salt and less commonly, doubanjiang
with huangjiu (Chinese rice wine) used occasionally.
Preparation of the seasoning mixture can be done cold or hot, with cold mixtures being richer and heavier and hot mixtures lighter in taste.
Dishes that use guaiwei as the main seasoning has the term affixed to its name. For instance:
- Guaiwei ji (怪味鸡: Guaiwei braised chicken
- Guaiwei dusi (怪味肚丝): Guaiwei pork stomach
- Guaiwei niujian (怪味牛腱): Guaiwei beef shank
- Guaiwei dou (怪味豆): Guaiwei fava beans, eaten as a snack