Lion bite

Shishito peppers

Illustration by Kyle Shine

Over the last few years, shishito peppers seem suddenly popular, although they’ve been around for centuries. The name is a short version of the Japanese name shishitogarashi (green lion pepper) because they allegedly resemble lion faces. Eating them is like poking a lion, because one in every 10 or so surprises you with a bite. Similar to the Spanish padron pepper, shishitos often appear on menus quickly blistered in a searing pan and sprinkled with salt. Eat them with lots of beer or sake on hand to slake your thirst if you grab a fiery one.