Five-spice powder is a Chinese seasoning. It incorporates the five basic flavours of Chinese cooking — sweet, sour, bitter, savoury, and salty. One of the many variations of five-spice powder consists of Chinese Tung Hing cinnamon (actually a type of cassia), powdered cassia buds, powdered star anise and anise seed, ginger root, Szechuan pepper and ground cloves. The over-riding aroma is of anise.
The formulae are based on the Chinese philosophy of balancing the yin and yang in food.
Although this spice is used in restaurant cooking, many Chinese households do not use it in day-to-day cooking. In Hawaii, some restaurants have it on the table.