Shishito pepper is a sweet, heirloom variety of pepper native to East Asian countries, especially in Japan and Korea. The name is a portmanteau of the Japanese words “shishi,” which means “lion,” and “togarashi,” which translates to “chili pepper,” referring to the tip of the pepper that looks like a lion’s head. This pepper is also called shishito in the United States. However, it is often confused with Pimiento de Padrón, a pepper that also has a similar appearance.
Meanwhile, it is called “kkwari-gochu” in Korea, which translates to “ground cherry pepper.” The name refers to the pepper’s wrinkled surface that resembles ground cherries.
Family: Solanaceae (Nightshade)
Genus: Capsicum (Pepper)
Species: Capsicum Annuum
Binomial Name: Capsicum Annuum ‘Shishito’
Shishito Pepper Trivia
- Shishito peppers are roughly 100 times milder than jalapeños.
- Some people compare shishito peppers to the game Russian roulette due to the fact that every single shishito plant only produces one out of ten peppers that’s hot. And, you wouldn’t know which one unless of course, you’re the lucky one to bite into it.
- Perhaps, the shishito pepper got its roots from the Pimiento de Padrón, a pepper native to Spain which most likely came from South America in the 16th century.