Sounds like a job for The Interpreter.
The word: Togarashi (toh-gah-rah-shee).
Its origin: Japan.
What it means: Red chili peppers from the genus capsicum.
What it really means: Dried Japanese peppers ground into powder or flake form, thereby ready for sprinkling over food.
Where you’ve seen it: On the menu at Japanese restaurants and, increasingly, fusion-y spots that deem themselves a “gastropub.”
How it’s used: Chiefly as a condiment to spice up noodles, soups and meats, either alone or blended with other ingredients like mandarin orange peels, sesame seeds, poppy seeds and seaweed.
How else it’s used: Try mixing it with salt and dashing that mixture into your next Bloody Mary (or just rim the glass with it) for an aromatic, spicy kick that’s got more depth than hot sauce. And a snack that’s got more vodka than soup.