The pulverized core of a black peppercorn, husked of its dark, oil-packed husk, white peppercorn has a bite which is similar to classic pepper, but the taste is milder and the smell isn’t as fragrant. While that might sound like a loss, it’s actually what makes white peppercorn so unique—you can get a little bit of the mild heat and nose-clearing brightness of peppercorn, without the dominating aroma we associate with black pepper. Because of that, it plays nicely with other spices and is most prevalent in Chinese and Vietnamese dishes (or even sweets!) for that very reason. It’s also often called for in cream soups and other light-colored dishes.