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What Is the Debate Hunan Chicken vs Kung Pao Chicken All About?

The Chinese dishes that are subject to Western culture and available to the people in the country have become quite popular, especially those made using beef or chicken. Hunan, Kung Pao and Szechuan are the three chicken dishes that seem to be the same for those not aware of the nuances. However, there is always a debate about Hunan chicken vs kung pao chicken that people can’t seem to get over. Sure, these two chicken dishes are quite spicy and taste somewhat similar, but there are differences that we will highlight in this article. We will know about the Hunan vs kung pao debate, but let us first understand what Hunan Chicken is?

What is Hunan Chicken?

Hunan Chicken originated from the Kunal province and western China and usually consisted of more fresh pepper and vegetables. People also call it Xiang. It is one of the important cuisines that has emanated from China and also happens to be one of the important traditions of Chinese. In this cuisine, the dishes are popular for their sweetness and spiciness. Moreover, Hunan recipes include the application of dark sauce made of soy and bean paste

You can find various dishes, including vegetarian ones, but the Americans know it as the chicken that is fried, and one can eat it with a spicy sauce, Sichuan. The characteristic feature of this dish is the hot pepper. All in all, Hunan Chickens is fast fried and quite spicy as it derives spiciness from a lot of dried peppers or chilli paste. People eat it for its distinctive tingly numbing sensation.

Now let us see what Kung Pao Chicken is.

What is Kung Pao Chicken?

Kung Pao chicken is a Schezwan cuisine dish. Schezwan is from the Sichuan province and incorporates more processed pepper paste. So people also hardly get the difference between Hunan and Szechuan. The latter usually contains peanuts, vegetables, chicken, etc., all tossed up in a brown concoction. The tender chicken pieces go well with crisp celery and peanuts. History and Etymology for kung pao borrowed from Chinese (Beijing) gōng bǎo “palace guardian” in the name of such dishes (as gōng bǎo jī dīng ” kung pao diced chicken”)

Now we will look at some of the burning questions in this area.

Which is spicier, Hunan or Szechuan?

When compared to Schezwan chicken, Poonam chicken is spicier as fresh peppers are used in it. Moreover, Kunal cuisine uses more vegetables, making it more flavorful than the Schezwan recipes.

Is Kung Pao Szechuan?

Kung Pao is a type of classic Schezwan cuisine made up of chicken.

Which is hotter, Szechuan or Hunan?

The final result of Schezwan chicken is spicy and sweet, while Hunan chicken is hotter and plain. It is because the latter has its fresh hot chilli added as the main ingredient, but the main ingredient for Schezwan is chilli mixed with pepper paste, therefore, making it spicier.

Is Kung Pao Chicken bad for you?

If you are at a Chinese restaurant, you must go for Kung Pao chicken as the dishes are quite a healthy choice for most people. It contains a wide range of vitamins and minerals and complete protein. Moreover, it is also low in saturated calories and fat.

What does Kung Pao taste like?

Kung Pao sauce features a strong flavour that is sour, sweet, savoury and the signature tingle of heat from the amazing Sichuan pepper.

These are some of the questions that should clear the air. But, like chicken, people also debate over Hunan beef versus kung pao beef.


People living in the United States believe that Hunan, Szechuan, and Kung Pao to be three different types of spicy chicken dishes that have originated from China. Chefs all over the world use more elaborate techniques of cooking in Hunan than in Szechuan cuisine and this reflects in the appearance of the recipes. And, although we mentioned a fair amount of differences between these two types of chicken, they share some similarities as they have a reasonably good amount of vegetables and use nearly the same meat.

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