Chinese Food: Kung Pao Vs General Tso – Why Should You Try Both?

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between the two Chinese chicken dishes: General Tso and Kung Pao? They may seem similar, but there are some distinct differences.

In this post, we will take a look at both dishes and discuss which one will be better for your taste buds.

Are you ready to find out? Let’s get started!

What is special about Kung Pao?

Kung Pao chicken is one of the most popular Chinese dishes in the United States.

The dish originated in Sichuan cuisine, which is known for its spicy foods.

Therefore, it is no surprise that Kung Pao chicken has a spicy taste that will be perfect for those who are fans of spicy foods.

The recipe typically calls for cubes of boneless skinless chicken breast that are stir-fried with other vegetables, especially green and red peppers, and peanuts.

The common condiments to make a Kung Pao chicken dish are soy sauce, rice vinegar or sherry vinegar, sugar, and sesame oil.

The resulting dish is garnished with chopped green onions sprinkled over the dish.

Kung Pao chicken is often served as the main dish with other sides like steamed white rice or noodles.

If you are looking for an easy dish for an extra kick of spice, Kung Pao is definitely the way to go!

What is special about General Tso?

Although there are several theories about General Tso chicken, nobody can deny the deliciousness of this dish.

General Tso chicken is one of the most favored dishes in both Chinese and American cuisine.

It is made from chunks of chicken that has been coated in a kind of flour and deep-fried until crispy, then tossed in a sweet and sour sauce that is made of rice vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, water, and a thickening agent like cornstarch.

The dish can include vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, or onions.

This balanced savory dish is best to serve with steamed rice or noodles because eating it alone might be a bit salty and you cannot eat a large amount of it.

What are the differences between Chinese Kung Pao vs Chinese General Tso?

Are you looking for ways to spice up your regular meal? Chinese Kung Pao chicken and General Tso are two great candidates.

But how different are they?

Let’s take a look at the following differences to know how these two chicken dishes differ from each other:

Chinese Kung Pao chicken is a stir-fry dish whereas chicken is fried then tossed in a sweet and sour sauce in the General Tso recipe

Kung Pao is a stir-fry dish.

This means that all the ingredients are stir-fried together, from the meat to the vegetables in spices and sauces.

Meanwhile, the cooking method for General Tso is a bit different.

Chicken chunks are first coated in cornflour or rice flour and deep-fried until golden and crispy.

After that, these crispy cubes are tossed in a sweet and sour sauce (or General Tso sauce) for a few minutes before serving so that all the flavors penetrate into the chicken pieces.

Chinese Kung Pao often includes vegetables in the recipe, while General Tso chicken doesn’t always have vegetables

Another difference between these two Chinese chicken dishes is their components.

Both contain chicken as the main ingredient, but Kung Pao chicken always includes vegetables like green pepper, red pepper, onion, and peanuts.

Vegetables are not a compulsory element in the General Tso recipe at all.

If there is a presentation of them in this dish, they are often broccoli or cauliflower.

Kung Pao chicken is spicier than General Tso chicken

The flavor profiles of these two dishes are quite similar, but Kung Pao chicken is much hotter.

This is a Szechuan dish, and this region has long been reputed for its spicy food.

Kung Pao chicken contains a lot more pepper and peppercorn, which gives this dish a spicy kick.

Meanwhile, General Tso is more balanced, with a stronger note of sweet and sour flavors rather than spiciness.

What are the similarities between Kung Pao vs General Tso?

Kung Pao and General Tso are two dishes that share some similarities as well:

Chinese Kung Pao and General Tso both originated in Chinese cuisine and are also very common in American Chinese cuisine

They are two dishes that originated in Chinese cuisine.

All ingredients are staples in this Asian cuisine.

Moreover, Kung Pao chicken and General Tso are not only popular in China but also in America, especially in American Chinese cuisine.

Both dishes are delicious and can be served the same way

The second thing in common between Chinese Kung Pao chicken and General Tso chicken is that they are both very satisfying and delicious, and they can be served the same way, normally with steamed rice, vegetables, noodles, or dumplings.

Which one is better?

Hopefully, this article has given you some insight into both Kung Pao chicken and General Tso to help you decide which one is best for your palate.

You can give these dishes a real taste before deciding, and reach us in other posts to learn more about Chinese food.

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