General Tso Chicken vs. Kung Pao: What Is the Difference?

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So, let’s be honest: can you think of a lot other Asian dishes that are as popular as chicken General Tso or Kung Pao? Probably not, and the reason for that is because they are just amazing!

They do have this trait, but other than that, they are completely different from one another. In spite of this, a lot of people consider them to be the same thing. Yet, you couldn’t be more incorrect if you tried.

So what is the difference between General Tso chicken and Kung Pao? The most important difference between General Tso chicken and Kung Pao is in their taste – Kung Pao is hot and spicy. In contrast, General Tso chicken is sweet, with slightly spicy undertones.

But, since Kung Pao and General Tso chicken are two very different meals, this is just a quick solution to your question. Why is it the case? Let’s find out together what the answer is!

Is General Tso’s chicken the same as Kung Pao chicken?

Even though a lot of people get them mixed up, chicken General Tso and chicken Kung Pao are not the same thing at all. The primary difference between Kung Pao and General Tso chicken is that the former is a traditional dish from China, while the latter is more often associated with Chinese-American cuisine.

Both General Tso chicken and Kung Pao chicken are distinct from one another in a great number of other respects as well, but we will get into those distinctions in just a moment.

What exactly is General Tso’s chicken?

Chicken prepared in the style of General Tso is one of the most well-liked Chinese-American takeaway dishes in the fast food industry. It is possible to make the case that chicken prepared in the General Tso style is the meal that is ordered the most often in Asian restaurants all around the United States.

It is prepared using pieces of chicken that have been breaded and fried in a crispy coating, which are then combined with white rice and a trademark sauce that lends the dish its well-known sweet taste combined with hints of spicy overtones.

What exactly is Kung Pao?

On the other hand, Kung Pao is a dish that can be traced back to its origins in China; in fact, Kung Pao has been a mainstay of Chinese cuisine for what seems like hundreds of years.

Chicken pieces that have not been breaded are combined with a well-known hot sauce in this dish. Peanuts are another another component that are essential to the dish known as Kung Pao.

What is the difference between General Tso’s chicken and Kung Pao chicken?

Although while chicken General Tso and chicken Kung Pao are two of the most popular takeaway meals in the United States and China, respectively, this does not mean that they are very comparable to one another.

To begin, although Kung Pao is considered to be a traditional dish in China, General Tso chicken is not a dish that originated in that country but rather is a well-known example of Chinese-American cuisine.

Second, the chicken that is used to produce General Tso chicken is breaded and fried, but the chicken that is used to make Kung Pao chicken is not breaded or fried.

Yet the most significant distinction between Kung Pao chicken and General Tso chicken is found in their respective sauces. The sauce used in Kung Pao chicken is undeniably spicier and more fiery than the one used in General Tso chicken.

In addition, it is important to note that whereas peanuts are an essential component of Kung Pao chicken, they are not included in the recipe for General Tso chicken at all.

What is the connection between General Tso’s chicken and Kung Pao?

Both the General Tso chicken and the Kung Pao chicken are examples of Chinese cuisine, yet they couldn’t be more different. In fact, they don’t even originate from the same restaurant!

Because of this, it is hard to identify any element in which they are comparable; nonetheless, one of the few things they have in common is the fact that they are both quite popular as a food that can be ordered to-go.

Which is superior, General Tso’s chicken or Kung Pao chicken?

It is practically hard to determine whether of the two dishes, chicken General Tso or chicken Kung Pao, has a superior flavor since the decision is entirely up to the individual’s sense of taste.

On the other hand, we are able to provide you a helping hand in making that decision by suggesting that you go with the Kung Pao option if you want your meal to be on the fiery side.

On the other hand, if you like foods with sweet tastes, the chicken General Tso will surely be a superior option for you.

Which is better for you, Kung Pao or General Tso?

While the answer to this question will be different for each restaurant, it is safe to say that Kung Pao is generally more nutritious than General Tso. This is because it is not deep-fried, and it also has a far higher proportion of veggies to other ingredients.


Just a select number of the hundreds of different dishes that can be found on the menus of Asian restaurants located all throughout the United States sparkle as brightly as Kung Pao chicken and General Tso chicken do.

This is particularly true when discussing take-out meals like General Tso chicken and Kung Pao chicken, which are undoubtedly two of the most well-known examples in their respective categories.

Having said that, it is important to note out that these two recipes have very little else in common; for example, Kung Pao is a dish that is traditionally prepared in China, but General Tso chicken is a dish that is often seen in Chinese-American cuisine.

In addition, the chicken pieces used to make General Tso are breaded and deep-fried, but the chicken parts used to make Kung Pao are not breaded and are simply stir-fried.

In addition, Kung Pao is well-known for include peanuts, but General Tso chicken does not include peanuts in its ingredients.

Last but not least, it is important to point out that the sauce used to prepare Kung Pao chicken is much more fiery and pungent than the one that is used in the preparation of General Tso chicken.

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