Kung Pao vs. Hunan: What Is the Difference?

Nowadays, there are dozens of popular fast-food options, ranging from classic pizza and hot dog stands through to asian bistros. 

And although all of them are surely popular choices amongst americans, we must say that the last one is lately becoming the overal favorite option.

In these now-more-popular-than-ever restaurants, there are countless of meals to order, which is maybe the reason they’re so popular.

Nevertheless, a few of them still stand out – one of those dishes are Kung Pao and Hunan. Chicken. No matter the popularity of these two, though, there are still many people who wouldn’t be able to tell them apart.

So what is the difference between Kung Pao and Hunan chicken? The most significant difference between Kung Pao and Hunan chicken is that Kung Pao comes from Szechuan cuisine, whereas Hunan chicken from the Hunan one. Hence, Hunan chicken is usually a bit spicier.

But this was just to put it briefly – there is actually a lot to be said about the differences between these two. So without any further delay, let’s just jump right into it!

Kung Pao vs. HunanPin

Is Kung Pao chicken and Hunan chicken the same?

No, Kung Pao chicken and Hunan chicken are not the same, even though they both come from China. Kung Pao, however, originated in the province of Szechuan, while Hunan chicken comes from Hunan province.

Kung Pao is sweeter compared to Hunan chicken, and also contain peanuts. Hunan chicken 

What is Kung Pao?

Kung Pao is a famous Chinese dish, but even though it comes from Szechuan, it also found its home in the United States. It contains of soft pieces of chicken, tons of vegetables, lots of rice, delicious, kind of sweet, kind of hot sauce and also, famously, peanuts. 

What is Hunan?

There are many of famous dish in the Chinese-American cuisine, but only a few of them are as popular as Hunan chicken is. This delicious meal, originally coming from the Hunan province in China, is made primarly of tender pieces of chicken.

They are usually mixed with rice, some vegetables, and also a spicy sauce that gives it its signature dry, hot flavor.

What is the difference between Kung Pao and Hunan?

Even though a big part of both Kung Pao and Hunan is chicken, they are fairly different dishes. The main difference between them is that Kung Pao is at least a bit sweet, but Hunan is plainly spicy.

Another crucial difference is that while peanuts are one of the most important part of Kung Pao, they can’t be found in Hunan chicken.

What do Kung Pao and Hunan chicken have in common?

Although we mentioned a fair amount of differences between these two meals above, Kung Pao chicken and Hunan chicken share some similiratiries. Both of them have reasonably high amount of vegetables, and also use nearly the same meat.

Which one tastes better, Kung Pao chicken or Hunan chicken?

It is hard to say which one of Kung Pao chicken and Hunan chicken taste better, because, just like with any other food, this choice depends just and only on you.

If you’re not sure what to choose, then, you should take in consideration the fact that Hunan chicken is more spicy than Kung Pao.


Asian bistros serve a lot of dishes, only a few of them are as popular as Kung Pao chicken and Hunan chicken, though. These two dishes are made out of chicken, some vegetables, rice and delicious sauce.

This sauce, however, is where these two dishes differ a lot. Kung Pao is much sweeter and more tender, while Hunan chicken is really spicy.

Kung Pao also comes from the Schezuan province, whereas Hunan chicken has its originates, how the name and also the hot taste suggest, in Hunan.



Image credits – Canva

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