What is Kung Pao?

Everybody’s heard of kung pao chicken. It’s a common staple in American Chinese-style restaurants, and a popular choice at our teriyaki restaurant in Auburn. It consists of small pieces of chicken meat marinated in a mix of roasted peanuts, bell peppers, chili peppers, rice wine, and hoisin sauce. People love it for its delightful intermingling of hot and sweet flavors, which has cemented its position as a flagship dish for any wok menu.

The dish originated in the Sichuan Province of central-western China. It derives its name from a man by the name of Ding Baozhen, who was a governor of the province in the late Qing Dynasty. His title was “palace guardian”, or Gōng Bǎo in the native language. This term eventually became Romanized as “kung pao”, and the name has stuck to this day.

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