What Does Hunan Chicken Taste Like?

hunan chickenWho doesn’t love a classic Chinese chicken dish? Especially, if it is the Hunan chicken. For decades, this American Chinese dish is famous for its amazing taste and succulent chicken pieces. Did you try Hunan chicken before? If you didn’t I’m sure you’re curious to know what Hunan chicken taste like, aren’t you? I’m here to answer all of your questions. Enough beating around the bush, let’s take a look at the flavor profile of Hunan chicken.

What does Hunan chicken taste like?

Originated from China’s Western Hunan, Hunan chicken is savory, spicy, salty, sweet, and of course, deeply flavorful. The dish gets its sophisticated Asian taste from the savory Hunan sauce. A properly-cooked dish will also give you a hint of tanginess. Moreover, the thinly sliced juicy velveted chicken pieces have undeniable tenderness that you have to taste to believe.

Hunan chicken is going to wake up all of your taste modalities and put them in motion. With the very first bite, you can taste the juicy and tender stir-fried chicken pieces. The veggies are covered with a sweet and spicy sauce that you can eat as savory gravy with plain white rice. The modified version of American-Chinese Hunan chicken is much sweeter and savory and comparatively less spiciness, but still freaking delicious!

When you eat Hunan chicken, you can taste every detail of the spicy, sweet, savory chicken pieces which is an out-of-the-world experience. If you love your greens, you can taste them as well since this dish is cooked with vegetables like broccoli, zucchini, bell peppers, carrots, or any other veggies of your choice. The audacious taste comes from the combination of Red chili, Doubanjiang (for the special fiery, earthy flavor), oyster sauce,  soy sauce, chicken broth, veggies, rice wine, vinegar, garlic, ginger, sugar, salt, etc.

To make the dish match the American palate, the sourness of the dish has been replaced with sugar. What you can taste is a dash of tanginess coming from ketchup which is usually added to incorporate with what Americans love to eat. The Hunan chicken you can get from your nearby Chinese restaurant has altered the dish and made it sweeter. The mesmerizing and complex layer of Hunan sauce can catch you off guard. But nothing to be afraid of! This famous Chinese dish will surely make your meal special!

Is Hunan sauce spicy?

The spiciness of Hunan chicken is something you have never tasted before. If you never tried this dish, you will never know. To be precise, Hunan sauce has a sharp, dry, spicy heat. Unlike Szechuan sauce which has a mouth-numbing sensation, Hunan sauce is a bit fiery. If you’re a spicy food lover, you will definitely love the overall taste of Hunan chicken. If you think you can taste a little bit of earthiness, know that, it is coming from the fermented doubanjiang paste that is known for making the dish tastier, if anything.

Which is spicier— Hunan or Szechuan?

It is always smart to know much much spicy a dish is going to be before you spend your time and money on it. Hunan chicken and Szechuan chicken have different types of spiciness. One with a dry-heat sensation (Hunan) while the other has a mouth-numbing sensation (Szechuan).

The Szechuan chicken dish is not only spicy but also it is hot. The particular Szechuan peppercorn adds to the dominating spiciness in this food. It may also buzz your mouth which is not the best sensation you would like to feel while eating some chicken meals. Thankfully, the sweetness of the dish really does balance things out and make it more edible.

If you put Szechuan and Hunan chicken up for comparison in terms of spiciness, I’ll say, Hunan chicken is spicier than Szechuan chicken. Why? Because of the dry, spicy, and sharp heat coming from the Hunan sauce. The longer you eat, it will start to feel a bit fiery in your mouth — a sensation that many people dig! If the dish you’re eating has an increased level of spice, your nose may get runny, your ear will feel warm, and you may even start to sweat! Before you take your first bite, make sure you are prepared for the battle. So Szechuan or Hunan— which one do you think suits you best?

Is Hunan chicken breaded?

Not exactly. Hunan chicken is not breaded. However, another special method called ‘velveting’ is used to prep the chicken pieces for its tenderization. The thinly sliced pieces are marinated and then comes the important velveting process. During this process, cornstarch (or flour) and baking powder is used to coat (or lightly dust) the chicken, and then the chicken pieces are stir-fried to bring them to their perfection on the basis of texture. The velveting process makes the chicken crispy and smooth and ensures the melt-in-your-mouth experience.


Are you planning to “spice things up”? Time to taste the irresistible Hunan chicken. So is it your unfamiliarity with this dish that kept you from ordering it? Is this going to be your first time eating this scrumptious dish? Well, now is the time! You will immediately fall in love with the perfect blend of fresh, vibrant, crisp-tender vegetables drizzled in the intoxicating savory, spicy Hunan sauce. The complexity of the flavors is what makes Hunan chicken stand in the crowd. I kid you not, this Chinese Hunan Chicken dish will have you drooling.