What Does Sweet and Sour Chicken Taste Like?

sweet and sour chickenWho doesn’t love Chinese food? Chinese food is ordered in most American households every now and then. One of the most popular dishes is the mouth-watering sweet and sour chicken. You may not taste the authentic Chinese recipe. But this American-Chinese fusion is not really bad. Hell, even some Chinese people prefer the Western version more than the original one. So did you try this dish before? Or you’re about to order some for dinner tonight? Before you do that I’d like to give you a heads up about what the dish is going to taste like. So keep on reading to know more about the good old sweet and sour chicken.

Sweet and sour chicken taste

First and foremost, the name says it all! It is already indicated in the title of the dish what your tongue is going to experience when you put a piece of sweet and sour chicken in your mouth. You will taste the batter-fried chicken pieces (both dark and white portions of meat) and sugary sweetness. The sourness comes from the vinegar and pineapple and other condiments that are used in this heavenly dish.

Interesting, you won’t taste the overpowering taste of pineapple, vinegar, soy sauce, or ketchup. If cooking perfectly, you will see the sweet and sour flavors are on point. The dish is extremely popular for its complex taste and flawless balance of sweet and sour flavors. 

Right after you take the chopsticks full of sweet and sour chicken into your mouth, you will have a burst of deliciousness in your mouth. The first thing you will taste is the sweetness. And, did I mention that sugar makes everything more appetizing? With every bite, you will eventually taste all the other ingredients like lemon juice, ketchup, soy sauce, sugar, garlic, and salt. The sourness you will taste is going to be from the apple cider vinegar (or regular rice vinegar) and pineapple juice that are mixed in.

A great combination of chicken pieces and the mentioned ingredients, and voila! It is the most flavorsome Chinese dish! Each bite of this dish will be a dance of sweet-savory tender chicken pieces. I don’t know about you, but I’m already hungry for some sweet and sour chicken. So if you’re eating this Chinese dish soon, be ready for all the extra flavor you’re going to taste!

Is sweet and sour chicken the same as orange chicken?

There are certainly lots of differences between orange chicken and sweet and sour chicken. The biggest difference is in the flavor. The orange chicken has a very distinctive sweet and spicy flavor in it. So what if you don’t prefer the spiciness? This is when the sweet and sour chicken comes to the rescue. As the name suggests, it has a combination of sweetness and spiciness.

I’m sure you can tell the difference between the taste of breasts and legs, can’t you? For orange chicken, the white breast meat is used whereas for sweet and sour chicken dark meat (from legs and thighs) is used mostly. Sometimes white meat is added in there too. 

You can also differ these two chicken dishes because orange chicken has a citrus flavor because of orange juice and orange zest. Oppositely, in sweet and sour chicken there is no presence or orangy, citrusy flavor. Instead, you will taste some pineapple that is coming from the sour sauce. Moreover, you will immediately taste the sugary sweetness as soon as you put a piece of sweet and sour chicken in your mouth. For orange chicken, the sweetness is a bit tangy and the level is also pretty low.

Another way to distinguish between these two dishes is by looking at the color. If you look at these two dishes side by side, you will see orange chicken has a lighter and bright color to it. For sweet and sour chicken, the color is much darker because soy sauce and brown sugar are used to bring this dish to its perfection. So, there’s no way these two dishes are same.

Is sweet and sour chicken better than General Tso’s?

I wouldn’t say one is better than the other. I believe, it is entirely up to your taste buds and what you’re in the mood for. If you’re craving some hot and spicy, ginger-infused General Tso’s chicken, you wouldn’t like it if you were served sweet and sour chicken, and vice versa. You can feel the heat coming from the hot sauce and chili flakes when you eat General Tso’s chicken. This is missing in the sweet and sour chicken. However, they are still pretty similar. So which one do you like better? Whatever you find tastier is better! Cool, eh?

Is sweet and sour chicken good for you?

Do you get a sugar rush when you eat something sweet? Let me warn you, sweet and sour chicken contains quite a lot of sugar and calories. In most American Chinese restaurants, you get serves 700+ grams of sweet and sour chicken which has a whooping 1765+ calories and 89.3 grams of fat (if not more). In many recipes, you will see that the dish contains about 80 grams of sugar which is a lot more than your daily sugar intake limit. If you’re trying to get back in shape or you’re diabetic, I’d say the sweet and sour chicken isn’t good for you. So think twice before you order your next Chinese takeout!


Food has no border. Despite being a Chinese food, the sweet and sour chicken is loved by everyone. Although the modified version is what made it tastier which I don’t mind. If you’re planning to order some Chinese takeaway, don’t forget to add this dish too. It goes perfect with a spicy flavorful Chinese noodles or fried rice. I’m sure you will surely find this dish very delectable. Bon Appetit!