What Does Szechuan Chicken Taste Like?

szechuan chickenA flavorsome food that activates your salivary gland with a burst of deliciousness and stimulates your appetite in the best way possible is the Szechuan chicken. This has been one of the most popular Chinese dishes for decades. So do you love the food Chinese cuisines offer? Then you sure will be pleased to eat this magnificent dish. Enough beating around the bush, allow me to describe what Szechuan chicken tastes like precisely.   

Szechuan chicken taste

Originated from China’s Sichuan province, Szechuan chicken tastes spicy, savory, and hot with a dash of sweetness to it. With every succulent chicken piece, you set almost all of your taste modalities in motion. That’s how luscious it is! As you chew more on the pieces, you start to taste every detail of this dish individually and it’s an out-of-the-world experience.

First, the boneless chicken pieces are stir-fried with a thin coating of egg and corn starch around them. Then all the delicious vegetables and a spicy and savory sauce are added and all the meats and vegetables are cooked in that together. The audacious flavor comes from the combination of red chilies, cayenne pepper, black pepper, hot sauce, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and brown sugar.

To take the flavor to the next level Chinese restaurants love to add some rice wine and vinegar. This gives the dish a slight tangy hint that we all love. If you’re not allergic to peanuts, you can even try the dish that is cooked with peanut oil. This gives a touch of nutty flavor that elevates Szechuan chicken to a whole another level. Don’t worry if it is cooked with sesame oil or canola or vegetable oil, the dish will still taste just as good.

How much can you tolerate hot and spicy food? If hot pepper is not your cup of tea, you might need to avoid this dish. But if you’re a sucker for something this flavorful, you will enjoy Szechuan chicken, no doubt about that. Eat this dish with some cooked plain noodles or white rice, to wholly enjoy every drop of its flavor. 

Are you planning to cook this dish at home? Go ahead, give it a try. You won’t know if you don’t try it yourself, right? Here’s a heads up— if your cooked dish doesn’t exactly taste as the Szechuan chicken served in Chinese Restaurants it’s because of the absence of MSG (monosodium glutamate) that adds the umami flavor.

Does  Szechuan chicken taste like General Tso’s?

When you eat both of the dishes, the first thing you can tell is that Szechuan chicken is much spicier than General Tso’s chicken. Moreover, the chicken pieces of General Tso’s are heavily battered and deep-fried which is totally the opposite of what is done for Szechuan chicken. Another big difference between these two famous dishes is that Szechuan chicken contains a variety of vegetables that add a lot of flavors. In contrast, the General Tso’s chicken is served on its own, and only sometimes with broccoli.

Is Szechuan chicken spicy?

Szechuan chicken is not only spicy but also hot. The Szechuan peppercorn is the leading ingredient that contributes to the spiciness of this food. For some, this can be too much (which is totally okay). The authentic dish is often cooked with this pepper and it tends to buzz your mouth which is not a really fun sensation you want to feel while you eat unless, of course, that’s your preference. Since the dish falls under the spicy category, I don’t think it can be your comfort food. Then again, it’s up to individual preferences.

Other ingredients, such as cayenne pepper, chili flakes, etc add quite a lot of spiciness to this dish. I hope, I didn’t freak you out too much. If you need another comparison, I’ll say, Szechuan chicken is less spicy than Hunan chicken. Does that sound better? I hope it does! 

Sha Cha chicken vs Szechuan chicken

You can’t mistake Sha Cha chicken with Szechuan chicken. They are completely different. Yes, you can tell Sha Cha chicken is also a Chinese dish, but the flavors are significantly different. The dominating flavor of Sha Cha is its savoriness while Szechuan has the hotness and spiciness. Sha cha chicken tastes a little bit spicy, not too much.

To cook Sha Cha chicken the meat is braised instead of stir or deep-fried. One noticeable difference between the two dishes is that Sha Cha chicken has a fish taste to it. Where does that come from in a chicken dish?! Well, to cook this dish the special Sha Cha sauce is used which is made using the chilies, dried shrimp, brill fish, garlic, shallots, and soybean oil. That’s how you get to taste a subtle fishiness in this delicious Chinese. Don’t worry! It’s not too overpowering.

If you’re dining in a Chinese restaurant and get a hot pot table, you might get serves the Sha Cha chicken if that is included on the menu. However, Szechuan chicken comes cooked. So there’s no luck you will be able to enjoy that in a hot pot.


Done ordering your Szechuan Chicken? Now break apart your chopsticks and dive right into the super scrumptious Sichuan Chinese dish. The taste is so unique, it surely is irresistible. If you’re a Chinese food enthusiast like myself, I have no doubt you will immediately fall in love with the taste of the Szechuan chicken. Plus, the dish is pretty healthy. If you’re planning to ‘spice things up’, Szechuan chicken has your back! Let me know whether you loved it or not. If you love this dish, you can also taste sweet and sour chicken. Until next time. See ya and Bon Appetit!