What Is Kung Pao Sauce?

Kung Pao sauce is a blend of several ingredients that creates a starchy and syrupy brown sauce to cover meat, vegetables and rice. The exact blend varies based on the recipe, which is why Kung Pao can taste different at various restaurants.

Despite variations to each blend, there are some common ingredients among restaurants and companies that bottle the sauce for consumer purchase. Typical ingredients include soy sauce, sherry wine, water, garlic, red chili peppers, sesame oil, rice vinegar, ginger, onion, garlic, yeast extract and citric acid. Interestingly, although the Kung Pao chicken is popular in the United States, it is not as popular in China. One of the reasons for China’s aversion to the dish is the sauce. It’s too thick, and restaurants use too much to cover the meat, which some Chinese chefs say masks the natural flavors.