Kung Pao Chicken (Chinese: 宫保鸡丁), also transcribed as Gong Bao or Kung Po, is a spicy stir-fry Chinese dish made with chicken, peanuts, vegetables, and chili peppers. The classic dish in Sichuan cuisine originated in the Sichuan Province of south-western China and includes Sichuan peppercorns. Although the dish is found throughout China, there are regional variations that are typically less spicy than the Sichuan serving. Kung Pao chicken is also a staple of westernized Chinese cuisine.
The dish is believed to be named after Ding Baozhen (1820–1886), a late Qing Dynasty official and governor of Sichuan Province. His title was Gongbao (Kung-pao; Chinese: 宫保; pinyin: Gōngbǎo; Wade–Giles: Kung1-pao3; literally: “Palace Guardian”). The name “Kung Pao” chicken is derived from this title.
During the Cultural Revolution, the dish’s name became politically incorrect because of its association with the imperial system. The dish was renamed “Fast-fried chicken cubes” (Hongbao Jiding)[dubious ] or “chicken cubes with seared chiles” (Chinese: 糊辣鸡丁; pinyin: Húlà Jīdīng) by Maoist radicals until its political rehabilitation in the 1980s under Deng Xiaoping‘s reforms.