With a rich history and diverse array of flavors, Chinese cuisine has been adapted and modified to suit the tastes of different cultures worldwide. Westernized Chinese dishes, such as Kung Pao Chicken and General Tso’s Chicken, have become incredibly popular, especially in the United States and other Western countries. Furthermore, they have become staples in Chinese-American restaurants. To begin, we’ll explore the top 5 westernized Chinese dishes that have stood the test of time, remaining favourites among diners worldwide.
Kung Pao Chicken
Kung Pao chicken, also known as Gong Bao or Kung Po, is a spicy stir-fry dish originated in Sichuan province, China. Typically made of diced chicken, peanuts, vegetables (such as bell peppers and onions), chili peppers stir-fried in a wok with a spicy sauce made from Sichuan peppercorns, garlic, ginger, and soy sauce. Named after a Qing Dynasty official, Ding Baozhen, who served as governor of Sichuan province, and is said to have been a fan of the dish. Often considered a classic example of Sichuan cuisine.
General Tso’s Chicken
Sweet and savoury deep-fried chicken dish typically served in Chinese-American restaurants, General Tso’s Chicken is said to be named after General Zuo Zongtang, a Qing Dynasty official and military leader, but there is no historical evidence to support this claim. The dish is made by deep-frying marinated chicken in egg and cornstarch, then sautéing it with a sweet and savory sauce made from soy sauce, sugar, rice vinegar, and seasonings such as ginger and garlic. Garnished with broccoli and sesame seeds, it is not a traditional Chinese dish, it was created in America by Chinese chefs adapting to American taste.
Egg rolls are a popular Chinese-American dish, made by wrapping a savory filling of cabbage, carrots, and sometimes other vegetables and meat, seasoned with soy sauce, ginger and garlic, in a thin pastry made from flour and egg. Then deep-fry until golden brown and crispy. Served as an appetizer or snack, sometimes with a dipping sauce like sweet and sour or hot mustard.
Fried Rice is a dish made by stir-frying cooked and cooled rice with vegetables, meats, eggs, and seasonings such as soy sauce, oyster sauce, ginger and garlic. Additional ingredients such as green onions, peas, carrots, and sometimes fruits like pineapple can also be added. Versatile and can be made with different meats like chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, or tofu for a vegetarian option. A common and popular dish in China and Chinese restaurants worldwide.
Sweet and Sour Pork
Sweet and Sour Pork is a dish made by marinating pork in cornstarch and egg, deep-frying until crispy, and stir-frying with a sweet and sour sauce made of sugar, rice vinegar, ketchup, soy sauce, and other seasonings, along with vegetables such as bell peppers, onions, and pineapples. Served with steamed rice, it is a popular Chinese-American dish, but not a traditional Chinese dish, it was created by Chinese immigrants to adapt to American taste.
To sum up, Kung Pao Chicken, Sweet and Sour Pork and other top 5 Westernized Chinese dishes are staples in Chinese-American cuisine and enjoyed worldwide. These dishes offer a blend of Eastern and Western flavors, have proven popular over time and cater to different taste preferences. They showcase the adaptability of Chinese cuisine shaped by various cultures and tastes. If you haven’t yet, try these dishes and experience the taste of Chinese-American cuisine.
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