kung pao


ˈkəŋ-ˈpau̇ How to pronounce kung pao (audio)
: being stir-fried or sometimes deep-fried and served in a spicy hot sauce usually with peanuts
kung pao chicken

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web That was in 2019, during MLB’s FoodFest in Los Angeles, in which Radcliffe submitted kung pao chicken drumsticks (not listed as a food option in 2023) on behalf of the Angels. Sarah Valenzuela, Los Angeles Times, 7 Apr. 2023 Read: hot and sour soup, kung pao chicken and broccoli beef, but also pig ear salad, mapo tofu and flounder with pickled cabbage. Washington Post, 19 Mar. 2021 Meals arrive fresh and are perfectly portioned for one, including garlic herb salmon and kung pao braised beef. Good Housekeeping, 9 Sep. 2022 The feedback resulted in a few new items this year, including kung pao chicken with vegetables over rice; a ramen bowl with edamame; and a carnitas bowl to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month in October. Los Angeles Times, 5 Jan. 2023 Menu items include options such as kung pao cauliflower, baked vegetable ziti and fudge brownies. Amy Fischer M.s., R.d., Good Housekeeping, 9 Nov. 2022 Menu options include meals such as chimichurri beef and vegetables, kung pao chicken with sweet potatoes, and hearty vegetable taco soup. Good Housekeeping, 9 Sep. 2022 In lieu of the usual kung pao, try the spicy crispy chicken, which offers a zesty twist on fried chicken. Megha Mcswain, Chron, 27 Sep. 2022 Chef William Chu serves traditional Chinese dishes from the Szechuan province such as wonton soup, mapo tofu, kung pao, and whole and half Peking ducks. Emma Balter, Chron, 3 May 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'kung pao.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


borrowed from Chinese (Beijing) gōng bǎo "palace guardian" in the name of such dishes (as gōng bǎo jī dīng "kung pao diced chicken")

Note: The dish allegedly received its name because it was frequently served to Dīng Bǎozhēn (1820-86), a Qing (Ching) dynasty offical who served as the governor of Sichuan province (1876-86); his unofficial title was gōng bǎo.

First Known Use

1976, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of kung pao was in 1976

Dictionary Entries Near kung pao

Cite this Entry

“Kung pao.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/kung%20pao. Accessed 1 Jun. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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