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

Examples of kung pao in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Aromas from its classic dishes of honey walnut prawns, kung pao chicken, an assortment of chow mein and the famous banana cream pie continue to waft from the kitchen. Hanh Truong, Sacramento Bee, 21 Feb. 2024 For many American Jews, Christmas simply isn’t Christmas without kung pao chicken and afternoon tickets to the latest holiday blockbuster. Sonja Sharp, Los Angeles Times, 26 Dec. 2023 The celebration featured a menu that included kung pao cauliflower, citrus salad, roasted chicken, king salmon, a grains bowl and chocolate chip cookies and fruit for dessert. Chris Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter, 26 Oct. 2023 Your dining guide to a dozen metro Phoenix steakhouses Scottsdale restaurant closing one bar to open another Making kung pao chicken is fast and easy. Endia Fontanez, The Arizona Republic, 13 June 2023 For those with a bigger appetite, the plated entrees, priced from $13.75 to $15.25, include Mongolian beef, honey walnut shrimp, kung pao chicken and chow mein noodles. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10 Aug. 2023 Chefs from the city flew in to teach students how to make Chinese pastries and kung pao chicken. Shibani Mahtani, Washington Post, 10 July 2023 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

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 20 Jun. 2024.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!