Orange chicken

Orange Chicken
Orange chicken
Course Main
Place of origin China (original version)
United States (American Chinese version)
Region or state United States (original version)
North America (American Chinese version)
Serving temperature Hot
Main ingredients Chicken, orange sauce or orange peels
Cookbook: Orange Chicken  Media: Orange Chicken

Orange chicken (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: chénghuā jī; Jyutping: caang2 faa1 gai1) is a Chinese dish of Hunan origin.[1]


The variety of orange chicken most commonly found at North American Chinese restaurants consists of chopped, battered and fried chicken pieces coated in a sweet orange-flavored chili sauce, which thickens or caramelizes to a glaze. While the dish is very popular in the United States, it is most often found as a variation of General Tso's chicken in North America rather than the dish found in mainland China. Chef Andy Kao claims to have developed the original Chinese-American orange chicken recipe at a Panda Express in Hawaii in 1987.[2][3] Since Panda Express is closely associated with this dish, Panda Express uses orange chicken as a promotion tool by having a dedicated food truck tour the country distributing samples of orange chicken.[4]

Though called Chinese food in North America, orange chicken is rarely found in Chinese restaurants in China. Andrew Cherng, owner and founder of Panda Express, said that orange chicken is just a variation of General Tso's chicken, another dish that is almost unknown in China. Journalist Jennifer 8. Lee says that both "General Tso's chicken and Orange Chicken are Americanized mutations of sweet and sour dishes found in China."[2] Orange chicken has also entered the menus of mainstream America by being served in school cafeterias,[5] and in military bases chow halls,[6] and also found in the supermarket frozen meal aisle.[7][8]


In most countries in the western hemisphere, the names "orange chicken", "orange chicken peel", "orange flavoured chicken", and "tangerine chicken" are typically used for this particular dish.

In Chinese, this dish is known as "橙花雞", literally "(Fresh) Orange peel chicken". The dish also has a variation known as "陳皮雞", literally "Dried Citrus peel chicken", referring to dried orange or tangerine peel, which is used in traditional Chinese medicine as well as cooking.

For restaurants outside of Asia, fresh orange peel is often used instead, or even no peel at all.

See also


  1. Lo, Eileen Yin-Fei (1999). "Poultry and Other Fowl". The Chinese Kitchen. calligraphy by San Yan Wong (1st ed.). New York, New York: William Morrow and Company. p. 314. ISBN 0-688-15826-9. ORANGE CHICKEN Chun Pei Gai Pan Traditionally this Hunan recipe contained what is called chun pei, or ‘old skin,’ to describe the dried citrus peel used in its preparation.
  2. 1 2 del Barco, Mandalit (October 30, 2017). "Orange Chicken, Panda Express' Gift To American Chinese Food, Turns 30 (MP3 audio)". All Things Considered. (written transcript). NPR.
  3. Krystal, Becky (September 18, 2015). "Is orange chicken a guilty pleasure, or just plain guilty?". Washington Post.
  4. Harris, Jenn (August 15, 2015). "There's a Panda Express food truck. And it's full of free orange chicken and waffles". Los Angeles Times.
  5. Whaley, Monte (October 23, 2017). "Orange chicken in the school lunch line? You bet, in Brighton". Denver Post.
  6. "28 Day Cyclic Menu". Quartermaster School Joint Culinary Center of Excellence. July 2011.
  7. "Orange Chicken". Lean Cuisine.
  8. "Sweet & Spicy Orange Zest Chicken". Healthy Choice.
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