Ding Baozhen's Kung Pao chicken

Updated: 2012-03-27 15:27


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Ding Baozhen's Kung Pao chicken


The origin of kung pao chicken (diced chicken fried with chili and peanuts) is generally believed to be related with Ding Baozhen.

Here is the most convincing story of how the dish came into being.

Ding Baozhen was from Zhijin county, Guizhou province. When he was a child, he fell into a river and was saved by a nearby family. He later became an official and he remembered this experience. So he found the family and thanked them.

The family made the kung pao chicken dish to treat Ding, who felt the dish was amazing and went on to popularize it. This was the true origin of the dish (recorded by Zhijin county Annals).

Other version:

Ding Baozhen was born in Guizhou province in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). He was appointed as a leading official of Shandong province and then the governor of Sichuan province. He liked to eat pork and chicken cooked with chili.

It was said that when in Shandong province, Ding ordered his chef to cook chicken with special sauce and similar dishes, which were delicious but not famous at that time.

After going to Sichuan province, Ding always let the chef cook chicken with peanuts and dried chili to serve guests. The taste was good and the chicken was fresh and tender, so it was popular among guests.

Later he was appointed as Taizi Shaobao (a person responsible for the safety of the prince; taizi means prince and shaobao means prince's guardian) for his outstanding contribution of resisting enemies on the frontier. So people called him Ding Gongbao (palatial guardian) and his favorite dish kung pao chicken.