Hunan vs. Szechuan: What’s the Difference and Which Is Better?

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Hunan and Szechuan, both from China, are classic Chinese sauces with several variants. They have expanded globally through time, and we can now find them in practically all Chinese restaurants. So, how do Hunan and Szechuan vary, and which is superior?

Hunan has a dry and spicy taste, whilst Szechuan has a numbing and delicious sensation. Scallions and shallots, ginger, chili pepper, broth, cornstarch, and vinegar are all used in Hunan. Garlic, red bell peppers, cayenne peppers, green onions, and red chile are all used in Szechuan. Both have spice and soy sauce in them.

Hunan and Szechuan each have a special place in my kitchen and heart. They are comparable but not the same, therefore there are certain factors to keep in mind while utilizing and mixing them. In the next paragraphs, I will discuss the distinctions between Hunan and Szechuan cuisine, ingredients, alternatives, and which is superior.

Hunan vs. Szechuan: Differences

Despite their similarities, Hunan and Szechuan are not the same and have significant distinctions. Which one you select is entirely up to you, since they are both tasty and healthful.


The major vegetables in Hunan are scallions and shallots, although ginger and chili peppers may also be found. Hunan also contains soy sauce, chicken broth, wine vinegar, and sherry.

Hunan, however, may also include oyster sauce, Japanese rice wine, ketchup, and brown sugar since it is a cuisine with various varieties.

According on your preferences, you may add more or less of whatever, but the chili pepper must remain a characteristic element, without which Hunan would be gravy.

Dry sherry, soy sauce, egg whites, cornstarch, Worchester sauce, chili paste, sesame oil, and brown sugar are the components of Szechuans. Szechuan cuisine also features red bell peppers, green onions, cayenne pepper, red chile, carrots, and green onions. It may also include ginger and plum.

Szechuan, like Hunan, accepts variations, although chile, cornstarch, and brown sugar are required components.


Hunan and Szechuan both offer a plethora of tastes. Describing them taste salty, bitter, or sour would be incorrect, since there is a symphony of tastes present.

Szechuan is spicy yet delectable, and it numbs your tongue. It’s a lively blend of saltiness, sourness, sweetness, bitterness, and a highly expressive hotness.

Hunans, on the other hand, have a dry spicy flavor. Hunan contains fewer components than Szechuan, thus its flavor isn’t as complex or varied.

Hunan, on the other hand, has its own mystique. It tastes somewhat acidic and sour, very salty, and, as previously said, hot.

Hunan and Szechuan are defined and distinguished by their degree and kind of hotness. Because of the sugar, cornstarch, and egg whites, the spicy taste in Szechuan isn’t as expressive as in Hunan. As a result, Szechuan is abundantly spicy and numbing.

In Hunan, on the other hand, the mix of vinegar, wine, and chili makes this sauce dry hot, which means that the burning will be the first and last thing you feel when you taste it. Of course, there will be a variety of sourness and saltiness in between, but your mouth will feel dry after each mouthful.


Hunan is orange and light crimson, with hints of deep greed. Szechuan is mostly brown with hints of orange.

Since they include chopped veggies, both sauces have a glazed look that is creamy and lumpy. They seem identical, and to the untrained eye, they may almost be the same.


Hunan and Szechuan have similar applications, but their cooking techniques vary. When using Hunan, the dish is stewed, fried, roasted, braised, or smoked; while using Szechuan, the meal is stir-fried, steamed, or braised.

Both may be used in protein dishes with beef or chicken, however instead of frying the chicken with Hunan, steam it with Szechuan.

The most popular meals using these sauces are Hunan chicken or beef and Szechuan chicken or beef; nevertheless, their usage is not limited to these kinds of meat. You can top anything you want with meat, rice, and mashed potatoes; the sky is the limit.


The Chinese kitchen is healthful and nutritious, with little fats and plenty of micronutrients. The cooking techniques alone add to the well-deserved reputation that the Chinese kitchen has earned.

Hunan is abundant in minerals and low in fat and calories. Hunan contains protein, fiber, calcium, iron, vitamins C, B6, and K, as well as trace quantities of sugar and carbohydrates. It also has a high water content, making it readily digested. [1]

Hunan is ideal for keto and other low-carb diets.

Szechuan is likewise highly healthy, but it is higher in fat and calories since it has more ingredients. Szechuan has more carbohydrates and sugars than Hunan because it includes sugar, and it lacks water.

Szechuan, on the other hand, is high in micronutrients like as calcium, salt, iron, and vitamins A and C. It does, however, have less protein than Hunan, although it is still significant.

Generally, both Hunan and Szechuan are healthful, nutritious, and useful; but, if you have pre-existing stomach issues, you should exercise caution. Hot food is generally thought to be beneficial to the digestive system, although it is not for everyone.

While spicy foods are beneficial to gut health, you should exercise caution if you have gastrointestinal inflammation or are prone to it. [2]


Hunan and Szechuan are both Chinese cuisines. Hunan is from the Hunan Region, whereas Szechuan is from the Sichuan Province.

Hunan and Szechuan are basically two sorts of cuisines, and what we’re talking about here are sauces derived from both cuisines.

Hunan and Szechuan, as consequences of their separate cuisines, have their own cooking techniques that go well beyond Hunan and Szechuan sauces.


Both Hunan and Szechuan are gaining popularity throughout the globe, but they still have a lot of room to expand. They are mostly popular at Chinese restaurants throughout the globe, but they have yet to make it into homes.

Hunan and Szechuan, on the other hand, are becoming more popular in America and Western Europe, while the south and east of Europe are still learning about them. Hunan and Szechuan are well-known in China and Japan, but the rest of Asia is still beginning to know them.

Hunan Szechuan
Ingredients  Scallions and shallots, ginger, chili peppers, soy sauce, chicken broth, wine vinegar, and sherry. Some variations also contain oyster sauce, Japanese rice wine, ketchup, and brown sugar.  Dry sherry, soy sauce, egg whites, cornstarch, Worchester sauce, chili paste, sesame oil, brown sugar, red bell peppers, green onions, cayenne pepper, red chili, carrots, and green onions. Some variations also contain ginger and plum. 
Taste  Discretely tangy and sour, salty, and dry hot.  Salty, sweet, bitter, sour, and expressively hot.
Appearance  Orange and dark red with occasional shades of deep green. Brown and orange.
Uses  As meat, rice, potato, or other dish toppings.  As meat, rice, potato, or other dish toppings. 
Nutrition Nutritious with low amounts of fat and calories, high in protein and fiber, contains water, and has low amounts of sugar and carbs. A little fattier than Hunan, but still low-fat ad low-calorie. Contains sugar and good amounts of micronutrients. It has a high amount of protein but lower than Hunan, and it doesn’t contain water. 
Origins  Hunan Region- China Sichuan Province- China
Popularity  Gaining popularity worldwide, but still not a part of the households’ menu. Gaining popularity worldwide, but still not a part of the households’ menu.

Which Is Spicier Szechuan or Hunan?

They both have a lot of spices, but Szechuan is often regarded hotter since it has more components than Hunan.

Yet, certain Hunan versions, such as those including oyster sauce, are far hotter than Szechuan. The oyster sauce isn’t very hot on its own, but when coupled with Hunan, it enhances and intensifies the tastes.

The expressive spicy taste is the distinguishing quality of both. Hunan, on the other hand, is dry hot, whereas Szechuan is hot yet numbing.

When it comes to Hunan and Szechuan food, Hunan is regarded spicier than Szechuan.

What Is the Hottest Chinese Dish?

Gan Guo is a Hunan cuisine dish that is regarded the hottest Chinese meal. It is, however, one of the hottest five, if not the hottest.

Hunan spicy beef comes next, followed by Saliva chicken- Szechuan, Dan Dan noodles- Szechuan, and Ma Po tofu- Szechuan.

Hunan cuisine is the spiciest in China, with the dry hot taste dominating.

What Has More Vegetables Hunan Or Szechuan?

Hunan has less veggies than Szechuan. Szechuan has red bell peppers, green onions, cayenne pepper, red chile, carrots, and green onions, while Hunan contains scallions, shallots, ginger, and chili peppers.

What Is the Difference Between Hunan and Szechuan Style Chicken? 

To begin with, Hunan chicken has a dry, fiery taste, but Szechuan chicken has an extremely hot, mouth-numbing flavor.

The second distinction is the cooking manner. Hunan chicken is made using chicken breast that has been cooked via a process known as velveting. Before being stir-fried with the veggies, the meat is marinated and oil-cooked.

Szechuan chicken is made using cubed and deep-fried chicken legs. They are combined with the Szechuan sauce after they have gotten crispy and brown.

Hunan vs. Szechuan: Which Is Better? 

Hunan is dryer, hotter, and less fatty than Szechuan, making it an ideal option if you like spicy and light foods. Szechuan, which is richer and a little fattier, scorching hot, and mouth-numbing, is suitable for you if you want a heavier and fuller taste.

It would be unfair to suggest that one is superior since they both have excellent features and are quite healthy.

Can You Substitute Szechuan Sauce With Hunan? 

Because of the characteristic dry, fiery taste of Hunan, Szechuan cannot be substituted.

Also, Szechuan has more ingredients than Hunan, including Worchester sauce, which gives it a rich and distinct flavor.

Szechuan is also wealthier and fatter than Hunan, which would be obvious. Another reason you can’t make this replacement is the cooking process.

Szechuan sauce, on the other hand, may be replaced with chili garlic sauce or tabasco.

Can You Substitute Hunan Sauce With Szechuan? 

These two are not interchangeable due to their different tastes and the required cooking processes.

Hunan may be replaced with Asian chili sauce or chili bean paste.


Is Hunan or Szechuan better?

Hunan chicken is a better choice since it is stir-fried, but Szechuan chicken has more calories owing to the deep-frying procedure.

Which is more spicy Hunan or Szechuan?

Hunan food is spicier and more flavorful than Sichuan cuisine. Hunan food is very adaptable. Hot dishes keep people cool in the summer, while warm dishes keep them warm in the winter.

Which is sweeter Hunan or Szechuan?

2) Both meals are loaded with chili peppers and garlic. Hunan, on the other hand, has a spicier taste than Szechuan. 3) Szechuan chicken has an excellent balance of sweet and spicy flavors, while Hunan chicken is plainer and hotter.

What is the difference between Szechuan and Hunan food?

Identifying the Distinctive Szechuan and Hunan Flavors

Szechuan cuisine makes use of the Sichuan peppercorn, which gives the tongue a numbing feeling and necessitates the use of a lot of oil. Hunan recipes, on the other hand, use a dry spice made from several varieties of chili peppers.

Is Szechuan chicken better than General Tso?

According to our specialists… General Tso’s chicken is the riskiest Chinese dish on the menu, with dark meat battered and deep-fried before being served with veggies in a sweet, spicy sauce. A much better option is Szechuan chicken, which is cooked with leaner, white flesh and sautéed with veggies.

What is the spiciest Chinese takeout?

Hunan’s Gan guo

Hunan cuisine is less oily than Sichuan cuisine, and the availability of fresh red and green chili peppers, scallions, ginger, and garlic make Hunan cuisine the spiciest in China.

Which is spicier Hunan or General Tso?

Hunan Chicken is battered and deep fried, while General Tso’s Chicken is stir-fried or softly pan-fried. Hunan Chicken is somewhat hot and sweeter than General Tso’s Chicken. General Tso’s Chicken is likewise devoid of veggies, but Hunan Style Chicken is abundant.

Which is hotter Kung Pao or Szechuan?

Kung pao chicken is sweet, nutty, and somewhat spicy. Conversely, Szechuan chicken is hotter and lacks sweetness and nutty flavor. Both of these recipes are quite similar. As a result, many individuals mix up the two meals.

Is Hunan style sweet?

What exactly is Hunan chicken? It is a Chinese dish that consists of stir-fried chicken breast with a variety of veggies. This meal adds Hunan sauce, which gives it a unique Asian flavor. It is cooked with chile and a variety of vegetables and has a unique sweet and spicy flavor.

Is Szechuan food very spicy?

According to one ancient Chinese story, the “people of Sichuan defend excellent flavor, and they are fond of hot and spicy taste.” The majority of Sichuan meals are hot, although a normal supper includes non-spicy items to soothe the palette.

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