Sweet and Sour Chicken vs Orange Chicken

Which One is the Best: Sweet and Sour Chicken or Orange Chicken?

When it comes to Chinese takeout, there are basically only two options: sweet and sour or orange chicken. Other than being a classic American children’s meal, these dishes have absolutely nothing in common. But if you’re like most Americans, you’ve probably had sweet and sour chicken and Orange Chicken — but are probably wondering which is the best?

The answer might surprise you. You see, while sweet and sour is actually a regional Chinese dish, orange chicken is a Chinese-American creation. It’s something of an odd marriage, but the results are delicious. So which is the best? Read on to find out.

What is Sweet and Sour?

Sweet and sour is a Chinese dish made with sweet ingredients such as sugar and vinegar, balanced with sour flavors such as tart ketchup and tangy liquid soy.

What is Orange Chicken?

Orange chicken is a take on the American classic, orange chicken. It was invented in the 1980s by a Chinese-American chef in New York City’s Chinatown. The dish is a sauced fried chicken fillet, often served with orange slices and almonds.

Is Sweet and Sour Better than Orange Chicken?

In short, yes. While both sweet and sour and orange chicken rely on the same basic flavors, sweet and sour has a stronger balance of sweet and sour flavors.


In the end, sweet and sour wins out as the best Chinese takeout. The dish has a bit of sweetness from the sugar and a bit of sourness from the vinegar, giving it a complex flavor that is hard to find in orange chicken.

But don’t take our word for it. Give both sweet and sour and orange chicken a try, and see which one you like best. You might be surprised at how much you like sweet and sour.