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Kung Pao Chicken differences?

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Kung Pao chicken has never been my go-to choice (usually it's made with far too much celery and peanuts for my taste.) But this past week, I was in Atlanta on business and had a chance to eat at Pearl Lian in Duluth, GA. I don't know why, but I chose Kung Pao that night. What a delightful change! Instead of piles of peanuts with diced chicken, celery, water chestnut and carrots, it came with sliced chicken, red bell pepper, zucchini and yellow squash, water chestnuts and only a sprinkling of peanuts. It was so much better than I've had in NJ and NC. I figured it was a fluke.
But then I was visiting Columbia, SC and out of curiosity, I ordered Kung Pao again. I can't remember the name of the place but it was in Irmo, SC. Once again, I was surprised by the red bell pepper and zucchini/squash combo--but this time, instead of peanuts, they used slivered almonds. Brilliant!
So my question to any of you in the Raleigh area is: if you have ordered Kung Pao chicken from your favorite place, how does it come? I've tried three places local to me so far, and it's been the same old celery-carrot-too many peanuts mixture.

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  1. I love Kung Pao whether it is good or bad, I love it. We lived in Cary for awhile and I wish I could think of the name of the small storefront restaurant we liked. It was in a strip mall that included an Ace Hardware though. I agree with your sentiments except I really really like the peanuts but I think it is nice when they are crushed and toasted. I think it is the heat and salty crunch that makes Kung Pao so delicious for me.