Szechuan Beef vs Mongolian Beef: What Is The Difference?

szechuan beef vs mongolian beef

Szechuan Beef vs Mongolian Beef, how do these two differ?

Beef is a flesh of mature cattle and is the third most widely consumed meat all over the world. Fresh beef meat is rich in various vitamins and minerals like zinc and iron.

Beef can be prepared using different cooking methods and in various types of dishes. And in this article, we will tackle the difference between Szechuan and Mongolian beef.

One of the obvious differences Szechuan beef and Mongolian beef have are the ingredients used in preparing these cuisines, giving them a unique and distinct flavor. Szechuan beef is sweet and spicy in taste while Mongolian beef has a mild and plain flavor.

But before we tackle the rest of their differences one by one, let us first have a little overview about their history.

Szechuan Beef vs Mongolian Beef

Szechuan Beef vs Mongolian Beef: Origins

Szechuan beef and Mongolian beef are actually both Chinese dishes. Szechuan beef hails from Sichuan Province in southwestern China while Mongolian beef has no actual Mongolian origins, but is believed that Mongolian beef hails from Taiwan.

Szechuan Beef Origin

There are eight traditional types of dishes a Chinese cuisine, which are considered as an integral part of Chinese culture. These cuisine styles correspond to eight different provinces in China, namely: Zhejiang, Shandong, Jiangsu, Hunan, Fujian, Cantonese, Anhui, and Szechuan.

Szechuan is not just a beef recipe, but a type of regional cuisine. Also known as Sichuan or Szechwan, szechuan beef originated from the southwestern part of China, the Sichuan Province. 

In 2011, Sichuan Province was recognized by UNESCO for its distinguished food culture and declared as a “City of Gastronomy ”. Indeed, a very remarkable recognition as this was the first honor a province in Asia received.

Mongolian Beef Origin

Unlike a traditional Mongolian cuisine that is native to Mongolia, the Mongolian cuisine in China and some parts of the US is actually not from Mongolia. It originated in Taiwan way back in the 1950s which was significantly influenced by a popular teppanyaki Japanese style.

This teppanyaki Japanese style cuisine uses an iron broiler to cook dishes at extremely hot temperatures. It has a very slight similarity with the actual Mongolian cuisine coming from Mongolia.

In fact, most of the dishes in China with Mongolian names are actually not related to Mongolian culture. Hence, the Mongolian beef is typically a Taiwanese stir-fry and not a Mongolian cuisine.

Difference Between Szechuan Beef vs Mongolian Beef

So after learning the origins of Szechuan beef and Mongolian beef, it’s time to get to know the significant differences between these two. Just a heads up that the Mongolian beef we will be tackling is an American Chinese food and not the traditional Mongolian cuisine from Mongolia.


According to history, Szechuan is formerly the romanization of Sichuan, which translates to “four river”. Jialing, Jinsha, Min, and Tuo are the four major rivers located in Sichuan Province.

While Mongolian is related to Mongolia, a boundless state in East Asia. In pinyin, Chinese Mongols are referred to as Měnggǔzú . As to date, the Chinese Mongolian population is over twice the actual natives of the Mongolia state.


Sesame paste, peanuts, and ginger are the most common ingredients in Szechuan. A Szechuan is commonly consists of chili paste, cornstarch, rice, cooking wine, egg whites, soy sauce, sesame oil, cayenne pepper, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, onions, crushed chilli peppers, vegetable oil, peanuts,  carrots, minced garlic, star anise, and red bell pepper. A simple dish made from innumerable ingredients, making its taste more complicated. 

On the other hand, Mongolian beef’s common ingredients are brown sauce, green onions, and sliced flank steak. Other ingredients a Mongolian beef has are chili peppers, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, scallions, cabbage, green onions, broccoli, ginger, and mushrooms. The Mongolian beef recipe tastes  simpler compared to Szechuan.

Basically, Szechuan ingredients are mostly dried, pickled, and salted while Mongolian beef recipes are into fresh ingredients like scallions and green onions.


Since Szechuan and Mongolian beef have different ingredients, it also follows that the two differ in taste.

Sauce is the signature of Szechuan dish, mainly on spices and heat, while Mongolian is more on meat and vegetables. Szechuan peppercorns and bell peppers are among the main ingredients of the Szechuan beef Chinese cuisine, while Mongolian’s commonly used ingredients are steak, green onions, and brown sauce.

Mongolian beef tastes like a Chinese takeout and has a sweeter taste compared to Szechuan. The Mongolian beef trademark is the stir-fry cooking method it uses.


Making Szechuan beef recipe is somewhat easy, but would require you enough time to prepare the dish. Szechuan cuisine can be stir-fried, braised, and steamed. This beef Szechuan is made of thin slices of marinated beef stir fried in Szechuan sauce to achieve mouthwatering superbness. It is best served on steamed rice.

Meanwhile, a Mongolian beef recipe solely relies on stir-frying. For quick cooking, the beef and vegetables are thinly sliced. The beef, sauce, and the rest of the ingredients are stir-fried, usually in a large wok with oil or water over high temperatures (above 500 Degrees Fahrenheit), to caramelize the beef.  And same with beef Szechuan, Mongolian beef is best served with steamed rice but normally served on fried glass noodles.


If you are a vegan who loves beef recipes, a Mongolian beef recipe will definitely satisfy your cravings. Since Mongolian beef contains fewer components, it has more vegetables compared to Szechuan. 

When it comes to texture, Mongolian is way crunchier than Szechuan. The latter’s crunch basically comes from its nut ingredients such as cashew nuts, sesame seeds, and salted peanuts.


Szechuan style has a hotness with a distinct tingly sensation because of Szechuan peppercorn spices. Szechuan exhibits a sweet and spicy flavor.  It also has a citrusy taste since the peppercorn is from the citrus family. Its complex sauce is red in appearance.

Mongolian, on the other hand, is the complete opposite to Szechuan style. The Mongolian beef is one of the Chinese beef dishes that rarely uses spices. It also has a mild taste, with a sauce that is dark brown in appearance.

More About Mongolian Beef vs Szechuan Beef

Szechuan cuisine in China usually uses rabbit, tofu, pork, and beef. While US Szechuan often served this dish with chicken, pork, and beef. The Chinese and American versions of Szechuan differ in terms of spiciness. The latter has a milder taste than the Chinese version.

Meanwhile, Mongolian cuisine in China commonly uses lamb or beef (flank steak). Though the cuisine is not barbecued, Chinese are likely to label Mongolian dishes as Mongolian barbecue. 

The US version, on the other hand, uses chicken, beef, or pork. Compared to Mongolian Chinese, Mongolian US version uses less meat varieties, sauces, and ingredients. 

So, that is everything about Mongolian beef vs Szechuan beef. I hope that this article has enlightened you with the differences between these two Chinese foods. If you think this information is relevant, feel free to spread the news. Thank you for reading!

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