P.F. Chang's China Bistro, Inc.'s 40-plus restaurant chain, operating in 19 states, owes much of its success to founder Paul Fleming's unique idea of pairing oriental cuisine with American-style service. At the outset, when he opened the first of the restaurants in Scottsdale, Arizona, Fleming broke with the traditional Chinese restaurant format. With his collaborator, chef Philip Chiang, he devised a comparatively limited menu that featured far fewer dishes than the menus of typical, full-service, Chinese restaurants. Incorporating an American steak house dining style and a formidable selection of wines and cheeses, P.F. Chang's offers such additional oriental restaurant anomalies as espresso and cappuccino. Although P.F. Chang's China Bistros are stylish in decor, displaying motifs from the Ming and T'ang Dynasties and hand-painted murals, the dishes are moderately priced, partly because one of Fleming's aims was to provide high quality but affordable Chinese food for "the masses."




Caramel Chicken

Pei Wei Copycat Recipe

Serves 4-6

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup canned reduce-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 whole chicken, cut in 10 pieces (split the breasts)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (if needed)
4 tablespoons fresh ginger, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh garlic, chopped
1/2 large onion, chopped
1-2 tablespoons jalapenos, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
4 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
4 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
4 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine sugar and water in a high sided sauce pot. Bring to boil and simmer until the sugar turns a dark caramel color, but not burnt. Do not stir the sugar while cooking or it may crystallize. Add the chicken broth (the broth will boil quickly and spatter because of the hot sugar so be careful. This is the reason for the high sided pan). Stir in the broth and continue stirring over low heat until the sugar dissolves, then add the fish sauce and soy sauce. Set aside.

Season the chicken pieces with the salt. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet and brown the chicken pieces on all sides. In the same pan, (using the extra vegetable oil if needed) saute the ginger, garlic, onion and jalapeno over medium heat for a couple minutes until soft and fragrant. Add the browned chicken pieces and the caramel sauce, turning the chicken in the caramel broth to coat all sides. Arrange the chicken in the pan so it is all submerged in the sauce as much as possible and bring the pot to a boil. Cover the pot, put in the oven and braise until done, about 35-45 minutes. While chicken is cooking, combine the green onion and the other herbs and set aside. Serve the chicken over your favorite rice, with the herbs sprinkled on top. I like jasmine rice.


  1. YES!!!!! I have been going nuts looking for this!

  2. Has anyone tried this, and did it taste like what was at Pei Wei? I was told when I had it , that they used fish oil, available in metal cans but I never could find it. That was supposed to be the defining factor.