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General Gau meet Chairman Mao
February 3, 2007 11:21 PM   Subscribe

The true history of General Tso/Gau/Zuo's Chicken involves Henry Kissinger and the food of Hunan province, which was the home of two opposing eaters: Chairman Mao and the nationalist Chef Peng who invented the dish, along with other now-classics of Hunanese cuisine, after fleeing the Revolution. Thus ends a long search for the origins of the dish, as covered previously.
posted by blahblahblah (14 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
Is this a related to / a dupe of this?
posted by milnak at 11:34 PM on February 3, 2007


What a fascinating little story.

And milnak... yes (see the "covered previously" bit?).
posted by kisch mokusch at 11:46 PM on February 3, 2007


Here at the Naval Academy, we call it Admiral Tso's Chicken. It's still pretty much the same. Except kinda suck because it's cooked for 4000 midhshipmen by people that don't really care about said 4000 midshipmen.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 12:21 AM on February 4, 2007


This is great! Even got a recipe at the end of the article.

I recall being told by several native Chinese that they had never heard of the dish and it wasn't authentic, so I pretty much assumed it was a Westernized thing -- at best, something from an immigrant community. They'll be fascinated to read this.
posted by RavinDave at 12:39 AM on February 4, 2007


It's interesting too that it seems to be only an east coast thing here in the US. People I know from California have never heard of it but it's served in every single Chinese restaurant in the eastern US.
posted by octothorpe at 6:12 AM on February 4, 2007


Is this a related to / a dupe of this?

Yes, but updated with more info.

Thank you Henry.
posted by caddis at 7:28 AM on February 4, 2007


I can't tell you how many times this has been the subject of conversation. Who was General Tso? I've always been afraid he was maybe some horrible person and eating a dish named after him was the equivalent of eating a dish called Hitler's Meatballs, or Mussolini-Os, or Pol Pot Pie.
posted by etc. at 8:07 AM on February 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


Who was General Tso and why are we eating his chicken?

This offers a more in depth discussion of General Tso's career and the more traditional sweeter version of the dish.
posted by notmtwain at 8:36 AM on February 4, 2007


It's interesting too that it seems to be only an east coast thing here in the US. People I know from California have never heard of it but it's served in every single Chinese restaurant in the eastern US.

Really? Every chinese restaurant here in SF (well, the ones outside of Chinatown) serves it.
posted by vacapinta at 8:40 AM on February 4, 2007


a dish called Hitler's Meatballs,

I hear the portions are small.
posted by jonmc at 8:57 AM on February 4, 2007


a dish called Hitler's Meatballs,

I always heard that there was only one, so it would have to be Hitler's Meatball. (Not to mention that he was a vegetarian... So maybe you'd have to have a tofu ball...)
posted by notmtwain at 9:07 AM on February 4, 2007


Well, I read this a long time ago, so the NYT article isn't too much of a surprise.
posted by delmoi at 1:13 PM on February 4, 2007


except that the wikipedia has nothing about how Hunan food became popular here in the States; it's more like that old WaPo article.
posted by caddis at 1:46 PM on February 4, 2007


I made the NY Times recipe last night and it was way better than any other version of the dish I've ever had.
posted by EiderDuck at 6:11 AM on February 5, 2007


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