Saturday, March 25, 2017

Finding General Tso and his Chicken

"The Search for General Tso" is a documentary film about the ubiquitous chicken dish that's been popular in American restaurants since the 1970s. It describes the history of Chinese immigration into the United States beginning with the California Gold Rush. It traces the persecution and abuse of Chinese immigrants at various times in our history, the development of Chinese-American food and American Chinese restaurants, and some of the actual traditions of Chinese food in China. It even briefly summarizes the way that Jewish New Yorkers often habitually ate Chinese food on Sunday and on Christmas. Interviews with American food writers, chefs, owners of Chinese restaurants, and various people in China and Taiwan provide a variety of facts and opinions about Chinese food and American history. We watched it on Netflix.

The movie includes lots of local color!

Several scenes are in Hunan Province where the original General Tso lived
during the 19th century. He is remembered fondly: he never lost a battle.
Almost every American city and town has a Chinese restaurant.
And virtually all of them serve General Tso's chicken.
Owners from many small towns were interviewed about their family history.
Adapting to American taste was a matter of survival for the restaurants in American cities where Chinese food
was unfamiliar and the restaurant's owners were often the only Chinese people in the area.
The inventor of the dish was a Chef Peng in Taiwan in the 1960s. The original dish was less sweet than the eventual
American-Chinese version, and did not have broccoli, which is not known in China.
The producer of "The Search for General Tso," which was released in 2014, was Jennifer 8. Lee, author of The Fortune Cookie Chronicles, a book that I also enjoyed very much.


Claudia said...

A sort of fun, tongue-in-cheek historical film. Have to say I've never had General Tso's chicken.

Carole said...

I need it research this. Have a great week. Cheers from Carole's Chatter

The Mistress of the Dark said...

I think I may have to watch that. I love General Tso chicken :) Thanks for stopping by my place!

nishitak said...

Sounds like a fun movie!

Beth F said...

I have this film on my list -- I'll have to make an effort to watch it. Sounds great.