We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is General Tso's Chicken?

Tricia Christensen
By
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
DelightedCooking is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At DelightedCooking, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

General Tso's Chicken is a Chinese American and Chinese Canadian dish often associated with Hunan cuisine of China. Though the name of a dish may reference a specific general in China, possibly the 19th century Zuo Zongtang, most food historians conclude this dish was invented in the US because it is not commonly served in China. The legend surrounding the chicken and its connection to Zuo Zongtang is still fun to know. According to various sources the wife of the general created the dish for him after a great battle, and the dish then became a favorite. Unfortunately, this truly appears a legend since the descendants of the general express no familiarity with this spicy dish.

Actually General Tso's Chicken may have been invented in New York City. The restaurant Peng’s Restaurant claims to be the first to have served it. According to Peng’s, this dish is a fairly new invention, created in 1972 by T. T. Wang. An alternate story is that the dish was invented in Taiwan.

The basic ingredients of General Tso's Chicken are dark chicken meat, shallots, white wine or rice vinegar, hot peppers and spices like garlic and ginger. The chicken is breaded and deep fried than coated with a sauce made of tangy opposites like garlic, peppers, sometimes wine or sherry, and ginger. The dish has a spicy, sweet and sour taste that is a favorite of many restaurant goers. Ingredients can vary depending on the restaurant preparing the chicken. Emphasis may be more on spiciness than contrast in sweet and sour flavors.

The dish is very similar to other dishes like Szechuan beef and chicken. Pieces of meat in Szechuan beef are also deep-fried and mixed with a sauce, green onions or shallots, and hot peppers. General Tso's Chicken may contain more sauce, though this too depends upon the restaurant or chef’s preference.

You can eat General Tso's Chicken as a main dish, and it is excellent served over rice. It may be listed on a menu, but some Chinese American and Chinese Canadian restaurants make it as a special or have it listed as a highlighted and frequently slightly more expensive dish. Given that it is no more labor intensive to prepare and has relatively inexpensive ingredients, the extra cost isn’t truly justified. Some people vary the dish deep-frying white meat chicken or chicken tenders instead, and these typically are a little more expensive than pieces of dark meat.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a DelightedCooking contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By RoyalSpyder — On Mar 03, 2014

Despite General Tso's Chicken appearing to be Chinese, I'm actually quite surprised that it's not commonly served in China. Honestly though, I've noticed this with a lot of "Chinese" cuisines and dishes I've seen. It's almost as if Americans made it themselves. This is why I stay away from Panda Express, ha ha. From what I've heard, it's not even authentic food, and it's completely Americanized.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a DelightedCooking contributor, Tricia...
Learn more
DelightedCooking, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

DelightedCooking, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.