General Zuo’s Rooster

Intrepid ABC reporter heads to China to uncover the origins of General Tso’s Chicken, a so-called Chinese dish served in North America that Caucasians love and Chinese have no clue what on earth it is.

It turns out that Cantonese, Hunan and Sichuan immigrants brought their peasant dishes to the New World, where it evolved into what you see today. General Tso’s Chicken has as much in common with Chinese cuisine as Pizza Hut has with Italian cooking.

Real Chinese food is nothing like what you see at Mandarin or Ho-Lee-Chow’s (geddit?). It’s like walking into an “English” restaurant that served nothing but casserole and chipped beef on toast.

Stir fry and fried rice is what you make with day-old leftovers. Egg Foo Young is just a cheap meal for college students. In real Chinese cuisine, nothing is deep fried in batter, or drowned in a thick, iridescent red sauce.

And you certainly don’t get a fortune cookie at the end.