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The Search for General Tso (2014)

Not Rated | | Documentary, Comedy, History | 2 January 2015 (USA)
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Who was General Tso, and why are we eating his chicken? This feature documentary explores the origins and ubiquity of Chinese-American food through the story of an iconic sweet and spicy chicken dish.

Director:

Ian Cheney

Writer:

Ian Cheney

Star:

Ian Cheney

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Cast

Credited cast:
Ian Cheney Ian Cheney ... Himself
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Storyline

Who was General Tso, and why are we eating his chicken? This feature documentary explores the origins and ubiquity of Chinese-American food through the story of an iconic sweet and spicy chicken dish.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official film website

Country:

USA | Taiwan | China

Language:

English | Mandarin

Release Date:

2 January 2015 (USA) See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$9,336, 4 January 2015

Gross USA:

$54,275

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$54,275
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
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User Reviews

 
Luscious Foodie Documentary Spiced with Humor
2 March 2015 | by vsksSee all my reviews

The Search for General Tso is an engaging chronicle of cultural assimilation told "with the verve of a good detective story" by writer-director Ian Cheney and producers Amanda Murray and Jennifer 8. Lee and based on a ubiquitous restaurant menu item adapted to Americans' palate. (A recipe is included on the film's website.) Shown during the recent Sedona International Film Festival, at other film festivals around the country, and available for viewing through the link above, this popular, humor-laced documentary also traces the history of the real General Tso, a fearsome warrior from the late 19th Century.

The dish was inspired by President Nixon's historic visit to China in 1972 and was introduced at the venerable Shun Lee Palace, near Lincoln Center in New York City. But the dish's history predates its American introduction. Its originator was a Hunan chef named Peng Chang-kuei, who fled Communist China and settled in Taipei, Taiwan. He created General Tso's chicken in 1955 for Chiang Kai-shek.

Now 90 years old, Chef Peng frowns when shown a picture of the dish, noting he would never use scallions or decorate the plate with broccoli! To achieve a sweet-and-sour taste, the American version adds sugar—another touch unheard of in traditional Chinese cooking.


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