Ask 10 random people on any street in America about General Tso's chicken and you’ll get 10 different versions of the pronunciation and the recipe. Brooklyn-based filmmaker Ian Cheney highlights the mystique of the popular American Chinese favorite in his documentary The Search for General Tso.
In the opening of the film’s trailer, Cheney shows photos of American-style General Tso's chicken to different Chinese cooks, vendors and passersby who don’t even recognize the food. The color seems off, and the meat looks like frog according to one woman. Cheney explores the phenomenon of other Americanized Chinese foods, but the great General is a leader amongst wok-fried noms. And in case you’re wondering, the dish is named after General Tso Tsung-tang (aka Zuo Zongtang), who was a Qing dynasty general and statesman.
“Using this Americanized dish and its mysterious mastermind as a lens onto a larger story of immigration, adaptation and innovation, the film follows a lighthearted journey, grounded in cultural and culinary history, through restaurants, Chinatowns, and the American imagination," a synopsis further explains. Dig in — but you may have to order some Chinese food by the time you’re done watching this trailer.
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