Mandarin Orange Spice Chicken

General Tso's chicken (sometimes Governor Tso's chicken, General Tao's chicken, General Tsao's chicken, General Gao's chicken, or General Gau's chicken) is a sweet-and-spicy, deep-fried chicken dish that is popularly served in American Chinese and Canadian Chinese restaurants. The origins of the dish are unclear. The dish was previously largely unknown in China and other lands home to the Chinese diaspora.The association with General Tso Tsung-tang, or Zuo Zongtang, a Qing dynasty general and statesman, is unclear. The dish is atypical of Hunanese cuisine, which is traditionally very spicy and rarely sweet. Instead, the dish is believed to have been introduced to New York City in the early 1970s as an example of Hunan- and Szechuan-style cooking. The dish was first mentioned in The New York Times in 1977.

There are several stories concerning the origin of the dish. Eileen Yin-Fei Lo states in her book The Chinese Kitchen that the dish originates from a simple Hunan chicken dish, and that the reference to "Zongtang" in "Zuo Zongtang chicken" was not a reference to Zuo Zongtang's given name, but rather a reference to the homonym "zongtang", meaning "ancestral meeting hall" (Chinese: 宗堂; pinyin: zōngtáng). Consistent with this interpretation, the dish name is sometimes  found in Chinese as "Zuo ancestral hall chicken" (simplified Chinese: 左宗堂鸡; traditional Chinese: 左宗堂雞; pinyin: Zuǒ Zōngtáng jī). (Chung tong gai is a transliteration of "ancestral meeting hall chicken" from Cantonese; Zuǒ Zōngtáng jī is the standard name of General Tso's chicken as transliterated from Mandarin.)


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