Fascinating story behind how General Tso's chicken got its start revealed

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Fascinating Story Behind How General Tso's Chicken Got Its Start

General Tso's chicken may be popular in Chinese restaurants across the U.S., but it was actually created decades ago in Taiwan, notes Smithsonian.com.

The person most commonly credited with first cooking the dish is Peng Chang-kuei.

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Though he was born to a poor family in Hunan, China, he eventually became a chefcooking for the Nationalist government.

When the Communists took control in 1949, Peng and his peers left with ousted party officials for Taiwan.

At a restaurant he opened in Taipei, he ended up creating and serving General Tso's chicken, albeit in a different form.

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In a 2007 New York Times piece, he is quoted as saying, "Originally the flavors of the dish were typically Hunanese — heavy, sour, hot and salty."

The name also celebrated his hometown, as General Tso was reportedly a military man from the area.

The dish was eventually introduced to America in the 1970s by Tsung Ting Wang, a Chinese chef and restaurateur in New York City, who encountered it in Taiwan but decided to make the chicken crispier and sweeter tasting.

Ironically, when Peng went to New York to open his own restaurant, some believed his General Tso's chicken was an attempt to copy the successful dish.

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