Creator of General Tso's Chicken dies at 98 - Toledo News Now, News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Creator of General Tso's Chicken dies at 98

The inventor of General Tso's Chicken invented the dish while entertaining a U.S. Admiral in 1952. (Source: Wikimedia Commons/1700-talet) The inventor of General Tso's Chicken invented the dish while entertaining a U.S. Admiral in 1952. (Source: Wikimedia Commons/1700-talet)

 (RNN) – The man who invented General Tso’s chicken has died from pneumonia at the age of 98.

Chef Peng Chang-kuei, who was born in Hunan province, mainland China, founded a famous eatery in Taiwan called Peng’s Garden Hunan Restaurant, according to the Taiwan Times. He is remembered as the inventor of one of the most popular Chinese dishes in the world.

He told the China Times that he came up with his most famous dish out of necessity in 1952. He was feeding the entourage U.S. Seventh Fleet Commander Adm. Arthur W. Radford, who was in Taiwan for a four-day visit. After three days, Peng had about exhausted his repertoire. He chopped some chicken into big chunks, fried it to a golden brown and doused it with a ginger-garlic sauce laden with other spices.

Radford was so impressed he asked what the dish was called, and off the top of his head, Peng named it after a famous Hunan general who quieted rebellions in the 1880 and went on to become an important figure in Chinese agricultural science. 

Peng became known in the U.S. when he opened a New York restaurant in 1973. Ambassadors and staff of the United Nations were frequent visitors. U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was a regular, and because of his notoriety, the media began covering Peng's restaurant.

In a food review, the New York Times called General Tso's Chicken a "stir-fry masterpiece."

Peng's New York restaurant didn't last, but his chain of restaurants back home in Taiwan is still very popular.

Peng grew up in Changsha, Hunan. He began training under master Hunan chef Cao Jin-chen, who was the family chef of the prime minister of the Nationalist Government. Peng was in charge of running Nationalist banquets after WWII. He fled to Taiwan after the communists won the Chinese Civil War.

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