A rough week for American eaters has just gotten worse.
A few days after news of the death of Big Mac creator Jim Delligatti, there is word that Chef Peng Chang-kuei, who as legend has it is the inventor of General Tso’s Chicken, died of pneumonia on November 30.
Peng, also the founder of Hunan-style restaurant chain Peng’s Garden Hunan Restaurant, was 98. He was featured in the 2014 documentary, The Search for General Tso.
“According to an interview with the China Times, Peng says that his most famous dish was created in 1952 during a four-day visit by U.S. Seventh Fleet commander Admiral Arthur W. Radford. After three days, he had served the guests most of his repertoire of dishes, so to try and mix things up a bit, he decided to chop some chicken into big chunks, fry it to a golden hue and then added a different combination of sauce and seasoning to create a new dish.
The admiral was so impressed with the dish that he asked Peng what it was called, he thought quickly on his feet and said ‘General Tso’s Chicken’.
Peng chose the name to honor General Tso, a famous military leader from Hunan who helped put down the Taiping Rebellion as well as other rebellions in the 1800s during the Qing Dynasty. He was well respected not only for his successes on the battlefield, but also for his contributions to Chinese agricultural science and education.”
Pour one out, and fill a styrofoam bin in his honor.