Friday, December 22, 2017

The Search for General Tso (2014)

Director: Ian Cheney

Writer: Ian Cheney

Composer: Simon Beins

Starring: Ian Cheney

More info: IMDb

Plot: Who was General Tso, and why are we eating his chicken? This feature documentary explores the origins and ubiquity of Chinese-American food through the story of an iconic sweet and spicy chicken dish.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again? No.

Would you believe that there is someone out there that is a lifelong collector of Chinese takeout menus?  That's just one of many curious things you'll learn from this documentary.  So who is General Tso?  Some general in 19th Century China who was against letting the West (Europeans, Americans) into the country.  So how hilarious is it that this most popular chicken dish is named after him.  I can appreciate that.  Once the film answers that question the mission is not to find out who created the dish and how did it permeate Western Chinese restaurants so widely and quickly.  They trace the development of Chinese restaurants in the US and how its popularity grew.  I like the dish but only when it's done with a lighter and spicier touch.  There's only one place in my town that I'll eat it.  It's not good anywhere else.  I'm sure a lot of us have asked the question of who Tso was and what his relationship is with fried small chunks of chicken then this is the picture for you...and you won't have the desire to see it again two hours after you watch it.  But seriously, it's an entertaining film that gets a lot from its subject and has fun with it.

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