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I’m guessing you’ve figured out that General Tso’s chicken isn’t quite an authentic Chinese dish. On the other hand, if I’ve blown your mind and ruined your childhood with this declaration, I apologize.
General Tso is an imposter. Not the very real legendary Qing dynasty general but rather the popular dish featuring cloying reddish-brown sauce-enrobed, boneless-McNugget-like meat served at every Chinese takeout in America. It did not originate in China but was created by an immigrant Chinese chef, in the early 1970s in New York.
It seems everyone wants to be the next Chipotle. For every upscale chef who opens a new hotdog stand or sandwich shop these days, there are two entrepreneurs trying to ape the success of the McDonald’s of Mexican, and become the next big ethnic franchise.
If you need evidence of the oppressive rise of random pop culture (or Wikipedia’s mastery of search-engine optimization), look no further than a Google search for the word “snow.” How else to explain that white Toronto-born rapper, Snow, the man behind the highest-charting reggae single of all time, “Informer” (wherever he is, Bob Marley must be rolling a big fat spliff over that one), is the second matching result. It’s probably only a matter of time before the wordsmith of the eternal lyric “licky boom boom down” takes over the more familiar fluffy cold precipitate on the internet.