General: Dish is like a reflection of people’s Chinese-American identity
“We tasted the original General Tso’s chicken in Taipei, and it was delicious; it was just different,” Cheney said. “It was a little more tart, it had more of a ginger-andgarlic profile, much less breading than you’d find on General Tso’s chicken in the States. I think Chef Peng was a little disappointed that Americans aren’t being as adventurous as one might like in exploring different types of culinary traditions.”
Lee said that the dish is like her in many ways, a reflection of Chinese-American identity.
“People look at it and they go, ‘This is foreign, this is exotic,’ but the more you learn about it, the more you realize this is a dish that is native to America. If you look at me, I look Chinese, genetically I’m Chinese, but if you drill down, I’m completely native to the United States,” she said.
The documentary is simultaneously showing in cities across US and in video-on-demand format, streaming from major platforms like Apple’s iTunes and Amazon Instant Video. Cheney and Ellis also are looking to work with educators and various institutions to present the documentary as learning material.
“We went into this curious about what we could learn about this one dish and the story behind it,” Cheney said, “but we emerged from the film with a much greater understanding and appreciation of Chinese-American history more broadly, the unbelievable struggle that immigrants have faced, the repression laws that were put in place to make it very difficult for Chinese to come to America, and then to make a living in America.”