The Search For General Tso

Critics Consensus

The Search for General Tso digs into the history of a beloved dish and uncovers a heaping helping of powerfully nourishing history along the way.

90%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 21

75%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,117

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Movie Info

This mouthwateringly entertaining film travels the globe to unravel a captivating culinary mystery. General Tso's chicken is a staple of Chinese-American cooking, and a ubiquitous presence on restaurant menus across the country. But just who was General Tso? And how did his chicken become emblematic of an entire national cuisine? Director Ian Cheney (King Corn) journeys from Shanghai to New York to the American Midwest and beyond to uncover the origins of this iconic dish, turning up surprising revelations and a host of humorous characters along the way. Told with the verve of a good detective story,The Search for General Tso is as much about food as it is a tale of the American immigrant experience. (C) IFC films

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Critic Reviews for The Search For General Tso

All Critics (21) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (19) | Rotten (2)

  • Keeps digging and digging until it has not only solved the enigma of this particular dish but cast a light on an entire secret chronology of food, immigrant culture, and the way the two amplify each other.

    March 5, 2015 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

    Ty Burr

    Boston Globe
    Top Critic
  • Cheney (who worked on the unforgettable "King Corn"), obviously had a good time collecting their testimony, though he tends to side with the idea that the only authenticity is deliciousness.

    January 20, 2015 | Rating: 3/4
  • At just over an hour, it's a surprisingly satisfying and tasty dish for anyone looking for something a bit less bland than the typical history documentary.

    January 15, 2015 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • A culinary and cultural odyssey that ultimately has much more on its plate than that spicy-sweet-crispy chicken.

    January 1, 2015 | Full Review…
  • Mr. Cheney's movie, while teasing at times, does its celebrating and debunking in mild-mannered fashion, making points without seeming to try to score them.

    January 1, 2015 | Full Review…
  • You may well emerge from "The Search for General Tso" with a hankering for the titular spicy dish.

    December 31, 2014 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Search For General Tso

  • Jun 30, 2018
    Although it does come off as brief and superficial like a TV special (or Netflix special?), this documentary is enjoyable food porn and is a lot more interesting when telling us about the history of Chinese-American food than trying to find out who this elusive General Tso was.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Sep 08, 2015
    The film doesn't establish any definitive conclusions about its subject, instead leaving the surprisingly thought-provoking matter of evaluating the implications of the titular chicken dish to the viewer. The result is an impressively meaty (no pun intended) documentary experience.
    Isaac H Super Reviewer

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