First, we lost the creator of the Big Mac. Now, we've also lost the creator of General Tso's chicken in the same week.
According to Eater, Peng Chang-Kuei, the chef credited with the creation of this Chinese-American classic, passed away due to pneumonia this past week. Like the creator of the Big Mac, he was 98 years old when he died this past Wednesday.
Chef Peng, who originally introduced General Tso's chicken to America in the 1970s, created the sweet and spicy fried chicken while cooking for a US admiral in Taiwan. He literally came up with the iconic name on a whim, and it's stuck on as one of the most popular items you can get at Chinese-American restaurants, like Panda Express, today. There's even been a documentary released on the origins of this hallmark entree.
Peng Chang-Kuei's chicken did very well in the United States — but at another New York restaurant named Shun Lee Palace. After the New York Times gave Shun Lee Palace's version a raving review, the restaurant took off with the dish, while the original inventor had to return to Taiwan to sell his creation. Nonetheless, he is credited with creating the iconic Chinese chicken dish that spread across the country like wildfire, and is a staple in most Chinese-American restaurants.
While the General Tso's chicken we all know and love is much sweeter than the original, it's still Chef Peng's signature dish — and his lasting legacy that he's left behind.
We salute you, Chef Peng, for giving us this incredible chicken. Rest in peace.