Monday, February 05, 2007

General Who? No, General Tzo!

Anyone who has spent anytime there can tell you that you won’t find Chop Suey or Chow Mein on a Chop Suey - Edward Hoppermenu in China. Nowhere in any of the many ethnic cuisines will you find either of these purportedly Chinese dishes. Apparently it was the Chinese cooks on the U.S. transcontinental railways who dreamt them up using some basic Chinese cooking techniques – stir frying - with what they had at hand. Surprisingly Canadian-Chinese chow mein differs from the American-Chinese variety and in Canada we have three different styles depending on where you are in the country. Who would have thought?

Now according to an article in this weekend’s New York Times magazine General Tzo Chicken is also a culinary myth. What we in North America consider the ultimate in Hunan cookery doesn’t fit into that Province’s traditional palate of flavor combinations. They have thoughtfully included a recipe for a version that has the hot-sour mixture that is more truly Hunanese. I may try it for a dinner next week. I’ll let you know how it turned out.

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