HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >

Los Angeles: Best General Tsos Chicken?

zeroone May 27, 2007 06:51 PM

What chinese restaurant has the best general tsos chicken/generals chicken in los angeles?

Im from philly and i have yet to find any place here, anywhere that actually has good general tsos chicken or any chinese place that knows how to make it right.

does anyone have any good suggestions?

thanks a lot for your help!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. h
    handlertaper RE: zeroone May 27, 2007 06:54 PM

    I would also love to know! We used to get it all the time in NY in the 80's but haven't found the same thing here in L.A.

    1. p
      pwarrick RE: zeroone May 27, 2007 07:05 PM

      This isn't General Tso's, but for Kung Pao, and other GREAT Chinese, check out Mao's Kitchen in Venice (http://www.maoskitchen.com). One of my all time favorite places for Chinese in LA.

      1 Reply
      1. re: pwarrick
        zeroone RE: pwarrick May 27, 2007 07:13 PM

        I tried Maos already, it's alright, it was different.

        But im still on a quest to find great general tsos chicken east coast style.

      2. s
        sel RE: zeroone May 27, 2007 08:11 PM

        I have not had this dish in L.A. so I can't give you a specific rec. I have made the recipe in the new cookbook called REVOLUTIONARY CHINESE COOKBOOK Recipes From Hunan Province by Fuchsia Dunlop and it came out very, very good. My plan is to explore the Hunan restaurants in the greater San Gabriel Valley for this dish and other dishes from this region, I don't expect to find a great version outside of the greater SGV! Hopefully others will make some specific recs!

        1. ipsedixit RE: zeroone May 27, 2007 08:19 PM

          While I think the place serves nothing but bastardized American Chinese food, if you want good General Tsao's Chicken, goto YANG CHOW.

          It's called "General Tseng Chicken" on the menu.


          2 Replies
          1. re: ipsedixit
            zeroone RE: ipsedixit May 27, 2007 08:45 PM

            interesting, i just ordered the general tseng chicken from yang chow, ill let you know how it tastes.

            1. re: zeroone
              zeroone RE: zeroone May 27, 2007 10:59 PM

              im eating the general tseng chicken right now and its nothing like general tsos chicken. general tsos is breaded and is usually a bit spicy. but the tseng chicken isnt spicy and its not breaded, its just diced chicken and sauce, its nothing like general tsos chicken.

          2. Emme RE: zeroone May 27, 2007 11:18 PM

            have you had genghis cohen?

            1 Reply
            1. re: Emme
              zeroone RE: Emme May 28, 2007 02:20 AM

              yes ive tried there, i love their egg rolls, i finally found an egg roll that taste like the east coast, but they dont have general tsos chicken. they have a dish called "queen chicken" but its horrible and doesnt taste anything like it.

            2. b
              bosanova99 RE: zeroone May 28, 2007 08:33 PM

              I think Kung Pao Bistro in Sherman Oaks has it, but don't quote me.

              1. d
                daniellemarie RE: zeroone Jun 1, 2007 09:57 AM

                I searched for so long, there is a new(ish) New York style chinese buffet in Lakewood Right Across from the lakewood mall. It is definitely worth the trip. The only thing that isnt new york style is the egg rolls and fried rice. But the general tsos is so good, along with sweet and sour chicken

                1. a_and_w RE: zeroone Jun 1, 2007 10:30 AM

                  Chang's restaurant on San Vicente does an excellent version of the dish. In fact, they're probably the best Americanized Chinese place I've encountered thus far on the West side. Surprisingly good veggie dishes, too, esp. the sauteed green beans with garlic.

                  1. s
                    socal RE: zeroone Jun 1, 2007 11:42 AM

                    I've lived in LA for most of my life and have eaten more Chinese food that I can remember and I still don't think I know what General Tso's chicken is...

                    Isn't it just a sauce poured out of a bottle?

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: socal
                      katkoupai RE: socal Jun 1, 2007 11:49 AM

                      I've never heard of it either.

                      1. re: katkoupai
                        a_and_w RE: katkoupai Jun 1, 2007 12:30 PM

                        It's basically chicken chunks, breaded and deep fried, with a sweet and savory sauce and some chili peppers. It's similar to crispy orange chicken or beef. In fact, the Chang's version has orange peels. I'm sure the sauce does come in a bottle, but the best places put their own twist on the dish.

                        1. re: a_and_w
                          katkoupai RE: a_and_w Jun 1, 2007 12:39 PM

                          Yeah, it does sound like orange chicken. Thanks for the explanation. :-)

                      2. re: socal
                        PeterL RE: socal Jun 1, 2007 01:07 PM

                        It's actually an original Chinese dish. There was a real General Tso and supposedly this was his favorite way to prepare chicken. It's breaded and deep fried chicken breast, cut into strips and served with a sauce.

                        1. re: PeterL
                          Chandavkl RE: PeterL Jun 1, 2007 01:19 PM

                          I believe Carl Chu's book on finding Chinese food in Los Angeles confirms this dish as being Hunanese in origin. It might be related to today's ubiquitous orange chicken, but the times I've had it the dish hasn't been as sweet.

                          1. re: Chandavkl
                            Mattapoisett in LA RE: Chandavkl Jun 1, 2007 02:04 PM

                            Or you could go by this history of the dish:


                            1. re: Chandavkl
                              zruilong RE: Chandavkl Jun 1, 2007 04:29 PM

                              This I find interesting since I never have seen this dish name in any restaurant I have seen in Hunan (though this is not an exhaustive list!! :-)). Friends from the Hunan province who have never been outside of China, know of the military figure Zuo, but not the dish named after him. Mattapoisett in LA's link seems to give a resonable explanation with historical context.

                              So, General Tso's chicken is an "American Chinese" dish that has its own created history. The wikipedia article stating that is sometimes called orange chicken, could be correct, but they really are two different dishes where General Tso's chicken is supposed to be spicy. Then again, I have never really eaten the dish, so I cannot account for the heat factor - given that it is an Americanized dish, I would guess that it is not very spicy.

                              1. re: zruilong
                                sel RE: zruilong Jun 1, 2007 07:45 PM

                                The history linked above by Mattapoisett in LA traces this dishes evolution from Mainland China to Taiwan to New York City and back to Taiwan and Hunan Province, China.

                                1. re: zruilong
                                  Chandavkl RE: zruilong Jun 1, 2007 10:22 PM

                                  Carl Chu's account is that General Tso created the dish while he was on duty in Beijing, presumably to remind him of his home cooking. Chu says the dish was brought to America by Cantonese immigrants who altered the chili pepper-garlic-soy sauce-vinegar sauce using plum sauce, orange juice and even pineapples.

                          2. p
                            PayOrPlay RE: zeroone Jun 1, 2007 02:29 PM

                            Wikipedia has a fairly thorough discussion of General Tso's Chicken:


                            In passing this article (written by who knows who, maybe One Of Us?) states: "In some Southern California Chinese restaurants, such as Panda Express or Pick Up Stix, General Tso's chicken is often referred to as Orange chicken or Crispy Chicken." But I dunno about this statement--the few times I remember having General Tso's Chicken in the East (D.C., N.J.), it tasted more sweet-and-sourish, but a little spicier. Not one of my favorite dishes by a long shot, so I would not pretend to offer an opinion on whether typical Panda-esque orange chicken would qualify. Anyway, I personally would much prefer something like Hu's Cheng Pi Chicken for a similar vibe, and commend same to all seekers. (10450 National Blvd. in West LA.)

                            1. t
                              Tari RE: zeroone Jun 1, 2007 07:50 PM

                              That was always my favorite chinese dish when I lived in Indiana. I have lived out here for 8 years and still haven't had anything that tastes as good as the general tso chicken that I am use to.

                              1. a
                                aylowe RE: zeroone Jun 1, 2007 07:53 PM

                                I lived in NYC for a long time before coming back to LA and, like you, I was eager to find some General Tso's. As several people have already noted, Orange Chicken is very similar.

                                Can't say I've found terribly great orange chicken though. Hop Li (on the West Side) has a great Tangerine BEEF, but their orange chicken is a bit too sweet for my taste.

                                Now, there's a place on Ventura called Bamboo Garden which has something called Sweet and Pungent Chicken, which might be the closest thing I've found to Gen'l Tso's out here. I think it passes fairly well - they fry up the chicken so it's slightly sweet and crisp (not too doughy), the way it should be. Then there's Hu's on National, which does a pretty good quasi-Gen'l Tso's chicken. I forget what they call theirs, but it's not too hard to figure out if you check out their menu.

                                Anyway, I'm curious to see what other people post on this.

                                1. kealoha RE: zeroone Jun 2, 2007 01:45 AM

                                  Don't hate me: I like PF Chang's General Tso's Chicken.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: kealoha
                                    Dav RE: kealoha Jun 2, 2007 10:03 AM

                                    Whew... I was almost afraid to admit it, but since you paved the way I'll also fess up... P.F. Chang's version is quite good. I am also obsessed with their orange peel beef...

                                    1. re: Dav
                                      zeroone RE: Dav Jun 13, 2007 06:17 PM

                                      pf changs doesnt have general tsos chicken, they have "changs spicy chicken" but its not the same thing.

                                  2. q
                                    QualityMart RE: zeroone Jun 2, 2007 12:00 PM

                                    I grew up in NoCal, spent 5 years in Boston for school, then moved back here and have been in NoCal and now SoCal since. I don't think I've ever seen General Tso's in California, and on the flip side I don't think I ever went to a Chinese place in Boston that *didn't* have it (though it was often called "General Gau's"). It's just one of those weird west coast vs. east coast divides I guess.

                                    Orange chicken is in the rough ballpark but the sauce on good General Tso's is far tangier and spicier. I much prefer it.

                                    1. s
                                      sungscow RE: zeroone Jul 18, 2007 09:15 AM

                                      i'd hate to admit it.. but the best general tso's chicken i've had in LA was from Chin Chin.. ask for it extra spicy..

                                      unfortunately, LA chinese food is nothing like NY chinese food..

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: sungscow
                                        Chandavkl RE: sungscow Jul 18, 2007 09:38 AM

                                        And thank goodness! For whatever reason, New York Chinese food is stuck in time, that time probably being the 1990s even as to the authentic fare. They've totally missed out on the new wave of innovation that we've been fortunate to experience at places like Elite, Sea Harbour, Mission 261, Triumphal Palace, the Kitchen and so on.

                                      2. t
                                        Tavio RE: zeroone Jan 12, 2011 01:44 PM

                                        This is an old post but I was on a mission trying to find a restaurant that offered General Tso chicken (I was hooked on this when living in Vegas) and I came across one restaurant in Santa Monica. It's called Dragon Palace and I guarantee you their General Tso chicken will not disappoint.

                                        Also if anyone know any other restaurants that have good General Tso that would be great (not PF Chang's).

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Tavio
                                          mucho gordo RE: Tavio Jan 12, 2011 03:15 PM

                                          I'm partial to the one served at Kung Pao China Bistro in Studio City.

                                          Kung Pao Bistro
                                          11402 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604

                                        Show Hidden Posts