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General Tso's Chicken (SEA)

fooey Apr 14, 2008 06:01 PM

Does any Chinese restaurant in Seattle make General Tso's Chicken well?

I've had four varieties so far and none of them good.

The best one was basically sesame chicken without the sesame seeds; the worst was a soggy version of seasame-ish chicken (I think it was chicken; but, who knows?).

It should be CRISP with just enough sauce, not floating in it. The sauce should be pungent, savory, but only mildly sweet. It should be spicy hot (red peppers) and come with steamed broccoli (optional).

I used to love Schezuan Cuisine's version in Bellevue (even the broccoli was perfectly steamed), but now it's only worth avoidance.

It's a non-traditional Chinese dish, much more American/Canadian, but when done well, it's very good.


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  1. allisonw RE: fooey Apr 14, 2008 06:54 PM

    I likje the Gen. Tso up at Fu Shan on about 147th and Lake City Way next to the Everest Kitchen.

    1. a
      asiangirl RE: fooey Apr 14, 2008 07:13 PM

      the quality is inconsistent (depends on the cook i think), but i like Taster's Wok located on highway 99 in north lynnwood. sometimes they make it really, really good... other times, eh, not so much, but still good. just thinking about it makes my mouth water.

      1. m
        mrnelso RE: fooey Apr 14, 2008 07:37 PM

        I've seen General Tso's on the menu at Jack's Tapas Cafe, but have not tried it, as I am stuck on the hand shaved noodles and the Sour Napa with Lamb stir Fry

        5 Replies
        1. re: mrnelso
          fooey RE: mrnelso Apr 19, 2008 08:43 AM

          Are those like the barley-shaved green noodles on the menu at Shanghai Garden in Issaquah? I drive all the way out there for those, would love to find some nearby...

          Re:Shanghai Garden: It's decent, not great Chinese. The noodles are best.

          1. re: fooey
            allisonw RE: fooey Apr 19, 2008 08:55 AM

            Fooey, there is a Shanghai Garden in the ID--no need to go out to the faceless suburbs for noodles....

            1. re: allisonw
              fooey RE: allisonw Apr 19, 2008 09:12 AM

              ! There is?! OMG. *fooey passes out. THANK YOU!

              1. re: fooey
                phinious RE: fooey Apr 19, 2008 02:50 PM

                Yes… I lived in Issaquah, but now I live just outside of the ID. The menus are, just about identical (one of the two locations is slightly scaled back due to a smaller kitchen—but I can’t remember which).

                Honestly, I would be surprised if you noticed any difference between the two, I haven’t.

            2. re: fooey
              mrnelso RE: fooey May 14, 2008 08:40 PM

              I have never been to eat in issaquah, aside from a lamented meal nearest the library, but thank you, and the next time I am stranded in that forsaken neighborhood, I look forward to a visit so we can compare.

          2. landguy RE: fooey Apr 14, 2008 07:53 PM

            The closest I've found so far is the "Orange Chicken" that is currently on the special's board at Schezuan Chef in Bellevue. This is also the only good chinese restaurant in town IMO. As a fellow seeker of General Tso's in the Seattle area I would be interested to hear what you think. If you know where I can find a decent wonton soup (American version) I am all ears.

            10 Replies
            1. re: landguy
              fooey RE: landguy Apr 19, 2008 08:45 AM

              I ordered from http://www.chiangsgourmet.com/, as people on Yelp! said they made great General Tso's. It was the best I've had so far, but on a scale of 1-10, I'd give it a 4. :|

              Will try Schezhuan Chef soon...

              Oddly, I don't see why I bother. I got so tired of finding a good version in Seattle that I learned to make it myself. It is a bit of work, but worth it.

              1. re: fooey
                Finspot RE: fooey Apr 19, 2008 04:59 PM

                I'm waiting for someone to say the General isn't "authentic" enough at such and such place. Ha! Get the most Americanized version you can find--that's the true spirit of the General IMO. That little soapbox aside, I'd give Shanghai Garden a go (can't remember if it's the Orange Chicken or the Sesame). Judy Foo's probably has a decent General, been a while since I've been there, like years, but that's the sort of place that can be relied on for the Gen. Also try the related Manadarin Chicken at a little hole in the wall called something like Szechuan Cuisine on NW corner of 12th & Jackson. We've discussed this place before. Some of us (myself included) think it rules. I actually know it simply as The House because a bunch of us at work used to eat lunch there all time a while back, when the sign was virtually unreadable, so we just called it our "house lunch spot," or The House. Get the fried dumplings too.

                1. re: Finspot
                  phinious RE: Finspot Apr 19, 2008 10:54 PM

                  Honestly, when I read the original post, I had similar thoughts. General Tso's, for me, is a notch above chop suey and sweet and sour pork. In other words, it seems to be a very Americanized concept.

                  the term "authentic General Tso's Chicken" is a bit jarring to me. But what do I know?

                  1. re: phinious
                    terrier RE: phinious Apr 19, 2008 11:12 PM

                    Nobody raised the term "authentic" here.

                    This is purely an American dish, and so what? I can appreciate it for what it is, when it's done well.

                    I didn't even know Sichuanese Cuisine at 12th & Jackson did a "Mandarin Chicken," I might have to try it sometime if it's good.

                    1. re: terrier
                      Finspot RE: terrier Apr 19, 2008 11:18 PM

                      Terrier, I know the dreaded word hasn't arisen yet... figured I'd put a stake through its heart before it did.

                      I like the Gen. too for what it's worth. Try the Mandarin Chick. It's too sweet for some tastes, though.

                      1. re: Finspot
                        barleywino RE: Finspot Apr 20, 2008 12:24 PM

                        it's not a dish i ever order but when i'm in the by-the-ounce lunch buffet line at Taste of Asia (Century plaza food court, 3rd and Pike/pine), i sometimes take a couple pieces, it's not bad.

                      2. re: terrier
                        oliveoyl RE: terrier May 14, 2008 09:09 PM

                        THey do, I think it's called hot spicy mandarin chicken ... it is like crack... freakishly addictive

                        1. re: terrier
                          cbk21 RE: terrier May 20, 2008 01:30 PM

                          I was in Shanghai last year and had General Tso's at a place called Di Shui Dong ON Mao Ming road.

                          I was very good and better than what you can get here in the states. It was unbreaded and the sauce was spicy - not sweet at all. Chilis everywhere since that is the specialty of the Hunan region

                          The ribs, the prawns, the chicken and chilis, the spicy cabbage - everything we had was good and spicy. Ate there 3 times during my week there, and I would almost make the trip again just to eat there.

                          It is in the French Concession area and unlike the more mainstream areas the waittresses don't speak any English at all.


                        2. re: phinious
                          mrnelso RE: phinious May 15, 2008 06:36 PM

                          Some taster, some bright day, ate this dish and thought "this is tasty." It may be that said taster grew up in China, or maybe it was Seattle, but wherever it was, the resolution was - tasty. Surely, some breeds of purebread chowhounds may hold that no food may be adapted to local circumstance, owing to terroir and other considerations, but others are more cosmopolitan. To these forging ones, "authentic" amalgamates the realities of agri and other cultures of the place of origin with those in whatever happy location the delicacy in question finds itself. On with the chow...

                      3. re: fooey
                        landguy RE: fooey May 7, 2008 12:50 PM

                        Have to say, I went back to SC and had it again a few weeks ago and was disappointed this time. The sauce was fine but there was more breading than chicken and the flavor of the breading was gross.

                    2. e
                      elicia RE: fooey Apr 20, 2008 09:07 PM

                      take a look at the stuff the guys from the blog MSG150 have eaten

                      they're systematically eating their way thru the ID. General Tso's chicken is a guilty pleasure, but its always a guessing game to see what arrives at your table. at least, you'll be able to look at pictures from their blog! (even between the diners, they disagree on the same dish!)

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: elicia
                        adamb0mb RE: elicia May 7, 2008 12:07 PM

                        One of the guys (Al) on the MSG150 considers himself a General Tsao's connoisseur, so you watch for his reviews.

                        We just went to Ho Ho, and they had really good good General Tsao's... check out Al's review:

                        1. re: adamb0mb
                          landguy RE: adamb0mb May 7, 2008 12:49 PM

                          Bright red General Tso's is never a good sign imo.

                          1. re: landguy
                            elicia RE: landguy May 14, 2008 08:12 PM

                            i actually *like* the overprocessed colors of chinese-american food. i find that GTC is inconsistant, and that's just part of the fun ordering it. i recommend reading Jennifer 8. Lee's "Fortune Cookie Chronicles" for the lowdown on GTC..

                      2. landguy RE: fooey May 14, 2008 07:54 PM

                        Alert, Whole Foods has the General at least the one on Denny. It was actually ok compared to what I've had at Chinese Restaurants in Seattle. Mebbe a 4 or 5.

                        1. p
                          pusherman RE: fooey May 20, 2008 03:01 PM

                          The Taiwanese place in Wallingford I think called Rocking Wok does this deep fried salt & pepper chicken thing that's outstanding -- not a classic General, but pretty close and really good (also cheap).

                          I mean, really, it's fried chicken, how bad could it get?

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