“Chickity China, the Chinese Chicken…” – One Week by BareNaked Ladies
General Tso’s Chicken – a dish named after General Tso Tsung-tang (or Zuo Zongtang), a Qing Dynasty general from Hunan province, is typically sweet, slightly spicy, deep-fried chunks of chicken. Sweet and savory flavor combos in the same dish isn’t really something that’s done in Hunan province, so it’s highly unlikely General Tso ever had one bite of this chicken. Yep, it’s very much an Americanized dish.
The documentary “The Search for General Tso” explores the origins of Chinese-American food and is available on Netflix. I highly recommend it. But enough of the history lesson, on to the countdown…
#3 – Yee’s Oriental Inn, 5034 6th Avenue, Kenosha – $10.50/quart
I know this is a Kenosha favorite, and I don’t want a mob gathering on my front lawn with pitchforks and torches so, PLEASE, hear me out. I liked the flavors in the dish. In fact, I liked all three of the GTCs from the places we went. In the end, what it came down to for me were the smaller things. The Oriental Inn used chicken breast; I really like that. There seemed to be a lot of breading that fell off the chicken before it was fried leaving the meat almost jerky-like in spots; I did not enjoy that. The heat usually comes from red chili peppers. But Oriental Inn used jalapeños. I found that to be… well… odd. Is there a chili pepper shortage? I Googled it (seriously) and didn’t find anything. And the broccoli seemed somewhat limp, as if it was frozen and reheated instead of fresh and steamed. It’s possible I caught them on a bad day, so I’ll give them another shot in the near future.
Anyway, on to #2 – Tony Chen’s, 4700 Washington Ave, Racine – $9.95/quart
Like I said above, overall, I liked the GTC from Tony Chen’s. Sweet and spicy, neither of which was too overpowering. The broccoli still had some crunch to it as well, so that’s good. The chicken had more breading on it here then the other places we visited, and it seemed to be a mixture of both white and dark meat. I’m ok with that, but when I bit into a piece of gristle, I was done. I just cannot do gristle – once I bite into it, I’m always fearful that it’s going to happen again, and my gag reflex just won’t allow me to go any further.
Our favorite place for GTC……..
#1 – J.J. Chen’s, 10722 W Oklahoma Ave, West Allis – $9.75/quart
Crispy chicken, an actual crunch when I bite into it – CHECK. Bright green, crunchy, freshly steamed broccoli – CHECK. And this was the only location where I was asked if I wanted my GTC mild, medium or spicy. The servers were very friendly, and the dish was delicious.
You’re going to get a tasty meal at all three of these locations, I’m just most excited about my next trip to J.J. Chen’s.
Do you have a favorite place for GTC that we missed? Let us know.