Surprising Origins of Famous Foods
Many foreign foods have been adopted by outside cultures around the world. But once flavors mix to create new dishes, it can be hard to determine who really invented them.
In America, General Tso's chicken is a popular fried dish in Chinese restaurants. It's famous for its sweet, sticky sauce. Although General Tso was from Hunan, the chicken that bears his name isn't famous there. Peng Chang-kuei, a Hunanese chef, invented the dish after he moved to Taiwan. Restaurant owners from New York tried Peng's dish in Taipei and then re-created it in the United States with a sweeter flavor.
Fortune cookies come at the end of the meal at American Chinese restaurants. They are simple, crunchy sweets with a paper fortune inside. Few people realize that the cookies have origins in Japan. In fact, a few families in Kyoto have been making similar treats by hand since the 19th century. From Japanese-owned Chinese restaurants in San Francisco, the cookies spread throughout America. However, they are still hard to find in China.