General Tso's Chicken creator dies in Taiwan aged 98

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Chef Peng Chang-kuei pictured at his restaurant in Taiwan in 2008Image source, Chiang-Zhong Su
Image caption,
Mr Peng (pictured here in 2008) named his dish after a 19th Century general

The chef who created the much-loved Chinese dish General Tso's Chicken has died at the age of 98.

Peng Chang-kuei succumbed to pneumonia in Taipei, the capital of Taiwan.

Mr Peng's demise comes in the same week as that of Michael "Jim" Delligatti, father of the McDonald's Big Mac, who was also 98.

He leaves the world his sweet-but-spicy chicken recipe - named after a 19th Century military leader from China's Hunan province.

Mr Peng began his food training aged 13, and rose to become the banquet chef for China's Nationalist government.

In 1949, he fled to Taiwan when the Nationalist forces were defeated in the Chinese Civil War.

According to legend, General Tso's Chicken was named in 1952, when Mr Peng was cooking for a visiting US Navy Admiral, Arthur Radford.

Low on inspiration, he fried some chunks of chicken and added sauces and seasoning in a bid to create something new.

The admiral loved the result. When he asked the name of the dish, Mr Peng christened it on the spot: "General Tso's Chicken".

The real-life figure behind the name is Gen Zuo Zongtang - a revered 19th Century military man from Hunan.

Mr Peng moved to New York in 1973, and opened a Chinese restaurant. His fan base quickly grew, and reportedly included one Henry Kissinger, then US Secretary of State.

While General Tso's is best known as American Chinese food, its fame has seen some Hunanese chefs embrace the recipe.

Mr Peng ultimately returned to Taiwan, where he founded the successful chain eatery Peng's Garden Hunan Restaurant.