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What Is The Difference Between “General Tso’s Chicken” And “Grandfather Chicken”? (The Distinction)

What Is The Difference Between “General Tso’s Chicken” And “Grandfather Chicken”? (The Distinction)

According to the data of 2018, chicken with 65.2 pounds per person was available to consume which was more than any other meat. Chicken is the most consumed meat around the globe due to its affordability, nutrition, and taste.

This poultry serves everyone whether a person is on a low carb or super carb diet with just a little alteration in the recipe. Since many of us are not perfect chefs, you may want a simple and quick chicken recipe. Additionally, making the same recipes can be boring, therefore many people keep looking for new ways to cook them. 

Tso’s chicken and grandfather chicken are such simple-lovely options. You probably wonder how they both differentiate, so here’s a quick answer.

Tso’s and Grandfather chicken are two names for the fried chicken covered with sauce. Interestingly, you can use these names interchangeably. 

Though cooking procedure and ingredients of the recipe vary depending on the region. 

In this article, I’ll discuss the history of Tso’s chicken. Also, I’ll compare this recipe with other chicken recipes. 

So, let’s dive into it… 


A misconception about general Tso’s chicken is that it originates from China which is incorrect. A Chinese chef, who opened a restaurant in New York, started selling this new chicken dish. 

There are different names associated with the dish. The reason why this dish became the best-seller item at that time was its crispy texture as well as the sweet and tangy flavor. Furthermore, it’s covered in the sauce which might be another reason behind it’s popularity.

Though the restaurant line failed in China because the Chinese found general Tso’s chicken too sweet. Therefore, it’s more famous in America than in China. 

Tso’s Chicken Vs. Grandfather Chicken

Tso’s chicken and grandfather chicken are different names for the same dish. Despite being a Chinese creation, this sweet-crispy chicken is a North-American dish. Since Chinese people have different taste preferences, you may find different tastes in Chinese restaurants than in American restaurants. 

Is Kung Pao chicken the same as General Tso’s?

Is Kung Pao chicken the same as General Tso’s?
Chinese Restaurant

No, kung pao chicken is different from general Tso’s chicken. The ingredients are quite similar, but the different cooking method is followed in both recipes. 

Another similarity between both the dishes is that they’ve both Chinese and American versions. Americans like their kung pao to be saucier than the Chinese. The texture of the Chinese version also differs from the American version as the Chinese use chicken thigh while Americans prefer chicken breast. 

Kung Pao Chicken General Tso’s 
Chicken shape Diced Diced 
Ingredients Zucchini is added Same ingredients except for zucchini 
Marination of chicken Marinated with less starch Marinated with more starch 
Chicken Stir fryDeep fried
Kung Pao Vs. General Tso’s
  • To make both the recipes, you need to cut chicken in dice shape.
  • The same sauce goes into both recipes.
  • To make the sauce, you need broth, soy sauce, sugar, wine (or beer), vinegar, starch, and oyster sauce.
  • When making kung pao chicken, you stir fry diced breast. While general Tso’s requires deep-fried chicken.
  • Green onion and sliced garlic are essentials of both dishes.
  • Zucchini is an exception in general Tso’s.

What is the correct pronunciation of “Tso” as in “General Tso’s chicken”?

The “t” in “Tso” is silent, therefore you’ll pronounce it as “so”. Since there are two, American and Chinese, versions of this dish, they’re known by different names in each country. General Tso is an American name, while in China, the dish is known as Zhuo Zon Tang Gee. Though it’s not a well-known and likable dish in China. 

General Tso’s chicken or orange chicken

General Tso's chicken or orange chicken
Orange Chicken

As it’s evident from the name, orange chicken contains the juiciness and sourness of oranges. The main difference between both chicken dishes is that red chilies make general Tso’s spicier than the orange one. 

With the addition of more sugar and the light use of red chilies, the orange chicken doesn’t only contain the juice but also the peels that make it sweeter. Though the cooking procedure is similar to some extent.


  • There’s no difference between Grandfather chicken and General Tso’s chicken. 
  • This version is an American perception of what Chinese food looks like. 
  • Many people know this dish as Chinese which isn’t the case. It’s purely an American invention. Though the chef who invented it was Chinese.
  • Tso’s that you find in China will be different in texture, color, and favor. 
  • This chicken is covered in the sauce because Americans like their food this way. 

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