Foodie Film: The Search for General Tso

The iconic dish gets the cinematic treatment (there are eats, too).

What's the last dish you ate at the movies? Popcorn, probably? Something coated in a layer of chocolate and caramel? Maybe little animal-shaped candies that are chewy and flavored with fruit?

How about General Tso's Chicken? The savory yet sweet and oh-so-deliciously deep-fried staple of Chinese food menus across the country was probably not the most recent thing you snacked upon while at a cinema, but that could change, on Sunday, Jan. 4, if you join other General Tso mavens for an afternoon celebrating the history and allure of one iconic entree.

Arena Cinema in Hollywood is presenting a week-long run of "The Search for General Tso," a documentary exploring the dish's origins and wide-reach around the United States. Fans, cooks, and foodie scholars all weigh in on the chicken-y favorite, an entry you're likely to find at most every Chinese restaurant in America.

Are your taste buds salivating at thoughts of Arbol chiles, piquant sauces, and all of that bumpy bready coating that lends the dish is soft-bite spectacularness? Get your tickets for the 5:10 p.m. screening on Jan. 4, a screening that will feature a Q&A with Jennifer Lee, the film's producer, Evan Kleinman of KCRW's Good Food, and Zach Brooks of Midtown Lunch.

Plus? Your ticket nabs you some General Tso's Chicken in the cinema's courtyard, and a beverage. How often do we watch a food-focused documentary to only then snack upon the foodstuff we've admired on the big screen?

Answer: Never often enough.

Tickets are $15, and that price includes movie and the meal. The only thing left to do, as you chomp down among other Tso buffs, is to discuss the parts of the dish you obsess over the most. The scallions, the sauce, the garlic, the sesame seeds, the succulent chicken...

Truly, few iconic entrees can stake a claim on such culinary greatness: The ability of the eater to single out a half dozen great things that go into the dish.

General Tso, you're a savory-sweet star.

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