Sesame Chicken vs General Tso

General Tso's vs Sesame Chicken

Sesame chicken and General Tso’s chicken are two highly sought-after dishes in Chinese-American cuisine. Both dishes boast distinct flavor profiles, making them popular choices for those craving authentic Chinese fare. In this article, we’ll examine the differences between sesame chicken and General Tso’s chicken, including their history, ingredients, and flavor profiles.


Sesame chicken is a relatively recent addition to Chinese-American cuisine. It first emerged during the 1970s, when Chinese immigrants began adapting their recipes for American tastes. Legend has it that this dish originated in New York City and quickly gained widespread adoption throughout Chinese restaurants across America.

General Tso’s chicken has a more colorful past. Named after General Tso, a Chinese military leader who lived during the mid-19th century, this dish wasn’t even around then – it was created decades later in 1970s by chef Peng Chang-kuei as part of an experiment to appeal to American palates. Soon enough, General Tso’s Chicken became widely popularized across Chinese restaurants nationwide.


Sesame chicken and General Tso’s chicken both use similar ingredients, but there are some key distinctions. Sesame chicken features bite-sized pieces of chicken coated in a crispy batter before being deep-fried until golden brown. Then it’s tossed in a sauce made with soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey, ginger, garlic and sesame oil that has been garnished with toasted sesame seeds and thinly sliced green onions for flavor.

General Tso’s chicken, on the other hand, features deep-fried pieces of chicken coated in a zesty and slightly sweet sauce made with soy sauce, rice vinegar, hoisin sauce, chili paste, ginger, and garlic. Finally it’s garnished with sliced green onions and sesame seeds for extra flavor.

Sesame chicken’s sauce is one of its signature features – thick and sticky with sesame oil adding a nutty taste. Served over steamed white rice, this meal provides ample nourishment while leaving you feeling satisfied.

Flavor Profiles

Sesame chicken and General Tso’s chicken have very distinct flavor profiles. Sesame chicken is a sweet-savory dish with the subtle nutty taste of sesame oil. Although not usually spicy, the dish does contain some tartness from rice vinegar and sweetness from honey.

General Tso’s Chicken is a fiery and sweet dish. The chili paste in the sauce gives it an intense kick of heat that’s balanced out by sweet hoisin sauce. Plus, the dish has an earthy tang from rice vinegar as well as subtle notes of garlic and ginger.

Nutritional Comparison

Which one should you choose?

Sesame chicken or General Tso’s chicken: which do you prefer? For those who like it milder, sesame chicken is your ideal option. With its nutty flavor from sesame oil and sweet and tangy sauce, sesame chicken won’t burn your mouth too much. On the other hand, General Tso’s chicken packs more heat from chili paste but is balanced out by sweetness from hoisin sauce.

In conclusion, sesame chicken and General Tso’s chicken both make delicious dishes that will please any palate. Although they may seem similar at first glance, there are some distinct differences that will make a difference whether you prefer something milder or crave a bit more spice. Whichever option you opt for – sesame chicken or General Tso’s chicken -, both dishes will leave you satisfied.

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