Tong Cho Chicken vs General Tso Chicken

Which Chicken Dish Is The Best? Tong Cho vs General Tso

When it comes to Chinese take-out, who has the best version of chicken? General Tso, or Tong Cho? These two chicken dishes are so similar that they are often compared. But which one is better? Let’s compare the two and see which one reigns supreme.

In Chinese cuisine, there are different types of chicken. The first is called “Tong Cho.” This refers to any chicken that is stir-fried with a light sauce. The second type of chicken dish is “General Tso” chicken. This refers to any chicken stir-fried in a brown sauce made with Sichuan peppercorns. Read on to learn more about these two and which one is better.

What is Tong Cho?

Chicken dishes native to Sichuan, such as Sichuan peppercorn chicken, have been a favorite of Chinese for centuries. In fact, most of the popular Chinese dishes can be traced back to Sichuan, including Kung Pao, Orange Beef, and of course, General Tso’s chicken.

When most people think of Chinese take-out, they think of General Tso’s chicken, not Tong Cho. But what is Tong Cho, and what makes it so similar to General Tso’s chicken?

Tong Cho literally translates to “chicken with sauce.” The “Tong” in Tong Cho refers to a wide variety of sauces, while “cho” is the Cantonese word for stir-fry.

Typically, when people refer to “Tong Cho chicken,” they are referring to a light stir-fried chicken dish. It is often served with garlic, ginger, scallions, soy sauce, sesame oil and white rice.

Similar to General Tso’s chicken, the sauce for Tong Cho is created by sauteeing fermented chilies, garlic, ginger, and fermented black beans with star anise in oil.

What is General Tso?

When most people think of General Tso’s chicken, they think of the black bean sauce. This is because it is the most famous version of this Chinese dish, thanks to its popularity during Chinese-American immigration.

In fact, General Tso’s chicken is stir-fried in a bright red sauce made with tomatoes, vinegar, fermented red chilies, garlic, ginger and spices.

Which Chicken Dish Is Better?

Both Tong Cho and General Tso’s chicken are stir-fried chicken dishes. So, which one is better? According to experts, both dishes are considered to be healthy and nutritious. They both offer a good source of protein and are low in calories.

The only difference between these two chicken dishes is the sauce. Tong Cho is flavored with garlic, ginger, scallions, soy sauce, sesame oil, and white rice, while General Tso’s is spiced with fermented chili, garlic, ginger, and black pepper.

In terms of taste, both sauces are very similar. They both have a sweet and savory flavor profile, with a hint of spice.

Differences Between Tong Cho and General Tso

While both Tong Cho and General Tso’s chicken are stir-fried in a light sauce, there are a few differences between the two.

First, and most notably, Tong Cho isn’t used as often as General Tso’s. While both dishes are native to Sichuan, Tong Cho is more associated with Chinese-American cuisine.

Second, General Tso’s is often deep-fried, while Tong Cho is not. Deep-frying adds a lot of calories and fat to dishes, so it’s good to be aware of that when comparing the two.

And finally, General Tso’s is often served with white rice, while Tong Cho is eaten with a bowl of soup.


Both Tong Cho and General Tso’s chicken are stir-fried chicken dishes. They are both native to Sichuan, and they both have a similar flavor profile, with a hint of spiciness. The only difference between the two is in the sauce.

In the end, which one reigns supreme? The General. While Tong Cho is similar to General Tso’s in many ways, the General is still the king of Chinese stir-fries. If you’re looking for a healthier version of this classic stir-fry, you should probably stick with Tong Cho. But, if you’re looking for something with a lot more flavor, you should probably order General Tso’s.