General Tso's chicken has become a mainstay in North American Chinese restaurants. Reuters

Chef Peng Chang-Kuei passed away Wednesday due to pneumonia, but his greatest invention will certainly live on in Chinese restaurants across the country. For decades, General Tso’s chicken has been a mainstay in Chinese cuisine across North America. The delectable dish’s inventor lived until the ripe age of 98, according to Taiwan News.

Peng, who started his training as a chef when he was just 13 years old, originally hailed from Changsha in China’s Hunan Province and learned from chef Cao Jing-Chen, who served one of China’s prime ministers for two years in the 1920s.

In 1949, when Peng was just 21 years old, he fled China while it was engaged in a civil war and settled in Taiwan, but not before he started running banquets for the government. Just three years later, during a visit from U.S. Seventh Fleet commander Admiral Arthur W. Radford, Peng created his most famous dish on a whim. He reportedly told China Times in an interview that he had actually served the gamut of his best dishes and wanted to try something different. That’s when he decided to chop up large chunks of chicken and deep fry them. He found the right mix of spices for the sauce.

That became General Tso’s chicken, a name Peng said he came up with on the fly but was also in honor of one of China’s most famous military leaders – Tso Tsung T’ang - who was responsible for stop rebellions in the 1800s during the Qing Dynasty, according to Taiwan Times.

The dish didn't make its way stateside until 1973 when Peng opened a self-named restaurant on East 44th street. Dignitaries and politicians alike over at the nearby United Nations quickly caught wind of General Tso’s, according to NBC News.