Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Panda Express


Toliver
 Share

Recommended Posts

The Los Angeles Times featured an article on Andrew Cherng and his successful Panda Express chain.

Fans of chicken dark meat, here's your restaurant:

When other fast-food chains started to offer white-meat chicken nuggets and sandwiches in the late 1980s, Panda Express figured out what to do with the rest of the chicken. And it has paid off.

The chain started using boneless and skinless dark meat cooked in a light flour batter to hold the moisture. Then it drizzled on top an orange sauce that Panda executive chef Andy Kao described as "a little sweet, a little sour and a little spicy."

By 1991, it had become the chain's biggest seller. Now, 4 out of 10 people who walk into Panda Express include orange chicken in their orders. Panda Express sells 45 million pounds of orange chicken annually.

They started in a food court in a mall and have expanded into stand-alone restaurants. They now have 1,100 restaurants in 36 states in the United States.

It's a great success story and is now one of the largest family-run fast food chain in the United States.

Now go on and admit it, you've eaten there. :laugh:

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I love love love their hot and sour soup. Honestly, it is to die for. I keep on testing hot and sour soups from other restaurants (sit down chinese restaurants, mainly) and none of them stand up to Panda Expresses.

What is funny is that I am NOT a big fan of spicy food, but to me (and my timid spice tasting taste buds) this soup is spicy spicy spicy....but I love love love it none-the-less :) I love the long thin black things in it....are these a type of mushroom.....bean sprout type thing? Or what? They are soft-ish to the bite...yet at the same time have a little bit to them in the middle. MMMMM....

I go there just for this soup - I usually get 3 of 4 (oh come on now, they are small) so that I can eat two and save the other two for later (in the day, haha).\

Edited to fix my careless typing mistakes....due to (once again) my tendency to rush a bit too much :wink:

Edited by LindsayAnn (log)

"One Hundred Years From Now It Will Not Matter What My Bank Account Was, What Kind of House I lived in, or What Kind of Car I Drove, But the World May Be A Better Place Because I Was Important in the Life of A Child."

LIFES PHILOSOPHY: Love, Live, Laugh

hmmm - as it appears if you are eating good food with the ones you love you will be living life to its fullest, surely laughing and smiling throughout!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I love love love their hot and sour soup. I love the long thin black things in it....are these a type of mushroom.....bean sprout type thing? Or what?

LindsayAnn- I stood in the line at lunchtime today expressly to get the hot and sour soup for my son who has a bad sore throat and also loves their version. Finally got to the front of the line and was told "no more". I tried to clarify if they were just out or if it had been discontinued. There was a language barrier, but he insisted "no more, only egg drop". It was too crowded to spend more time getting a supervisor. Will check it out during off-hours. The long thin black things I believe are reconstituted tree ear mushroom.

ETA tree ear comment

Edited by heidih (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Monday was a sad, sad day here in Chicago. I was craving Panda's hot and sour soup - actually have been for over a week.

On Sunday I called the Panda location in the chicago loop (downtown, business district in chicago, east of Michigan Ave (where all the shoppers/tourists can be found)) - for that is the Panda location where I became addicted to the Hot and Sour (H&S to shorten it up, cause I am typing lazy today, haha). I completed graduate school in Education at National-Louis University on Adams and Michigan Ave (actually, the mailing address is Monroe Street, like anyone cares about that though!)...and right across the street from my school, on Adams, was a Panda Express. I got the Hot and Sour soup WHENEVER I had class, which was usually 3 days a week, sometimes 4!

So, like I was saying, called Panda Express on Sunday to see if the H&S soup was available - historically I would drive downtown (only 3 miles for me, but in Chicago, in the city, 3 mere miles can take (more often than not) 15 mins, each way!) and find out it was unavailable on Sunday! By calling this past Sunday, I saved myself a trip...because it was not available.

So I waited it out until Monday, and went downtown at 10AM (I know they serve food that early, and I had a craving, BADLY!). I walked in, all excited, and saw only Egg Drop Soup! WHAT!?!? I have never not seen Panda serving H&S soup on a weekday. I asked, "No H&S soup?", I was told "No, no H&S, only Egg Drop".

I questioned further "Always? Not always, right....." (I was hoping, praying, that it was just an issue of lack of supply, ingredients, or something like that).

"No, No more. Only Egg Drop. Always."

"What!", I cried. "Why? Why no H&S? I love that soup".

I was told "Lots of people no like H&S, too spicy". We no sell enough. Bad seller".

"But I liked it. No, no I loved it! How can this be? All Panda Expresses? Or just this location?", I questioned even further.

And I was told "All Chicago locations, I think. I think no H&S in Chicago, only Egg Drop".

I was so sad. Although I like egg drop soup (actually i am VERY fond of many Chinese soups, wonton included...), I didn't have the heart, will, or motivation to order anything else. If I couldn't get my hot and sour I didnt want anything. Not the Orange Chicken (which is also wonderful), not Lo Mein (which I crave about once a month, same timing always, wink-wink), not egg rolls...nothing.

I almost rang up one of the local Chinese delivery joints later that afternoon, to order H&S soup, Crab Wontons, Egg Rolls, Rib Appetizer, AND Lo Mein (just to eat gluttonously and sob in my misery over my Panda Express inquiry....) - but I didn't.

Obviously I am now very very angry at Chicago (the people who reside here)....THEY are at fault for Panda Express not carrying my soup anymore. You people have bad taste! H&S soup too spicy? What are you thinking? Look what you have done to me!

Note: Many of the irrational comments in this post, especially the last paragraph in full, are meant in total sarcastic exaggeration. I am only kidding here so please, Chicagoans, don't throw stones my way ;0)

"One Hundred Years From Now It Will Not Matter What My Bank Account Was, What Kind of House I lived in, or What Kind of Car I Drove, But the World May Be A Better Place Because I Was Important in the Life of A Child."

LIFES PHILOSOPHY: Love, Live, Laugh

hmmm - as it appears if you are eating good food with the ones you love you will be living life to its fullest, surely laughing and smiling throughout!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

...So I waited it out until Monday, and went downtown at 10AM (I know they serve food that early, and I had a craving, BADLY!). I walked in, all excited, and saw only Egg Drop Soup! WHAT!?!? I have never not seen Panda serving H&S soup on a weekday. I asked, "No H&S soup?", I was told "No, no H&S, only Egg Drop".

I questioned further "Always? Not always, right....." (I was hoping, praying, that it was just an issue of lack of supply, ingredients, or something like that).

"No, No more. Only Egg Drop. Always."

I feel your pain.

You can always contact the corporate office through their website: Panda Express

edited to add: When I spoke with my mom this past weekend she told me she had stopped at a Panda Express and brought home her dinner. I asked "Did you get the Orange Chicken?"

She replied "Always!"

Edited by Toliver (log)

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is not just Chicago- I am in the Los Angeles area which is a major consumer of spicy foods from all cuisines. I went back and I was told they had revamped the menu and the egg drop was the only soup left. As far as the revamped menu, the only change I saw were some kiddie meals, and renaming the combos from "2 item" or "3 item" which meant that number of entree selections plus rice or chow mein or 1/2 & 1/2 to "2 or 3 item plus 1 side" The sides are the same fried rice, steamed rice, chow mein PLUS the steamed veggies are now a side. A concession to health consciousness? I wonder if the older contingent is afraid of the designation "hot". In reality it is more vinegary and slightly peppery versus the bland dishwater taste of the egg drop. Wish they had done a push of "free soup sample" to maybe break that mental barrier for the gray set before banishing a decent product! My son is in mourning with you. To make matters worse, the Chinese restaurant that had been around for years where he and his friends would stop by just for hot and sour soup has closed and been replaced by a Trader Joes (like there isn't one within 20 minutes of everywhere in LA already)...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wonder if the older contingent is afraid of the designation "hot".

[...]

Wish they had done a push of "free soup sample" to maybe break that mental barrier for the gray set before banishing a decent product!

Actually, speaking as a proud member of the "older contingent" and the "gray set," I strongly doubt we're the problem. It's probably more the unadventuresome younger contingent raised on the familiar taste of fast food and that ol' cottony white bread and Kraft singles and the pedestrian flavors of chain restaurants that didn't like the vinegary and spicy taste of hot and sour soup, my personal favorite.

ETA: And I doubt that the "gray set" makes up a large enough percentage of their customer base to affect their menu choices. Next time you're in the mall at the food court, why don't you estimate the average age of the consumers lining up for pizza and burgers and ginormous chocolate chip cookies and subs and orange chicken and get back with me?

Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm no kid. I was speaking from my observations regarding purchases. The teens in my purview are going for the spicier stuff overall and yes are part of the millions of pounds of orange chicken that Panda sells. My local Pandas see alot of traffic from seniors who do not cook any more. I am talking the 70's plus. I know that studies show our taste buds get jaded with age and the hot and sour soup would probably appeal to an older crowd. My point was that the terminology "hot and sour" might scare them off. Anyway- this is not the thread for such a discussion.

I wonder if the older contingent is afraid of the designation "hot".

[...]

Wish they had done a push of "free soup sample" to maybe break that mental barrier for the gray set before banishing a decent product!

Actually, speaking as a proud member of the "older contingent" and the "gray set," I strongly doubt we're the problem. It's probably more the unadventuresome younger contingent raised on the familiar taste of fast food and that ol' cottony white bread and Kraft singles and the pedestrian flavors of chain restaurants that didn't like the vinegary and spicy taste of hot and sour soup, my personal favorite.

ETA: And I doubt that the "gray set" makes up a large enough percentage of their customer base to affect their menu choices. Next time you're in the mall at the food court, why don't you estimate the average age of the consumers lining up for pizza and burgers and ginormous chocolate chip cookies and subs and orange chicken and get back with me?

Edited by heidih (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh dear. My Panda Express addiction is the eggplant dish. It was better before they added the tofu some years back, but its still worth going out of my way for. Except... I havent been out of my way for a couple months (summer schedule), and now I'm afraid its gone forever.

I think I'm gonna have to make a PE run this weekend, and find out. That damn orange chicken ... its so good. So is the stringbean chicken. That used to be my cat's favorite.

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Gee, I thought this forum was about respecting the food choices of others. Why would anyone care if there are those who like Panda Express to the point of belittling their choices? I've never had Panda Express. I might hate their food or love it, but I suspect it might be somewhere in between. Believe me, the Washington DC Metro area has lots of very bad representations of Chinese and/or Chinese American food.

Thanks Toliver for this great family success story. Their story is very similar to a very recent local story celebrating the FIFTY YEAR SUCCESS of a restaurant called Ben's Chili Bowl. How many restaurants can say that? Yet there were some who took great glee in bashing the quality of their chili, their half smokes, whatever. I was not one of those people.

If you like the food, fine. If you don't and don't/won't let it pass your more sophisticated lips, fine too. But really, absolutely no need to be condescending to those here who don't share your tastes or perhaps don't have the access (because of where they live) or the money to avail themselves of more "authentic" Chinese cuisine.

Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you like the food, fine. If you don't and don't/won't let it pass your more sophisticated lips, fine too. But really, absolutely no need to be condescending to those here who don't share your tastes or perhaps don't have the access (because of where they live) or the money to avail themselves of more "authentic" Chinese cuisine.

Especially since this is the "Ready to Eat" (aka Fast Food) Forum. Pointing out that Panda Express doesn't serve authentic chinese food probably won't surprise anyone... :huh:

Their Orange Chicken is still very tasty, in a slightly greasy fast food way.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...