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.

huiray

A Day at Panda Express

Recommended Posts

Thanks for sharing, it was a very good article.  We go to Panda Express occasionally, as fast food goes it's not bad although we prefer more traditional Chinese as long as we have the time.  One thing we do like about them is the quality of the food and the hospitality of the employees, something that the story certainly highlighted.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

huiray, thank you for posting that.

 

I used to enjoy Panda Express but with the revamped menu, a smaller menu, I lost items I like. What really surprised me on my last visit, the first after a remodel and the rolling out of the new menu, was that the quality of the Orange Chicken was poor. We left feeling like we may never go back. For now Pick up Stix  is getting our money.

 

The corporate flagship restaurant of any chain is expected to be top flight. Regarding the Pasadena store and the one near me, maybe Panda Express needs to have more "mystery diners."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

my friend bought me Panda Express for lunch one day and I ate it in the airport one time and someone brought it to work another all three times were from different places at different times ..….all three times I wish I had not eaten it the food I ate? The people were nice. It was hot when I got it …but honestly all three times .. it was all broccoli and snow peas in sweet salty sauce that changed colors for each dish but not flavors ..and actually it had  no fun contrasting flavors or textures at all … I could not get my lips off the faucet for the next 6 hours 

 

 

these places smell good when you walk buy and then the taste after the first starving few bites is just not good to me? I can not even imagine we are talking about the same places I have been in ? 

 

but after reading that ? I don't know maybe if the same friend offered …

 

thanks for posting I am going to send this to my friend who loves it and  swears it is just me being a bitch about chainfood

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

huiray,

 

That was a very interesting article that gave us outsiders a little insight into the hustle of the day-to-day delivery of Asian food from a popular fast food chain. We don't have a Panda in Cary, but there's one in the next town over, Apex. We have all sprawled together these days, and the traffic, Oy!

 

Do you like the food at Panda Express? I know from your dinner posts that you are most adept at preparing Asian food at home.

 

One reason I think Cary doesn't support a Panda is that we have numerous mom and pop Asian restaurants here, like Super Wok and Banana Leaf:

 

http://www.beyondmenu.com/39694/cary/super-wok-cary-27511.aspx?r=39694#group_1177004

 

http://www.beyondmenu.com/39263/cary/banana-leaf-cary-27511.aspx?r=39263

 

These are just two of the best (IMO) within walking distance of me, and they prepare a la minute to order, which I think is very important, especially for anything fried. I had lunch at Banana Leaf today, and they have the best crab rangoon I have ever had. I realize this is an Americanized dish, and theirs, like most is made with surimi, but WOW is it good! It also includes plenty of finely chopped scallions in the ample cream cheese filling. The wonton wrappers are thinner (possibly housemade) than any I can buy frozen. They come out screaming hot, exquisitely light and crispy, served with a small lettuce and fine spirals of carrot salad and a lovely, flavorful sauce with fresh garlic, a little red pepper, a little sweet, a little sour, lick up the last drop, kind of sauce. Just a delight for the palate and senses.

 

Here's a picture from Yelp of the dish:

 

http://s3-media3.fl.yelpcdn.com/bphoto/VVfoY4tvpE78OgnhoUO_bw/o.jpg

 

It takes absolutely nothing away from an obviously hardworking crew at Panda Express putting out pre-prepared Asian dishes to the masses, of course, but I would just like to know what you think of the chain if you've eaten there, with your qualified opinion. I might want to check out the Panda in Apex ... or not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

... a little insight into the hustle of the day-to-day delivery of Asian food from a popular fast food chain. 

 

Crepes, that was the main reason I posted the link. (Maybe the only real reason) It's interesting and informative to get a look at what goes on, at least at this particular place, which *is*, as Porthos commented, the flagship store for Panda Express. It's also a visual signal to pause and consider that a lot of folks do like chain American-Chinese food, it does serve a purpose for many folks, it can be decent, some folks do like it, and so on and so forth.**

 

As for whether I like the food at Panda Express (in general) or not, I'm not even sure if I have eaten their stuff - at least not within recent memory.

 

 

** (And also a reminder that in many ways one should remember that American-Chinese cuisine is a cuisine in its own right, which can be delicious (or not); and available in badly-prepared ways as well as excellently prepared ways¶¶ - as your further comments illustrate) Yes, I've eaten at other chain places and at take-out joints - and considered them for what they were --- not as necessarily bad places simply because they were not the epitome of the very bestest Chinese-Chinese cuisine.

 

¶¶ Just like for Chinese-Chinese food. :-) 


Edited by huiray (log)
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The wonton wrappers are thinner (possibly housemade) than any I can buy frozen. They come out screaming hot, exquisitely light and crispy, served with a small lettuce and fine spirals of carrot salad and a lovely, flavorful sauce with fresh garlic, a little red pepper, a little sweet, a little sour, lick up the last drop, kind of sauce. Just a delight for the palate and senses.

 

Here's a picture from Yelp of the dish:

 

http://s3-media3.fl.yelpcdn.com/bphoto/VVfoY4tvpE78OgnhoUO_bw/o.jpg

 

 

Crepes, I don't know what sort of wrappers you have available in the Chinese/Korean stores you shop at - but the Crab Rangoons in that Yelp picture look like they were made with wrappers no thinner ( or even thicker) than the one I would usually use when I make my wontons myself. A common brand I like is Twin Marquis brand Hong Kong style wonton wrappers (the square ones). I usually get the yellow ones - like this one.  There are many different types of wrappers of round or square shapes and flours and thicknesses - the smaller thicker round ones (usually white), for example, are frequently meant for making certain types of dumplings, or pot stickers, and such. Cantonese/Hong Kong type wontons are almost always made with very thin skinned wrappers. Shui Kow (even Hong Kong style) are often made with slightly thicker wrappers.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for posting the link, huiray, I enjoyed the article.  Interesting how they are doing this in a fast-food/fast casual setting.

 

Your point of this being a fast-food version of American-Chinese cuisine is well taken.  The immediate few blocks around this specific PE location isn't a hotbed of Chinese restaurants but overall, the San Gabriel Valley is home to many of the best Chinese restaurants this side of the Pacific.  If anyone were looking for Chinese food (and I don't think these patrons were), the only trouble would deciding which local place to visit.

 

I've never eaten at Panda Express and this makes me kind of curious about how a "flagship" location differs from the average store but if I find myself in the SGV at mealtime, I'll skip PE and head a mile or so to see what looks good along Garvey or Valley Blvd! 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  What really surprised me on my last visit, the first after a remodel and the rolling out of the new menu, was that the quality of the Orange Chicken was poor. We left feeling like we may never go back. For now Pick up Stix  is getting our money.

 

Huh? I wind up bringing home Panda maybe once every ten days as a simple way to have something I wouldn't be able to get otherwise for just myself. I don't confuse it with 'the real thing', but it's not that bad for what it is.

 

But.............. "new menu"????  Nothing's different down here in the OC and their website still shows the same entrees, though they do have a couple of items that change from time to time.  Is this different on their home turf?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×