It took quite a while, but I finally got around to seeing if Panda Express was worth any sort of hype. Actually I went once before, but they were out of their ballyhooed Orange Chicken, so I left.I will keep this exceedingly short, because DerryX already wrote my review. It’s basically mall food court food. Not much better, certainly not worse. If that’s what you want, fine. If you can’t wait “5, 10 minute” for an order at your local Chinese food counter shop, fine.
I nearly walked back out when I went in, I started choking and coughing and tearing up. A couple with a baby came in after me and said it was like they sprayed chili oil in the air, it was pretty bad. They actually walked back out, I think they were concerned about the baby, probably rightly so, it was pretty irritating to the senses. Anyway, I went for a takeout order of Orange Chicken and Beijing Beef with the fried rice.
It certainly didn’t look bad at all…heavily sauced mall food court food. Lots of red pepper with the beef, which is probably what made me pick that as my second item. The rice looked pretty good.
The rice was just too firm and chewy for a fried rice. I didn’t eat most of it, which is a shame given the vast quantity of it in the order. Fried rice from Chinese takeout isn’t supposed to be that chewy.
The Orange Chicken was perfectly fine. Just fine. That’s all, just fine. It was still nice and crisp despite the time between leaving the store and getting home to try it, no mean feat given the heavy saucing. Nice flavor. Fine.
The Beijing Beef was actually quite good and worth getting again should I find myself there for some unlikely reason. It was also crispy and did have plenty of very tasty red pepper and onion. I was, however, NOT a fan of all the pepper seeds. Hard and constantly having to be spit out.
The two items left a nice, lingering tingle of warmth.
It was all fine. Nothing to get excited about, nothing to drive out of town. If you want some average American Chinese food fast and you’re not at the mall, why not? I can easily see teens stopped here and scarfing down if they’re sick of Taco Bell or wherever the kids are into these days. And at least it’s not another burger restaurant…although it probably will be eventually.
All your restaurants are belong to burger.
If it’s convenient and you’re not too picky, it’s fine, sure, stop in. If you want higher quality or more authenticity, and have more time, there are plenty of decent places around.