Panda Express

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mayor al
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2012/12/19 16:07:08 (permalink)

Panda Express

We often used Panda Express, both eat-in and take-out, to settle our Chinese (style) craving when we lived in SoCal.  While not the old-style sit-down Chinese restaurant of my youth, we found it to be quick, economical, and a big step-up from the usual 'Buffet' Chinese that have multiplied across the country.
  When we moved east, there were no Panda Express Stands anywhere near us, and as much as we could miss a 'now and then' fast-food stop, we missed our Panda Express stops for several years.  Last year we came across a Panda Express in Southport, near Indianapolis. We made it a point to stop there one time to get an update on the food served there.  It was a disaster...The place was dirty, the food served was NOT fresh ( I am being kind in my choice of words) and the servings were tiny compared to our previous experiences with this chain.  We left disappointed.
 
   Well recently a Panda Express has opened on our side of the River in the Louisville Metro area.  Today we gave it a shot at reclaiming the plus-side of FF Chinese banner.  It did quite well...The Honey-walnut Shrimp, Orange Chicken and Shangai-Angus Beef (Oriental Fajitas) with large boxes of Chow Mein and Fried Rice was plentiful, good-tasting, and still hot after a 20 mile ride home. Total $29.95.
My only gripe is that they do not have the BBQ Pork that has been one of my favorite Oriental entrees in the past. I will inquire about it being added in the near future.
 
So we are happy...a FF Take-Out Chinese place is something we will make use of.
AL
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30 Replies Related Threads

    MetroplexJim
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    Re:Panda Express 2012/12/19 19:45:26 (permalink)
    My opthamologist (we chat when he sticks a needle in my eye every 10 weeks or so) says he gets a 17% cash-on-cash return from his investments in local franchises of Panda Express. 
     
    Putting that together with your opinion of the food maybe I'll try them both for food and profit.
    #2
    ann peeples
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    Re:Panda Express 2012/12/20 20:28:42 (permalink)
    Sounds good, Al. We have a new place in West Allis that delivers( a huge plus for me) and its a one of a kind place. pretty happy with their pork egg fou yung, shrimp subgum,chicken fried rice and beef lo mein. My only complaint is i like crunchy noodles, specified that, and they sent all rice. I do not like rice.
    #3
    Adjudicator
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    Re:Panda Express 2012/12/21 16:25:43 (permalink)
    One recently opened in Tallahassee.  While the food looked good; there were many items in need of replentishing.  When I asked staff members just how long a wait that would be; they said at least 20 minutes, and this was at 3:30 PM on a Saturday.  I left with nothing.
    #4
    mar52
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    Re:Panda Express 2012/12/21 19:50:04 (permalink)
    I had a Panda Express on the corner of the street where my store was.  If you didn't hit the food when it was brought out it could have been sitting there for hours.
     
    I have a Panda Express across the highway from where I live.  It's always fresh and I enjoy it maybe four times a year.
     
    They also have an upscale, sit down location at Universal City.  If there I highly recommend it.
    #5
    iluvcfood
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    Re:Panda Express 2012/12/21 20:11:25 (permalink)
    Panda Express USED to be very good but I stopped going a long time ago!  Food was always either luke warm or dried up! 
    A shame too as we used to go almost every other week! 
    #6
    carolina bob
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    Re:Panda Express 2012/12/21 22:19:33 (permalink)
    I ate at the Panda Express on Cincinnati's west side the other day and was quite pleased with my meal. I really like the orange chicken and the Beijing beef, good fried rice too.
    #7
    CCinNJ
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    Re:Panda Express 2012/12/22 09:57:33 (permalink)
    We have a Panda Express at Newport Mall. It must be there for over 20 years.

    Americanized-Chinese food is wildly popular here and some of the best of the best can be found in the area. While at the mall...Panda Express is the busiest fast food/fast food option in a food court filled with so many other options like Popeye's - Taco Bell- BK- Nathan's/Arthur Treacher's - Arby's - Blimpie - Sbarro - two fast food sushi places - a popular local Indian fast food spot - and more I can't even remember.

    It's spotless and busy (very important when considering the menu of fried foods with some sweet sauces).

    The mall is right at the entrance of the Holland Tunnel and with the tax savings (3.5% sales tax no tax on clothing) vs. New York...there are crowds at all times. Never a thing out of place at that Panda Express in all these years.
    post edited by CCinNJ - 2012/12/22 10:03:40
    #8
    Antilope
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    Re:Panda Express 2012/12/25 12:51:02 (permalink)
    Love Panda Express. I've made copycat recipes for their Hot & Sour Soup, Fried Rice, Kung Pao Chicken, Lemon Chicken and Orange Chicken. I also made a P.F. Chang copycat Lettuce Wraps recipe.
    post edited by Antilope - 2012/12/25 12:53:43
    #9
    Antilope
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    Re:Panda Express 2012/12/30 16:45:47 (permalink)
    Panda Express Hot and Sour Soup

    This is a clear broth soup flavored with vinegar, white pepper, chili garlic sauce and sesame oil. It contains button mushrooms, sliced tofu and diced green onions.

    The Asian ingredients are available on the Asian foods aisle of many supermarkets.


    6 cups of chicken broth or vegetable broth
    6 Tbsp soy sauce
    3/4 cup button mushrooms, sliced (fresh or canned)
    2 tsp Chili Garlic Sauce 
    1/3 tsp ground white pepper
    3 Tbsp cornstarch and 3 tablespoons cold water
    1 egg, beaten
    6 oz firm tofu, diced into (2-in long x 1/4-in wide x 1/8-inch thick strips) 
    2 green onion stalks, diced (including green tops)
    1/3 cup distilled white vinegar
    3/4 tsp sesame oil

    Bring chicken broth to a simmer in a 3-quart saucepan.
    Add soy sauce, sliced button mushrooms, Chili Garlic Sauce and white pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes.

    Combine 3 Tbsp of cornstarch with 3 Tbsp of cold water in a cup. Stir until mixture is smooth.
    Add cornstarch mixture to hot soup and stir well. Simmer for 3 or 4 minutes until soup is thickened.

    Beat egg in a cup until yolk and white are combined. Pour beaten egg slowly, in a fine stream, into soup. 
    Stir soup slowly several times. Stop stirring and wait 30 seconds for egg to cook.

    Add tofu strips and green onions to soup. Stir well. Remove from heat.

    Add distilled white vinegar and sesame oil.
    Stir a few times and serve hot.

    Makes about 6 cups. Serves 4 to 6
    #10
    Antilope
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    Re:Panda Express 2012/12/30 16:46:30 (permalink)
    Easy Panda Express Spicy Orange Chicken

    Ingredients

    Spicy Orange Sauce: 
    1-1/2 cups cold water 
    1/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate 
    1 Tbsp orange zest 
    1/4 cup lemon juice 
    1/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar 
    3 Tbsp Soy sauce 
    1/2 tsp chili garlic sauce 
    1 cup brown sugar 
    1/2 tsp dried ground ginger 
    1/2 tsp garlic powder 
    1/8 to 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (to taste)
    3 Tbsp chopped green onions including green tops

    Sauce Thickener: 
    3 Tbsp cornstarch 
    3 Tbsp cold water

    Chicken:

    2 pounds cooked breaded chicken tenders - from frozen (prepare according 
    to package directions).

    Directions:

    Mix Orange Sauce ingredients in saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently.

    Mix 3 Tbsp Cornstarch and 3 Tbsp cold water in a cup. Stir well to remove 
    any lumps.

    Add cornstarch mixture to simmering Orange Sauce, stirring well.

    Simmer for about 5-minutes, stirring frequenty, until orange sauce 
    thickens.

    Prepare breaded chicken tenders according to package instructions.

    Serve Spicy Orange Sauce over cooked chicken tenders. Or serve along side
    as a dipping sauce.

    Makes about 3 cups of spicy orange sauce.
    #11
    Antilope
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    Re:Panda Express 2012/12/30 16:47:59 (permalink)
    Panda Express Eggplant Tofu

    2 tbsp olive oil
    1 (12 oz) package of firm tofu, cut into 1 inch chunks 
    2 tbsp sesame oil 
    1/2 medium size yellow or white onion, peeled and cut into small chunks 
    1 tsp minced garlic
    1/2 red bell pepper, seeds and stem removed, cut into chunks 
    2 or 3 small eggplants, stem removed, cut into 1/2-inch by 1-inch slices, with peel
    2 tbsp oyster sauce
    1 tsp chili garlic sauce
    a pinch of white pepper, or to taste
    1 tsp granulated sugar

    Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in skillet or wok, fry and stir tofu until golden brown
    on all sides, remove from pan and set aside until needed.

    Heat 2 tbsp sesame oil, saute onion, garlic and red bell pepper until fragrant.

    Add the oyster sauce, chili garlic sauce, white pepper, sugar and eggplant.
    Mix well and cover. Cook until eggplant is tender.

    Add back to pan the browned tofu, mix and let it warm through for another minute, uncovered.

    Serve while warm.
    #12
    Antilope
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    Re:Panda Express 2012/12/30 16:51:37 (permalink)
    Panda Express Fried Rice
    1 cup regular long grain Rice, uncooked 
    2 cups water
    2 eggs, beaten
    3 Tbsp butter, divided use
    1 cup frozen green peas and carrots, thawed
    2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
    1/4 tsp Sesame oil
    1/8 tsp ground white pepper, or to taste
    table salt to taste
    1 green onion, diced into pea sized bits, including green tops

    In a covered saucepan on the stove top, bring 2 cups of water to a
    boil. When the water reaches a full boil, stir in the rice. Stir to
    bottom of pan to make sure all rice is moistened and not sticking on
    the bottom of pan in lumps. Return water to a boil. Reduce heat to a very 
    low simmer, replace pan lid and cook for 20-minutes. After 20-minutes, 
    remove rice from saucepan and place in large bowl to cool. Makes about
    2 cups of cooked rice.

    Scramble eggs in skillet on stove top with 1 Tbsp of butter. After they 
    are cooked, chop the scrambled eggs into pea size bits with spatula.
    After the rice has cooled in bowl, stir in the chopped scrambled eggs, 
    and thawed peas and carrots. Toss lightly until mixed uniformly.

    Melt 2 Tbsp of butter over medium heat in a large skillet on the stove top.
    When the butter is melted and heated, add the rice mixture to the skilled.
    Mix the soy sauce with sesame oil in a cup and sprinkle evenly over rice
    mixture in skillet.
    Saute rice mixture for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring and turning frequently
    with a spatula.

    When done, season with ground white pepper and table salt to taste.
    Place in large serving bowl and garnish top with green onions.
    Serve warm.
     
    post edited by Antilope - 2012/12/30 18:28:16
    #13
    Antilope
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    Re:Panda Express 2012/12/30 16:52:35 (permalink)
    Chinese Restaurant Lemon Chicken

    2 lbs chicken breast, raw, boneless, cut into strips

    Marinade:
    2 Tbsp oyster sauce
    2 Tbsp cooking sherry (or chicken broth)
    2 Tbsp rice vinegar
    1/4 cup corn starch
    4 Tbsp cooking oil
    Mix oyster sauce, cooking sherry and rice vinegar.
    Marinate chicken in it for 1/2 hour
    Roll marinated chicken strips in cornstarch and saute
    in skillet using cooking oil, turning until golden brown.
    Make sure center of chicken is cook to at least 165-F.

    Lemon Sauce:
    1 cup chicken broth
    1/3 cup granulated white sugar
    1 Tbsp soy sauce
    2 Tbsp cornstarch
    1/3 cup lemon juice 
    1 tsp lemon zest
    1 tsp sesame oil
    dash ground white pepper
    Stir together Lemon Sauce ingredients and mixwell. 
    Simmer in  a saucepan over medium heat for about 3 or 4 minutes 
    until lemon sauce thickens and turns somewhat clear.

    Garnish:
    Lemon Slices
    bed of lettuce leaves
    Place cooked chicken strips on bed of lettuce leaves,
    pour lemon sauce over chicken and garnish with lemon slices.
     
    post edited by Antilope - 2012/12/30 18:29:16
    #14
    Antilope
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    Re:Panda Express 2012/12/30 18:07:24 (permalink)
    Chinese Style Steamed Pork Buns 

    This is one of my favorite recipes. All of the ingredients
    may not be strickly authentic, but this turns out really good
    and I think it tastes just like what you get at a Chinese restaurant.


    INGREDIENTS:

    Steamed Buns:
    1 1/2 cups warm water (95°F to 105°F)
    3 teaspoons active dry yeast (or 1 packet)
    3 tablespoons granulated white sugar
    4 cups all-purpose flour
    2 tablespoons cooking oil
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt

    Bun Filling:
    1 cup (about 8 ounces) shredded already cooked pulled pork or chicken (canned ok)
    1/2 cup barbeque sauce
    1 tablespoon soy sauce
    1 tablespoon cooking oil
    1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
    1 tablespoon teriyaki sauce
    1 teaspoon garlic chili sauce
    1/4 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
    1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

    DIRECTIONS:

    Steamed Buns:
    1. Stir yeast and 1 tablespoon of sugar into 1-1/2 cups of warm water (95°F to 105°F). Let stand for 15-minutes.

    2. Mix yeast water, 2 more tablespoons of sugar, flour, cooking oil, baking powder and salt in mixing bowl. Stir until dough forms.

    3. Knead dough for 10-minutes.

    4. Allow dough to rise in a warm place for 1-1/2 hours.

    5. Punch dough down and divide into 12 pieces.

    6. Roll each piece of dough into a ball, then flatten into a 6-inch circle.

    7. Place about 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of meat mixture in center of dough and pull dough up over filling and pinch seams closed to form filled bun.

    8. Place buns on individual 4-inch x 4-inch pieces of parchment paper.

    9. Allow to rise in warm place 1 hour, until doubled in size.

    10. Steam buns, in steamer, over boiling water for 20-minutes or use electric steamer.

    11. Remove from steamer. When cool enough to handle, remove parchment paper from bottom.

    12. Serve warm.

    Bun Filling:
    1. Place all ingredients in food processor.

    2. Process until ingredients are blended and chopped fine.

    3. Use 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of mixture per bun.

    Makes 12 steamed pork buns
    #15
    ChrisOC
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    Re:Panda Express 2012/12/30 18:18:47 (permalink)
    Antilope, thanks for the recipes.  I love good chinese food!
    Once when I was living alone I tried to do chinese with canned LaChoy chow mien. OMG 
    #16
    Antilope
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    Re:Panda Express 2012/12/30 18:26:54 (permalink)
    These are all recipes that I have made and tweaked to my liking, so they are all tried and true.
    #17
    Michael Hoffman
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    Re:Panda Express 2012/12/30 19:00:30 (permalink)
    ChrisOC

    Antilope, thanks for the recipes.  I love good chinese food!
    Once when I was living alone I tried to do chinese with canned LaChoy chow mien. OMG 


    Hey, I grew up on canned LaChoy chow mein.
    #18
    Antilope
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    Re:Panda Express 2012/12/30 20:22:51 (permalink)
    Yep. Mom use to buy the different Lachoy canned Chinese food. Then there were the Swanson frozen TV dinners. I really liked the Chinese one. The Mexican frozen TV dinners were bad, even as a kid I hated those. 
    #19
    ChrisOC
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    Re:Panda Express 2012/12/30 22:23:21 (permalink)
    Michael Hoffman

    ChrisOC

    Antilope, thanks for the recipes.  I love good chinese food!
    Once when I was living alone I tried to do chinese with canned LaChoy chow mien. OMG 


    Hey, I grew up on canned LaChoy chow mein.

     
    So did I.  Then I found out what real chinese tasted like.

    #20
    Lindalou21
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    Re:Panda Express 2013/01/14 08:21:36 (permalink)
    I never had Panda Express until I moved to Florida just here recently, and my experience was very enjoyable the food was very good and the employees were very nice. I didn't go in so I don't know how nice it was but it has to be better than the places back home they are always getting write ups that are criticals in the paper so I haven't had any chinese in along time that wasn't from the mall!  They just got a Panda Express in Springfield, MO which is 30 mins from where I lived I'm interested on how it'll do. 
    #21
    wanderingjew
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    Re:Panda Express 2013/01/15 08:30:20 (permalink)
    Growing up on Long Island with the best Chinese food in the country, I'm glad I never had to resort to Panda Express
    #22
    ann peeples
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    Re:Panda Express 2013/01/15 08:55:35 (permalink)
    I actually had some decent Chinese food the other day..egg foo yung is my yardstick of Chinese-small patties, gravy on the side. Fabulous! However, Panda Express is good, in a pinch!
    #23
    ken8038
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    Re:Panda Express 2013/01/16 09:02:21 (permalink)
    I'm not sure if I was even aware of Panda Express until I started following this thread. We have an excellent hole in the wall Chinese Takeout about a mile away in Plainfield, so that's our usual choice.
     
    But there really isn't a good fast eat-in Chinese option, so I checked the Panda Express website and Lo and Behold there's one just a couple miles away on US 22 in Springfield, which means I must have passed it at least 100 times and never noticed it. Now I'm intrigued.
     
    It's a lousy dreary day, raining and snowing.  I'm retired and won't get out of the house today  unless I have a destination in mind. I think I'll go there for lunch.
     
    Thanks for the suggestion.
     
    #24
    CCinNJ
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    Re:Panda Express 2013/01/16 09:10:10 (permalink)
    The menu is much much smaller than the local choice offerings and many of the choices cater to the sweet - sticky - spicy - side...with a few options of "with broccoli" but the one at Newport is fresh clean and served well.
    #25
    mayor al
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    Re:Panda Express 2013/01/16 10:55:24 (permalink)
    CC
    Yes the limited menu is quite different from the old 'sit-down' Chinese restaurants I recall in the 'pre-buffet' days.  I miss the One from Column A and two from Column B long menus of those days.
      Our local Panda Express has no pork on it's menu now...I really miss the BBQ Pork that always one of our choices on the multi-entree dinner plates....and You have to search the descriptions to find which 'Chicken' is the Spicy vs sweet/sour etc. But the take out dinner for four is a real bargain when the craving for that sort of menu hits you at about 4pm on a day that you really don't want to wait for anything !!!
    #26
    Ice Cream Man
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    Re:Panda Express 2013/01/16 11:52:44 (permalink)
    A Chinese restaurant with out Pork.
    I'd really like to hear the reasoning for that.
    #27
    ken8038
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    Re:Panda Express 2013/01/16 21:12:54 (permalink)
    Well, I had my lunch at Panda Expess today. Overall I give it pretty high marks. You certainly get a good amount of food for 7 or 8 dollars. I'm definately not in the sweet-sour-sticky camp, but I did find a couple of chicken dishes that were more on the spicy side.
     
    I did notice the lack of pork on the menu, but that didn't bother me much. What I did miss is the absence of any noodle dish at all. Lo Mein is always part of my Chinese meals.
     
    I wound up also getting a take out order for my son, and it seemed that my eat-in order had noticeably more food than his take out container. Not sure what's up with that. Anyway, he liked his order a lot (fried rice, spring rolls, some kind of shrimp dish).
     
    The place only recently opened, which explains why I never noticed it before. It was very clean, but since it's brand new I'm sure time will tell whether that holds up.
     
    Yep, I'd go back. Not bad at all. Thanks again.
     
    post edited by ken8038 - 2013/01/16 21:17:15
    #28
    love2bake
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    Re:Panda Express 2013/01/16 23:05:21 (permalink)
    Thank you for the recipes, Antilope!  I'm going to try the Orange Chicken. :)
    #29
    ces1948
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    Re:Panda Express 2013/01/17 00:26:38 (permalink)
    Unfortunately my experience with Panda Express has not been positive. There is one left in my area and there were more but they shutdown.
     
    #30
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