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Dec 2, 2008 12:46 PM

ISO Orange Chicken NOT Panda Express

I was recently asked where the best orange chicken was for someone who has never liked it, but was hoping the best dish preparation will change his tastes. Has anyone ever encountered orange chicken that wowed them? Anywhere from LA to SGV will do!

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  1. I personally like the versions at Tasty Garden (Alhambra or Arcadia), less heavy batter and lighter, less sweet orange sauce.


    1. If they like it crispy with lots of batter, the General Tso's chicken at Chang's is the best. If they like it with less batter and a lighter sauce, Little Hong Kong on Sawtelle. Keep in mind, however, that this is from someone who unashamedly loves Panda Express orange chicken.

      7 Replies
      1. re: a_and_w

        do you mean chang's garden in arcadia, near din tai fung?

        1. re: kevin

          i'm so westside-centric that i assumed he meant chang's in brentwood on san vicente.

          1. re: nosh

            Chang's in Brentwood. Honestly, I don't see the point of schlepping out to the SGV for something so thoroughly Americanized.

            1. re: a_and_w

              well, if i'm already at chang's garden in arcadia, with a bunch of people it can't hurt to add an orange chicken, to the orders of tea smoked duck, yellow chives with sauteed eel, seawood-fried whitefish, and tea shrimp, etc.

              1. re: kevin

                i really dont understand whats the big hype about Chang's Garden. It was one of the worst Chinese food I've had in a while. No comparison to its neighbor, May Mei or even better for Shanghainese dishes. HK Cafe on baldwin and las tunas

                1. re: AndyGanil

                  If you order right, Chang's Garden can be pretty good. Just stay away from the more cutting-edge, fusion-y stuff. Stick to the basics (eggplant, eel, spareribs, etc.) and you can get a very good meal.

                  Is it a destination joint? By golly, no.

                  The big hype? Chalk it up to the NYT Travel article on Chang's as well as some (rather undeserved) fawning by our very own JGold.

        2. re: a_and_w

          i still sort of like panda express's orange chicken but why do so many people like it???

          i did once try the orange chicken at cheesecake factory and it was dreadful.

          i guess panda just does one thing right even though it is compltely junk food.

        3. I only order Orange Chicken when I eat at Mandarette on Beverly. I love it for both its crispiness and fresh taste.

          1. Most orange chicken is gross as most resto's use dark meat chicken, full of gristle and other unidentified chicken parts. Also, the sauce can be really fakely sweet tasting.

            I love, love, love the orange chicken at Bamboo Forest, in Sherman Oaks on Burbank near Kester.

            They use boneless, gristle-less delish white meat chicken and a sauce that is made from real oranges (imagine that!), not too sweet with just the right amount of tang.

            You'll find some of the best Americanized chinese food food at this small place. Seems as thought it's relatively unknown to CH'ers, as I've posted about this place many times without a reply. Trust me, check it out you won't regret it!

            They also make great Moo Shu and most every dish I've tried there has been top notch.

            1 Reply
            1. re: GK in SO

              Your first paragraph pretty much summed up my feelings towards orange chicken. I'll look into Bamboo Forest and get back to you.

            2. To my surprise, I recently discovered that Pick Up Stix actually has good orange chicken. Very large chunks of all white meat, very crispy, light batter and juicy. The sauce is not sickeningly sweet but is full of fresh orange slices. The only this to watch out for are the spicy whole chilies. Mine was full of them! Ofcourse you can always request that it be made without the chilies if you prefer a more mild version like myself. Chin Chin also used to have a really good orange chicken, but this was way back in the '90s. Good luck!