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I'm Ashamed (Addicted to Panda Express)

I know it's cliché, but I could swear they put crack in their food. They opened one where I work part time about two months ago. And now, I can't stop eating there. Orange Chicken and Chow Mein. That spicy (but not really spicy) Beijing Beef. Mandarin Chicken. I can't stop.

Please help.

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  1. yeah, I know...
    they've got a Panda Express in the food court at the Atlantic City casino I work at...
    it hits the spot for me sometimes!!

    1. Ha! I alsol have a thing for Panda Express. There's one on my way home from work and I always dismissed it. I stopped in one evening when I was dead tired and hadn't planned anything for dinner. Now it's my go-to place for food court Chinese-definitely hits the spot!

      1. I live in the San Gabriel Valley area of Southern California which is the center of Chinese food outside of Hong Kong/China and I tell you, I'd rather eat at Panda than 95% of the Chinese restaurants in the area. I think too many people equate weird, strange food with being good food but to me that isn't the case. I like stuff that tastes good. I know Panda isn't all that healthy for you but I like it!

        1. It IS crack - salt, fat and sugar.

          1. don't be ashamed, panda is delicious! the tofu and eggplant is one of my favorite dishes.

            also - i know most people like it b/c it's unhealthy -- but you can skip the rice/chow mein and replace it with vegetables to lighten up a little. white rice is also an option.

            1 Reply
            1. re: bu dat

              Oh I agree the tofu eggplant is my favorite. I get a combo with the tofu eggplant and chowmein. skip the rice as I can make that at home

            2. It's good, cheap and fast food. It is also very oily, very salty, and very sweet. It's not crack, but it's the legal equivalent. Whenever I get the craving, I walk by and notice how long the food's been sitting under the lamps. I just feel bad for the people who walk up and get all the servings that have been sitting, rather than servings from the fresh batch!

              3 Replies
              1. re: NewDude

                Sometimes, depending on the severity of the craving coupled with the urgency of my hunger (not to mention, the flexibility of my free time at work), I'll wait or ask for a fresh batch. Only takes a few minutes and they're typically pretty nice about it. The manager knows me by name now - that's how often I go.

                1. re: kkachurak

                  Interesting, how some/most folks prefer the fresh just-out-of-the-sizzling -wok batches. I actually prefer the 'last dregs' of the older batches! For example, the older-and-dried-out batch of orange chicken has a sort-of crust to it that i favor -- chewier, and even though moist due to the sauce, there's almost a crispy-soggy-crunch texture that plays against the softness of the accompanying rice. The fresher batches taste too bloated and plump/puffy, like what one imagines stir-fried/dipped-and-battered human might approximate (sorry!). The older/dregs batches are also usually darker/richer in color, as if the heating unit /water bath below the pans have reduced the sauce into a matured 'syrup'. Dregs all the way for me!

                  1. re: silence9

                    My initial reaction to your first sentence was disgust, but you have thoroughly justified your claim. I'll give this a shot next time.

              2. Yeah, no shame in being picky. I always wait for the fresh pie coming out of the oven at Costco. And I am VERY picky about getting the biggest slice too!

                1. I had some of my first Chinese food at a Panda Express and fell in love. i culd even afford it on my modest student budget. These days, I prefer food made at real Chinese restaurants, and have learned to make some of my favorite dishes. There will always be a soft place in my belly for Panda.

                  1. Actually, Chinese food isn't actually Chinese food. It's American food. Much, much more meat, a lot fewer vegetables. Extremely heavily salted as well. And Americans favor the greased up noodle carbs and fried rice rather than white rice.

                    That's why Panda is crack level addictive: deep fried, heavily salted with a generous dollop of sugary goodness, with a side of soysauce, please.

                    And the price is fantastic. Ick. Mmmm. Ick. Mmm. Ick...

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: NewDude

                      Just look upon it as nouveau Chinese cuisine. ; )

                    2. Nah, don't be ashamed of your addiction, although the "Chains" board does seem to be full of people who do nothing but post about how horrible this or that chain restaurant is. Sort of makes one wonder why they visit webpages and have lengthy conversations about something they purport to hate so much....????

                      (BTW, bejing beef is the best stuff there)

                      3 Replies
                        1. re: wabbitslayer

                          This ongoing thread might interest you all. It's directly related to wabbitslayer's post.


                        2. I looked down my nose at it for years, but that was before trying it. Compared to the supermarket chinese "hot woks" and a dearth of Chinese restaurants in my neighborhood I must admit I like Panda Express. They make relatively small batches of food at a time which I really think is key compared to the supermarket. I like the eggplant and tofu too and as a rice bowl it is better than going to restaurant where the portion is too large and leftovers are so so.

                          1. I like Panda Express. Unfortunatley, I've nicknamed it "Digestion Express." Maybe I've said too much.

                            1. The only NYC Panda Express I'm aware of is at JFK Airport, Terminal 4... And it appears to be after security. Shame, I want to give it a try.