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Feb 28, 2011 07:17 PM

Fast food chinese

As a recent LA transplant, I'm curious why there isn't a fast food Chinese chain in this city. I think something like Panda Express would work very well in this city -- there's certainly enough worse fast food chains here... Anyone have any ideas about this? I'm considering contacting that chain and looking into it. I live near the Flatiron, and the few "C" rated chinese takeout dumps I've eaten in makes me wonder why something like Panda - clean, tasty, inexpensive - similar to Chipotle - doesn't exist here...

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  1. There's Chinatown Express, on 7th Ave. across from Penn Station. I don't know whether it's part of a chain, but it sure looks like it.

    1. I'm pretty sure there's Wok 'n Roll on 1st Ave around 68th St and one down on Bleecker St.

      1. Probably real estate prices and 10,000 existing Chinese restaurants. No franchises available at Panda Express.
        But why you would want a PE when you could have a freshly prepared meal? I cannot say my experiences with PE have been very good.

        1. Well, turn the question around and ask what kind of Americanized Chinese restaurants do you see in New York that aren't present in Los Angeles? I think the answer is assembly line, cooked to order Chinese food prepared in five minutes or less, serving what is referred to in California and Florida as New York style Chinese food. I can think of two separate attributes at work. Perhaps New York is not receptive to steam table/heat lamp Chinese food as alluded to above. And perhaps Panda Express doesn't taste like "New York style" Chinese food. Panda Express is a screaming success in California and other places, so there must be a good reason why they haven't blanketed New York.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Chandavkl

            Every NYC neighborhood has their own Italian restaurant and local Chinese takeout shop serving up American-Chinese fare. Both Chinatown and Flushing have these steam table buffet (5 dishes, $4.50) joints as well.

            Heck, even these guys only lasted a couple of months in Chinatown - I thought there was a song about them too..."Everyone Wants Kung Fu Bing..." :)


            1. re: scoopG

              Probably an idea whose time will never come. Little Fuzhou was an odd location for someplace like that--Houston St. made more sense, but I guess that one closed, too.

          2. There's a Manchu Wok in the Rockefeller Center Concourse. It's virtually identical to Panda Express.

            Manchu Wok
            30 Rockefeller Plz, New York, NY 10112