Made to order at Panda Express

Made to order at Panda Express

by Ken Stewart
The Guam Food Guy

All you have to do is stand in line and watch the live action wok cooking in the kitchen. It’s bedazzling! The impression is fresh, immediate, hot and savory. They have managed to accentuate the most compelling attraction of Chinese cuisine by making these hot dishes in small batches and in some cases, a la carte – made to order.

How can you not point out to your server that you want “that” dish that just came out steaming hot? This is in contrast to the other fast food vendors whose food pans seemingly sit idle for long periods with little or no movement of food.

Panda Express has a menu of offerings that cover the bases when it comes to popular Chinese (for Americans and Westerners). Orange chicken, broccoli beef, honey walnut shrimp, chow mein, and their own creations like grilled teriyaki chicken, Shanghai Angus Steak, string bean chicken breast, Beijing beef, mushroom chicken, sweet fire chicken breast.

The side choices include mixed veggies, chow mein, fried rice, white steamed rice, and brown steamed rice. You can get any 2 entrees and 1 side for $7.99 and 3 entrees and 1 side for $9.49. No MSG is added to the food and for Premium entrees there is a slight upcharge (for Angus Steak and Walnut Shrimp).

My 3 – Entrée Plate ($9.49) had a split chow mein/mixed veggies side, Kung Pao Chicken, Sweetfire Chicken Breast, and Shanghai Angus Steak ($1.50 extra). Everything I had was generally palatable, and the beef was better than most since it was very tender and well-seasoned. I still prefer sitting down at traditional Chinese restaurants and sharing plates as they are delivered steaming hot.

These are my preferences, but I still have to admire the consistency and insistence on quality that Panda Express exemplifies. You can’t find fault with most of their ingredients. In some ways, their food seems “sanitized” in comparison to the Chinese food many of us are used to eating.

We don’t even have the opportunity to see it being cooked in most cases! You just can’t beat the convenience and price of fast food Chinese, especially when it’s Gourmet Chinese offered by Panda Express, now available as well at their second Guam location in the Agana Shopping Center.

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