At Panda Express, you have great chicken dishes, along with Beijing Beef and Steak and Shrimp. Then you have tasty side dishes to go with your main dish. All in all, it’s hard to make a mistake here when it comes to tasty items, as long as you stick to the classics.
The problem comes when you try to broaden your horizons and you try out the other menu items. That’s always a gamble, and with gambling, sometimes you just lose. And you will definitely lose if you order the following items off the Panda Express menu.
No one’s saying that fast-food joints are havens for health-conscious diners. That’s especially true for Panda Express, as their most popular options such as the Orange Chicken aren’t all that for your health. you just a lot of calories and sodium to deal with. So, it’s understandable if you might want to assuage your conscience by ordering Super Greens to go with your Orange Chicken or Beijing Beef.
Here you have cabbage and broccoli, with just a bit of kale. Okay, this is a low-calorie option, and it doesn’t have a lot of carbs, either. And it also packs quite an amount of fiber, which gives you that sated feeling that keeps you from getting snacks soon afterward.
But it’s just boring. It’s super-boring, to be more accurate. And it may not be all that healthy for you either, not with that sodium content. All in all, this is one item off the Panda Express menu that you shouldn’t order, whether for the taste or for your health.
Kung Pao Chicken
This is one of the staples in plenty of American Chinese restaurants. Kung Pao Chicken is quite popular due to its spiciness, usually due to the presence of red chili peppers. You also get some fresh veggies like bell peppers and zucchini, so you can appease your nutritionist.
But this isn’t as spicy as you might expect. That’s probably because of the relative lack red chili peppers. That made the whole another boring choice. And that’s not what you want when you go into a fast-food joint, especially at Panda Express where there are lots of interesting options.
Honey Sesame Chicken
Panda Express has a lot of chicken dishes on its menu (view here). They’re generally good, but some are definitely better than others. Most of them are better than this Honey Sesame Chicken.
That actually comes as a surprise, especially when you read about the ingredients. You’re supposed to get crisp yellow bell peppers, string beans, sesame seeds, and honey. That sounds delicious.
But the yellow bell peppers weren’t really all that crispy. We had a hard time identifying the string beans, as the green beans were just so overcooked that they turned out withered. The thick breading was unpleasant and pasty, and the chicken pieces were rather small.
With the “Sesame” right on the name, you’d also think that this would have plenty of sesame seeds. But there were maybe 1 or 2 untoasted sesame seeds in the sweet and mild sauce, and that’s that. This is seriously disappointing.
Okay, so we like mushrooms, and adding them to chicken seems like a promising combo. Here, the mushrooms are quite plump, providing some extra texture to the dish along with some umami. But these mushrooms were just okay. There was nothing exceptional there.
Then you have the zucchini, which is the other vegetable component of this item. It was overcooked. That was worse.
You’ll notice these things because there’s nothing going on here. You have the ginger soy sauce, and that’s that. This would have been better with some green onions or cashews to make the dish more interesting.
This might work if you get some brown rice to go along with it. You’ll then get some extra texture to keep you from getting bored. But all in all, it’s again another boring option.
String Bean Chicken
This is one item that your nutritionist might not scold you for, since it only has 190 calories. But your taste buds will object, as this is not what fast-food deliciousness is all about. If you were only concerned about eating healthy food, you’re better off at home.
Here, they sliced off the chicken in unpleasantly uneven bits. The sauce was bland (more like blah), and while the Panda express website mentioned the presence of ginger, there wasn’t enough of it to merit the mention.
The beans did look great with their bright green color, and the same goes for the onions. But the proof is in the taste, and they weren’t all that crispy.
This isn’t really bad, but it’s not really good. And “not really good” isn’t something you should aim for when you’re at Panda Express.