Happy New Year! Even though it’s a new year, I still have a lot more content to share with you all from LA trip. Similar to In-N-Out, this was another popular fast food chain that my sister and I wanted to try, specifically one special item that was newly introduced. The place is Panda Express, and the item is the “Beyond™ The Original Orange Chicken™” (simply referred to as Beyond Orange Chicken) which is an exclusive collaboration between Panda Express & Beyond Meat! There is only 10 Panda Express locations in Canada & only 2 in the province, which don’t offer the Beyond Orange Chicken. Therefore, it felt like a good decision to try it out for myself while in LA while also reviewing the other (limited) vegetarian options. Read below for more pictures and info as well as my honest thoughts about eating at Panda Express as a vegetarian. Stay tuned to the blog and on social media (Tiktok, Instagram, and Facebook) for more LA Content!
If you’re not familiar with Panda Express, it is a popular fast food that offers “American Chinese” food across their multiple locations. It’s pretty cool to note that Andrew Cherng opened up his first location in 1983 and within 10 years, 100 locations were opened to now having over 2,000 locations! A key reason for their success is their signature dish, the orange chicken. Why people are obsessed with it is because of the distinct sauce. The sweet and spicy sauce is said to be inspired the flavours of Hunan, a province in China. Fast forward to today, the signature dish is now available in vegan! That’s right, instead of chicken you can get a vegan substitute thanks to Beyond Meat which is awesome! Sure, I could probably eat the entree on it’s own but since it was my first time here, it was only right to try other vegetarian options which will be discussed further in the next section.
Before I proceed to discuss pricing and options, I do want to mention that I went to a location in Lynnwood (that had in-door and out-door dining options) but it didn’t have all the options available at the time (eggplant tofu and vegetarian spring rolls). Nonetheless, we still were able to try different options and the prices were quite fair. I got the bigger plate which came with the choice of chow mein & rice (1 side), and 3 Entrees. I ended up doing 1/2 chow mein 1/2 brown rice with super greens and cheese rangoons, with of course Beyond Orange Chicken. My sister ended up getting a Panda bowl with just chow mein and Beyond Orange Chicken. The bigger plate came up to $9.90 while bowl was $6.90. Keep in mind, there was a charge of $1.25 for the Beyond Orange Chicken (so $8.65 and $5.65 respectively without it). The medium drink was $2.20 and fortune cookies were free.
So now for the reason why you came here. The Beyond Orange Chicken was not bad at all, but in my person opinion it is not something that I would crave for. The Beyond chicken itself is not bad, and does have a chewy texture due to the breading and protein. However, what really made this enjoyable and probably why this is often raved about is because of the orange sauce! It had really good flavour with great amount of tanginess not too sweet or spicy. The sauce was the best part because I would say when eating it after a few hours it was still a bit heavy and felt even at the Lakers game. To be honest, I enjoyed it much more the day after when eating left overs.
In terms of the other items the chow mein and rice were kind basic and dry, however I preferred the brown rice much more. The super greens taste like how you would expect which is perfectly fine by me especially because it provides a good balance with the Beyond Orange Chicken. The cheese rangoons (wontons with cream cheese) were not that enjoyable unfortunately due to the fact it was more dough than anything else and not that crispy. Fortune cookies tasted as expected which was great!
All in all, when it comes to Beyond Orange Chicken I would say that it was good but not great. I do think it is worth to try at least once but keep in mind that like other Beyond Meat products it might be a little hard to digest. However the sauce tastes great and for left overs, it’s pretty good too. I would recommend if you are getting Beyond Orange Chicken in a bowl or plate, I would recommend it with brown rice and super greens. Once again, these are just my honest thoughts but let me know your thoughts! Let me know what you think in the comments of this blog post or the related social media posts. I will appreciate it if you give a follow on Tiktok, Instagram, and Facebook as well as staying tuned to the blog for more content from this LA trip!