Let’s review Panda Express!
Panda Express is an American Chinese fast food chain that was founded 36 years ago in 1983 in Glendale, CA. Originally located in shopping mall food courts, the chain eventually expanded to their own standalone restaurants as well as casinos, airports, amusement parks and other venues. There are 2,200 locations worldwide with two in Wichita and one in Derby.
For the purposes of this review, we swung over to the Derby location due to both other locations on long carryout waits. With COVID-19, Panda Express has been offering a $20 meal deal that includes 3 large entrées and 2 sides big enough to feed a family of 4-6.
The deal was so popular it essentially shut down their nationwide ordering system and a couple Wichita area locations I spoke to said they were on 30-60 minute wait times.
Our order consisted of orange chicken, teriyaki chicken and kung pao chicken. The kids love the fried rice there so our 2 sides were fried rice otherwise there would have been a mutiny at home. When I arrived for the curbside delivery, I was told they were nearly out of kung pao chicken so I switched it out for firecracker chicken. The lady who brought my order out was very apologetic of everything. Given the circumstances, I told her being busy was a good thing and a blessing.
Upon arriving home, I didn’t realize it would be three large to go containers of food. The pictures don’t do it justice. It was a TON of food for the four of us. Not pictured is another container of fried rice. The $20 made for dinner and lunch for the four of us; an incredible value.
There’s a stark difference between Chinese food at places like Ming’s or Magic Wok and a fast food chain like Panda Express. We certainly aren’t blind to that fact. For fast food Chinese food, we were quite impressed with it and found it to be a huge step up from Dillon’s. The teriyaki chicken was surprisingly very tender and juicy. It was my first time with it and I’ll admit, I was shocked.
I wasn’t too high on the orange chicken and found the sauce to be a little bland but that didn’t stop everybody else from chowing down on it. My opinions on the fried rice were the same as I want my fried rice to be loaded up with butter and unhealthy as possible. But it’s literally the kids favorite fried rice in town so I give in.
The staff at the Derby location was very nice. Granted it was curbside delivery, I still enjoyed my brief exchange with them.
Given its affordability, I can’t stress enough how easy and simple this was for our family.
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