Chinese American fast-food at Panda Express

Chinese food spans a gamut of cuisines, with various regional, religious and ethnic influences into this kind of cooking found within China and abroad.

The development of Chinese cuisine in the United States was driven by small-town restaurants that catered to Chinese immigrant miners and railroad workers as well as the local population which are largely unfamiliar with Chinese food. At the same time, these incorporated local ingredients and adapted the dishes to a more American taste, thereby giving rise to Chinese-American cuisine.

Panda Express, SM Megamall
Panda Express, SM Megamall

A famous example of eateries that serve Chinese-American cuisine is Panda Express. Founded in Glendale, California in the 1980s as the quick-serve, mall-based version of the sit-down restaurant Panda Inn, this line of business grew to 2000 locations as of December 2017.

Panda Express made its way to Philippine shores in December 2019 when, through a partnership with fast-food giant Jollibee Foods Corporation, it opened the first Panda Express branch in SM Megamall, generating long-lines of customers who want to be among the first in the country to sample the restaurant’s signature dishes.

Panda Express, SM Megamall
Panda Express, SM Megamall

Today, Panda Express has nine outlets, situated in both malls and free-standing locations.

Because of our busy lives, the long lines outside its branches, and then the lockdowns due to the pandemic, it took some time for my family to check out Panda Express’ branches in Metro Manila. (We did dine at Panda Express’ branches in Seattle, Washington during our US trip in early 2019).

Panda Express, SM Megamall
Panda Express, SM Megamall

After the loosening of lockdown restrictions (as well as the waning of the long lines of people waiting to dine in), we were finally able to treat ourselves to the filling and fulsome offerings of Panda Express.

Diners at Panda Express have several choices when it comes to serving size:

  • Bowl (starts at Php225) – consists of one entree and one side dish (with 394 to 1105 calories)
  • Plate (starts at Php310) – consists of two entrees and 1 side dish (with 544 to 1595 calories)
  • Bigger Plate (starts at Php395) – consists of 3 entrees and 1 side dish (with 694 to 2085 calories)
  • Kid’s Meal (starts at Php190) – consist of a junior-sized entree, a junior-sized side dish, a 12oz drink and dessert (with 330 to 1000 calories)
  • Family Feast (starts at Php1,290) – serves a group of four to five persons and consists of 3 large entrees and two large side dishes (with 590 to 2233 calories)
Panda Express, SM Megamall
Panda Express, SM Megamall

Given our appetites and our own strong preferences among Panda Express’ menu items, is there any wonder why the fam members opted to each get a Plate serving?

Our orders included:

Sides:

  • Fried Rice. Steamed white rice wok-fried with soy sauce, eggs, peas, carrots and green onions.
  • Chow Mein. Stir-fried wheat noodles with onions, celery and cabbage.
Panda Express, SM Megamall
Panda Express, SM Megamall

Entrees:

  • Orange Chicken. Panda Express’ signature dish inspired by General Tso’s Chicken made with crispy chicken pieces wok-tossed in a sweet and spicy orange sauce.
  • Kung Pao Chicken. A Szechwan-inspired dish with chicken, peanuts and vegetables, finished with chili peppers.
  • Shanghai Steak. Wok-seared steak with fresh string beans, onions and mushrooms in a savory sauce.
  • Savory Shrimp. Juicy shrimp, stir-fried with green onion and bell pepper in a savory sauce.
  • Honey Walnut Shrimp. (included in one of our delivery orders after our store visit) Large tempura-battered shrimp, wok-tossed in a honey sauce and topped with glazed walnuts.
Panda Express, SM Megamall
Panda Express, SM Megamall

We found these Plat servings very filling indeed, with the varying textures and flavors of the dishes complementing each other.

Given that all the dishes have been pre-cooked, serving the food was quick and efficient.

This Panda Express branch is located at Upper Ground Floor, SM Megamall Building A, Ortigas Center, Madaluyong City.

Other branches are located at:

  • Las Pinas: SM Southmall
  • Muntinlupa: Shell SLT Southbound SLEX, Mojito Lifestyle Center
  • Panaranaque: Soledad Place Betterliving
  • Pasay: DoubleDragon Center East
  • Quezon City: Holy Spirit Drive Don Antonio, Greenmeadows Bagumbayan, SM City North EDSA
Panda Express, SM Megamall
Panda Express, SM Megamall

Panda Express also delivers via its website, as well as through GrabFood and FoodPanda.

To stay updated about its menu and offers, follow Panda Express on Facebook and Instagram.

Author: Gel Jose

Manic Pixie Dream Girl Wannabe, Imagineer, Foodie, TV Addict and Lifelong Learner

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