In 1983, the Cherng family wanted to bring people together to enjoy delicious American Chinese cuisine, so they opened a restaurant in Glendale, CA, and called it Panda Express®. More than 25 years later, “Good Fortune Awaits™” diners can dig in at more than 2,000 locations across America—including one at Grossmont Center—as well as such far-flung destinations as Mexico, South Korea, and Dubai.
The Chinese fast food restaurant chain built its global success on a menu of tasty items inspired by traditional dishes. The food is prepared fresh every day with high-quality ingredients, using recipes that marry bold flavors with striking, colorful presentations to please the eye and the palate alike. The Original Orange Chicken®, for instance, has its origins in China’s Hunan Province. The sauce is sweet and spicy, with a bright note of zesty citrus from orange peel oil, and it pairs wonderfully with the perfectly crispy texture of the chicken bites, which are lightly battered and deep-fried. This is one of the most popular dishes at Panda Express®: 80 million pounds of The Original Orange Chicken® were served in 2016 alone.
The orange chicken dish is only the beginning of the savory options in store for customers, says Kaldya Sher, who manages the Grossmont Center location with Jannette Granados. “Our menu is loaded with choices our customers love. For main dishes, we have Beijing Beef®, SweetFire Chicken Breast®, Eggplant Tofu, Honey Walnut Shrimp, and so much more. We take pride in serving great food at affordable prices so that customers get a lot for their money.”
At Panda Express®, meals can come in the form of bowls (an entree and a side dish), plates (two entrees and one side), and bigger plates (three entrees and one side). For large groups, the Family Feast, with three main dishes and two sides, all in extra-large portions, is the perfect way to fill everyone’s bellies. The side dishes are all complementary to the entrees, so you can mix and match to your heart’s content. Choose from chow mein, fried rice, Super Greens (broccoli, cabbage, and kale), and white or brown steamed rice.
A Chinese fast food restaurant may not be your first choice if you are watching what you eat, but Panda Express® accommodates diners with its innovative Wok Smart™ menu. The dishes on this menu don’t sacrifice taste for nutritional value—they have the same terrific flavors as the regular menu items, but each one is 300 calories or less and has at least 8 grams of protein. One standout is the Mushroom Chicken. Mushrooms, zucchini, and chicken are tossed in a wok with a delightful ginger soy sauce. The mouthwatering result has 12 grams of protein, 11 total grams of carbohydrates, and just 2.5 grams of saturated fat—and only 220 calories! Other healthy choices include Kung Pao Chicken, Broccoli Beef, and Grilled Teriyaki Chicken.
Of course, any proper Chinese meal at Panda Express® isn’t complete without an appetizer. A customer favorite is the Cream Cheese Rangoon, an incredible contrast in taste and texture between the crunchy fried wonton wrapper and the silky-smooth cream cheese filling housed inside. Amp up the flavor with the sweet and sour sauce that comes with this appetizer. You can also choose from classics such as the Vegetable Spring Roll, Chicken Potsticker, and Chicken Egg Roll. If you are dining with a group, order them all so that everyone can have samples!
Children are given special treatment at Panda Express®. The Panda Kids Meal offers perfectly pint-sized portions of food to please little ones’ appetites. Each meal consists of a main dish, a choice of rice, noodles, or mixed vegetables, a beverage, and a cookie. (Adults can order a cookie of their own off the dessert menu; choose from the Chocolate Chunk Cookie or the traditional Fortune Cookie.)
Panda Express® doesn’t just rest on its reputation; the Chinese fast-food chain is always coming up with new additions to enhance the dining experience for its patrons. That can take the form of new dishes such as the Sichuan Hot Chicken, in which all-white meat crispy chicken strips are tossed with a specially seasoned Sichuan peppercorn sauce that can be made extra-spicy to order. It also includes cutting-edge concepts such as the Chork. Billed as an American Chinese original, this combination chopstick-fork utensil is meant to make everyone feel welcome at Panda Express®. This constant drive to innovate and excel helps explain why founders Andrew and Peggy Cherng are members of the California Restaurant Association Hall of Fame.
Given all of this, it is easy to see why Panda Express® is a must-visit destination at Grossmont Center. Located by Reading Cinemas, the restaurant draws customers who know that the Panda Express® name stands for delicious, high-quality food, fast and friendly customer service, and affordable prices. The next time you are craving Chinese food, come to Panda Express®, and good fortune will certainly favor you!