Rate Panda Express as Chinese Food - 1 to 10

Since there may be some variance between franchises (I’m guessing the mall versions are on the low-end), stack your best Panda Express meal ever to your best Chinese food eating experience (10) and your worst (1).

Personally, although I haven’t traveled to Asia, I have had some mighty fine americanized Chinese in the Northeast (along with some more-than-decent samplings on the west coast of the US). I’m not super adventurous with my dish choices, (i.e. no lung), but I consider myself fairly rounded, having tried such things as Winter Melon soup, Slippery Chicken, Peking Duck, Crabs in black bean sauce, cold noodles in sesame paste, etc.

On the flip side, I’ve managed to hold down some borderline-nightmare orders of the most basic Chinese dishes from the heartland of America as well.

All in all I give Panda Express a solid 4. I’ve only eaten at one PE, if that matters.


I’ve never had a good panda express meal. And with my BEST PE meal as a 1, my best chinese meal ever would have to rate at like 10,000.

My Panda Express experiences have all been a 1; even the rice is bad.

I’ve had Chinese food in China and don’t care for it. I actually prefer Panda Express. But there is excellent Chinese food to be had in nice American Chinese restaurants.

Yummy! Not super-great; clearly “industrial” mass-prepared, hyper-processed. But yummy. It tickles the taste-buds and pleases the palate.

It fulfills one of the biggest requirements of Chinese take-out: it’s still good in the morning, after being put in the fridge.

Now, sure, I’ve had the joy of really top-notch, high-end, superlative Bay Area Chinese food, and Panda Express can’t match that. But it’s…yummy.

I’d compare it to Carl’s Jr. or Jack in the Box, rather than to McDonalds. Chipotles, not Taco Bell.

I’ve eaten various Chinese dishes in China a number of times and they rate between 6~7. Panda Express around 3~4. Some of the Chinese eateries I’ve been to in Tokyo, Los Angeles, Seattle and Tijuana (yes, THAT Tijuana) rate closer to 10 for me. By the way, I’ve never had good-tasting Peking Duck in China, but I did in Vancouver. :smiley:

I’m from Hawaii, and it astonishes me that we have Panda Expresses here. We have genuinely good Chinese food all over the place, and Panda is universally shit. I have never once been happy I ate there.

It’s better than La Choy. I give it a 5.

A new PE opened near me this week, and I tried it yesterday. I’d give it a solid 2. Yeah, it’s better than La Choy.

Never eaten at one and can’t imagine I ever will. For me, Chinese food is all about family owned and operated restaurants.

Overpriced. Small portions. Only average quality.

I think a 4 is pretty on target.

Is give Taco Bell a 1, McDonalds a 2.5, and Chipotle a 5*, so that’s where it stands on my spectrum.

*Only because you said best experience, and there was this one time I got a steak burrito that was nearly sublime. I don’t know who didn’t follow what directions from corporate, but it was the best burrito ever. I chase that burrito dragon…

Odd, this poll coming now. we’ve just lost two of the most visible Panda Express outlets in the Boston area – Meadow Glen Mall in Medford just closed, taking the Panda Express with it, and they closed the Food Court at the Prudential Center, which also had a Panda Express. the only one left in a Mall in the immediate Boston area is in the Cambridgeside Galleria. (There’s also one at the airport, as my daughter pointed out, and one near the airport I was unaware of. That’s pretty out-of-the-way. For others, you have to go out to Worcester. Panda Express, except for the airport area and one mall, have virtually disappeared from eastern MA.

I like their food, realizing that it’s not high cuisine. They try to be creative within their limitations. And their stuff is much better than China Wok, which seems to be the fast food Chinese in all the other area malls.

I give them a 5, by the way.

I discovered Panda Express After knowing about the “Panda” Chain. If you don’t know, Panda Express is the fast food version cousin to the more upscale Panda Inn, a regular sit-down Chinese restaurant that is supposed to be higher quality. I’ve never eaten at one, though.

I HAVE eaten a number of unrelated restaurants with names like Panda Palace.

Thanks…we noticed the “Panda Inn” name on their boxes during our last visit and wondered whether it was a restaurant or a motel chain.:smiley:

Slight oversight in the OP, as indicated by the wiki link…they’re all company-owned locations; no franchises.

Also, to add to my original post for comparison, I’d give Pei Wei a 3, and P.F. Chang’s a 5.

I’ve only been three or four times, but i/t’s reasonable for American-style Chinese. It’s as good, if not better, than most of the take-out ma & pop type places in my neighborhood. So I give it a 5 for what it is. Now, there’s definitely a few 9s and 10s of various Chinese styles if I head out maybe five miles from my neighborhood into Chinatown.

It has a resemblance to mom-and-pop Chinese takeout, which isn’t “authentic” either. Personally I don’t like it; the dishes all have the exact same flavor: hyper-sweet, and that’s it. They give you enough food for 2 lunches at a decent price. For that I give them a 2.

During my hangover days, I would drag my ass into the nearest Panda Express at 1100am and order a big plate of Low Mein with a large Diet Pepsi. It was the only thing that brought me back to life. It’s also the only food I find at all tasty there. Everything else is on a scale from “edible” to “ew.”

I gave them a 2.

Gave them a 6.

Panda Express is middle of the road to me. I enjoy their food but I don’t go there looking for an authentic menu or experience. I am looking for good food at a fair price served quickly and they consistently meet that expectation.

It’s nowhere near (and I am not expecting) the quality of a sit-down place that does it’s own food prep and makes its own sauces and dumplings on-site, but Panda Express is similar in quality to many of the local Chinese carry-outs near me. I have long suspected that all the carry-out places order from the same vendors and serve pretty close to the same food and sauces and sampling of local budget Chinese eateries has not disabused me of that notion. They all taste the same.

Certainly better than some of the buffets I have been to where the food has sat in steamer trays way too long.

In the Twin Cities I put them on par with the LeAnnChin local chain.
For the really good stuff I try to find a Big Bowl Express located inside a Lund’s or Byerly’s grocery store.