Is Panda Express Real Chinese Food?
Is Panda Express fake Chinese food For those who aren’t familiar with Panda Express, the restaurant features Chinese cuisine that can be easily prepared in minutes and costs less than $10. The chain’s prices are so low that some customers wonder if it is even Chinese food at all and question the authenticity of its offerings.
In order to figure out whether or not Panda Express offers real Chinese food, I decided to visit one of its locations and order from their standard lunch menu. Here are my thoughts on the experience, along with my take on whether or not Panda Express offers real Chinese food.
What Makes Fast Food Fake
It’s no secret that fast food isn’t exactly healthy, but that doesn’t mean we want to completely give up our guilty pleasures. However, most of us don’t really consider how closely some of these fast-food favorites resemble real food. French fries, for example, are made from potatoes at McDonald’s.
But that doesn’t make them much more healthy than your average drive-thru alternative. Typically made with highly processed ingredients and preservatives to ensure they last a long time without spoiling, fake foods like these help to explain why many Americans have an epidemic on their hands—and it goes far beyond heart disease and diabetes. Check out five simple ways to tell when food is real when ordering out.
Why Does This Matter
If you’re craving authentic, real Chinese food, there’s a good chance that your local Panda isn’t going to fill that need. But if you just want some cheap, fast food on a budget, Panda Express isn’t necessarily cheating you out of anything. If anything it gives Americans access to world cuisines they might not be able to enjoy otherwise.
Just because something is Chinese food doesn’t mean it’s necessarily authentic—if anything Americanized is probably closer to authentic! The key point is: Don’t pass judgment too quickly.
What Asian Restaurants Should Do
It’s understandable why Panda Express, China Express, and other similar restaurant chains don’t want to take a risk by serving authentic Asian food—it’s expensive. But there are ways to add some of that great taste without adding much cost at all. For example, sesame oil is a staple in many Asian cuisines but it can also be pricey if you get top-quality.
Luckily for restaurants on a budget, grape seed oil (which can be found at most big box stores) has been found to have some antioxidant properties when compared with sesame oil; perhaps now restaurants can offer something close to the real thing without having to shell out top dollar.
What Fast-Food Restaurants Should Do
Your favorite fast-food restaurants are often doing their best to deliver a consistent experience. From McDonald’s french fries to In-N-Out’s burger patties, quality control is a top priority at these chains. However, while taste and consistency are top priorities, so is cost.
To save money, many of your favorite fast food restaurants source their ingredients from far away—often from countries you wouldn’t expect.As such, despite best efforts to recreate an authentic product every time you order it; some of your favorite dishes might not be what they seem. With that in mind…
Whether or not you’re a fan of Panda Express, it’s important to know how you can tell if something is authentic. While there are certainly some Chinese foods that are difficult to make at home—crispy orange chicken comes to mind—other options (like lo mein and egg rolls) seem perfectly suited for your own kitchen.
Understanding how certain authentic dishes taste will give you an idea of what flavor profile they should have. Also, if there is more than one way to prepare a dish, try different preparations and flavors and decide which one tastes best to you. This can help steer you in the right direction when ordering out in China Town or similar neighborhoods as well.