When I saw that the strip mall gourmet masterminds at Panda Express had merged Orange Chicken and bacon, my first thought was, “Hell, yes!”
I quickly made plans with a friend to try the Orange Chicken with Bacon and their other new offering “Golden Szechuan Fish.”
Full disclosure: Panda Express also introduced the “Shiitake Kale Chicken Breast” entree to pair with the Orange Chicken but I stayed clear for philosophical reasons. I am making a conscious stand against the kale conspiracy. Superfood? Broccoli was a superfood before kale could even spell “antioxidant.” Plus, I am suspect when it comes to “healthy” fast food. If I was looking for healthy fast food I would just eat a banana. My deep fried breaded and iceberg lettuce loyalties run too deep.
Sorry, back to the food.
We sidled up to the steam trays and ordered a two-item meal with fried rice. It being dinner time, and the store being quite full, the entrees were turning over pretty quick so we assume a fresh selection.
First thought upon sitting down — the color. Not sure if the marketing department at Panda Express understand the meaning of “orange” or “golden” as both dishes were the exact same shade of brown.
I decided, as a writer, to allow that small bit of poetic license and dug into the “Orange Chicken with Bacon.” What I got was a strange little nugget of moderately tough fried chicken with a bit of bacon. The imagined and advertised melding of flavor just didn’t work. I really can’t believe I am advocating to have less bacon but the flavor was just off.
My partner in crime–the TC to my Magnum PI–was also unimpressed.
“Somewhat overcooked octopus.” TC stated, “Or semi-soft marble.”
Hoping to save the Panda from defeat (as a San Francisco Giants fan I am morally obligated to do so), I moved on to the “Golden Szechuan Fish.” The dish consists of battered cod chunks with sugar peas, red peppers, and a “zesty” sauce. Overall, it was not too bad. It is basically fish sticks with generic Asian sauce. No real kick but not horrible.
1 1/2 Coronaries
TC and I left, hoping into the Island Hopper Hughes 500D, still confused at how “with Bacon” went so horribly awry. Maybe if you advertise your “World Famous Orange Chicken” all over your walls then you should not mess with it. Remember “New Coke?”
|Orange Chicken with Bacon||510||46g||27g||1020mg||21g|
|Golden Szechuan Fish||320||32g||15g||430mg||14g|