Are you Going to Eat That? – 1st Edition : Panda Express Orange Chicken

It’s only fair, right?

That I ask the question, “Are you going to eat that?,” in the mirror for the first edition.

I mean, who am I to point fingers at other than myself?

So the fun begins!

What It Is?

It’s your toes in the sand on the beach in Hawaii.

It’s finding a $20 bill in your jacket from god-knows how long ago.

It’s completing your first marathon.

Okay, maybe it’s not as cool as completing your first marathon, but it’s A-mazing.

It’s Panda Express Orange Chicken.

With a slight kick to it, the gooeyness fills the deep crevices of your mouth. The orange flavor touches your tongue bringing you to life. The bite into the chicken only intensifies the satisfaction of flavor and fulfillment. And ladies and gentlemen, this was all in the first 1.76 seconds.

I am not alone in my praise either. It is the largest chinese fast food chain in America. Orange Chicken is Panda Express’ #1 requested item. Needless to say, a lot of us enjoy the Orange Chicken.

What’s it Made of?

Welp, like most restaurants, I couldn’t find out EXACTLY what is in their orange chicken. I searched, but to no avail. However I did find a knock off recipe that we will compare in the mean time. (Source: knock off recipe)

Ingredients :

  • 1 lb. chicken breast meat
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 4 cups vegetable oil to be used for frying
  • 1 cup cornstarch

Orange Sauce

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/8 cup vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
  • 2 tablespoons chopped scallion

*Makes 4 servings.

As per my intensely focused look and accompanied drooling, I have watched Panda Express prepare the tastiness and it all starts with a bag of chicken being plopped down into a frier, drained, then mixed with the flavoring and bits of chopped scallion.

Is It Healthy?

Though I’d like to say, “Absolutely. You should eat it for breakfast,” I can honestly say no.

Any ingredient list that calls for 4 cups of oil for frying tends to stay of the Eat-All-You-Want list. Pretty much, any fried item does.

I do have to give it to Panda Express though as they have stepped up their game in two areas. First, they CLEARLY state the nutritional info in their restaurants and on their website. Check out the screenshot below which doesn’t try to hide anything.

Second, Panda Express has made vegetable options a priority. Fresh and, typically, just steamed, their vegetables are a great way to still have the Orange Chicken, but compliment with steamed veggies and the meal isn’t all that bad.

The biggest problem you will have is portion control. If all you had was one serving Orange Chicken with 1 serving fried rice, you’d be looking at 950 calories and 1840 milligrams of sodium. That is 1) if the portion is served accurately (they are usually larger) and 2) if you were to get nothing larger than a rice bowl. If you get a plate with 2 sides and 2 main entrees, you would double the earlier figures assuming you didn’t go the veggies route on the sides.

As always, Panda Express is just offering something (wonderful to the taste buds). Whether we choose to ignore the health choices is our decision. I am definitely not saying I will never eat Panda Express Orange Chicken again. I absolutely will. However, we all need to do our part to limit it to our weekly 1-2 “freedom meals” (freedom meal = freeing yourself from the constraints of Beast Dietary Decisions for one meal).

Until next week, think before you eat.


photo credit: shawnogram via photopin cc

One Response to Are you Going to Eat That? – 1st Edition : Panda Express Orange Chicken

  1. If those are the ingredients Panda Express puts in their orange chicken, I would say that’s not that bad. I mean they are all real foods with pronounceable words. Yes, it’s a ton of fat and shouldn’t be eaten everyday. However, I am pretty sure that Panda probably puts a TON of preservatives in their food along with chemicals and things we have NO idea what they are. With all the publicity with the pink slime, I hardly think that other fast food restaurants are innocent in an absence of crap in their food. They don’t tell us what’s in their food for a reason and I personally it’s not because people will replicate it.