Apr 12, 2010

Review: Panda Express - Chow Mein

Panda Express Chow Mein
Panda Express offers four different "sides" as part of their entrees: rice (steamed or fried), mixed veggies, and chow mein.  Out of the three, I usually get the chow mein because I think they do a good job of it and it's the hardest of the three for me to make at home.  Panda Express' Chow Mein features whole grain noodles sauteed in a wok with shredded onion, celery, cabbage, and bean sprouts.  It's prices at $2 a la carte or $5.99 as part of a 2-entrĂ©e meal.

It is a bit confusing that Panda Express calls the abundant item you get when ordering a bowl or entree a "side" but I guess with the vegetables being a choice, you can't call them a "starch."
Panda Express Chow Mein with two servings of Orange Chicken
Panda Express' Chow Mein is fairly greasy but I like it.  You'd think it might taste too plain but there's a lot of different flavors and textures with the onions, celery, cabbage, and bean sprouts.  I also like the noodles they use, they have a nice feel to them and I like it better than the chow mein noodles I get at a traditional Chinese restaurant.  I can easily eat Panda Express' Chow Mein by itself but I usually (okay, maybe always) pair it with Orange Chicken.

Panda Express Restaurant Locator

Nutritional Info - Panda Express Chow Mein (9.4 ounces)
Calories - 500 (from Fat - 210)
Fat - 23g (Saturated Fat - 4g)
Sodium - 980mg
Carbs - 61g (Sugar - 5g)
Protein - 18g


  1. I usually get mix of fried rice and chow mein.

  2. dude panda express has the worse chow mein, im still waiting for your double down review.... :)

  3. What?! The texture and size of the noodles is good! Others are too chewy or too thin or too thick!

  4. P.S. You can wait until tomorrow!

  5. More than what you would likely want to know about chow mein:

    Wandering the foodsphere I have noticed that chow mein often seems to be a catch-all akin to USA biscuits and gravy with the gravy containing hunks and shards of various left-over meats to add texture to the gravy since the gravy basically covers/hides whatever taste is within the meat.

    I have made at-home chow mein though the applied name may be "correct" or "proper" by tossing various extras into a bowl of ramen... either chicken or beef. The dime a pack stuff when on sale (though inflation will likely elevate the price at any moment).

    From veggies and/or various meats or whatever stands/sits still long enough to be grabbed just toss it into the ramen and a close-enough-for me approximation of chow mein is created.

    To increase the similarity prepare the ramen without the seasoning pack, add the ingredients you want, then fry it in a pan with just a dash of soy sauce or pert-near anything to assist in being able to keep the ingredients from sticking to the pan.

    Spray-on non-stick stuff not recommended.

    After heating add water, however much you want but do not exceed the recommended typical recommendation amount to avoid diluting the seasoning packet powder.

    Of course, if you want more "bang for the buck" add as much water as you desire and add beef or chicken bouillon cubes to keep the taste level to your liking.

    Experiment with various spices, oriental or not.

    Heck, anything goes.

    I must admit that my recipes/concoctions typically do not taste as yummy as those munched upon at retail food outlets; especially when oriental-type foods are involved.

    Heck, even basics such as my home-made cheese burgers almost always are less tasty than store-bought-type fare. I use the word "store" to represent any retail outlet selling pre-cooked food.

    The stuff in the pic above looks quite yummy to me.

    Ahhhhh, so, just as I thought. Using the Panda Express Web site there is no local outlet.

    I do not recall ever having eaten there but what with the immense number of Chinese-type eating places available; even in small remote hamlets, it is not surprising.

    It was not that many years ago that Chinese or any oriental style food joints were a rarity in MANY smaller towns, burghs, hamlets, etc.

    Now, due to an immense influx of immigrants and not enough jobs for even a small portion of them (note the unemployment rate, the REAL rate, not the phony rate tossed out  by those not wanting to "look bad" of USA non-immigrant citizens... those born here) I suppose many immigrants were forced to create their own job via opening a restaurant.

    Just ONE aspect of modern-day USA food culture!!!


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