Dec 20, 2010

Review: Pick Up Stix - Orange Peel Chicken Dragon Deal

Pick Up Stix is a "woked"-to-order Chinese fast casual joint that has over 70 locations in California. It's like slightly fancier, slightly more expensive Panda Express with slightly healthier options but mostly made fresh when you order.

They have a "Dragon Deals Value Menu" which feature several dishes and bowls for $4.99 from which I tried the Orange Peel Chicken Special which features an individual order of Orange Peel Chicken, steamed rice, salad, and an obligatory fortune cookie. You can shell out an extra $1.50 for white meat chicken.

With the Orange Peel Dragon Deal, you can choose white rice or brown rice and I opted for the brown as a healthier choice. Pick Up Stix's Orange Peel Chicken is analogous to Panda Express's Orange Chicken and features pieces of battered chicken wok-fried with orange slices, red chili peppers, water chestnuts, and onions. The water chestnuts were a nice touch imparting an apple-like crunch and texture to the dish. The chicken was a bit soggy with a muted flavor but definite notes of orange.
Interestingly, they don't peel the orange slices which makes them a little more work to eat. They might be trying to impart some of the orange-y bitter rind flavor to the dish but grating a bit of rind and peeling the oranges would have been a better way to go about it. There were whole red peppers in the dish but it was still barely spicy.
The side salad was a blend of iceberg and romaine lettuce with julienned carrots and a sweet sesame soy dressing. The vegetables were fresh but doused with a bit too much dressing.

It's really not a dish you'd find in a Chinese restaurant and I'd say the style at Pick Up Stix is more Chinese style catering to more mainstream tastes which is why I compare it to Panda Express. It's decent food but there are so many better Chinese options around my neck of the foods.
Then again, they're never going to give you brown rice at a typical Chinese restaurant and Pick Up Stix's Orange Peel Dragon Deal is a fairly cheap option if I wanted something "wokked" in the key of Chinese but with brown rice.

Pick Up Stix Locator

Nutritional Info - Pick Up Stix Orange Peel Chicken - individual serving
Calories - 820
Saturated Fat - 7
Sodium -1480
Carbs - 96


  1. yuck! i like panda better. i think pick up stix is fake american/white people lover food. tried it once and never again.

  2. Yep, this is a good summation of Pick Up Stix. Decent, better than Panda, but if you live in SoCal there are hundreds of better options. Personally, I think the quality at the different ones varies tremendously. Some use way too much oil.

  3. I've had varying experience with the same location. I think the first time I went it was pretty greasy and my pieces of chicken were more like tiny bits of chicken. This time was much better though.


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