May 20, 2014

Review: Panda Express - Orange Chicken with Bacon & Shiitake Kale Chicken Breast

Panda Express's Orange Chicken with Bacon is their signature Orange Chicken with the simple addition of pieces of bacon. Their Shiitake Kale Chicken Breast features chicken breast, shiitake mushrooms, kale, and broccoli wok-tossed in a savory house sauce.

It cost $6.59 for a 2-entree plate plus 50 cent extra for the bacon. There were also a la carte single servings available for $3.50 each (plus 50 cents extra for bacon).

Panda Express' Orange Chicken is a favorite of mine. I like the sweet and savory sauce and, if it's fresh enough, the crispy shell (it was relatively fresh on this visit). The question is: does bacon make it better?

I'd have to answer, "Not really." Basically, they took two intense, salty flavors and paired them together. The bacon ended up adding a bit of a barbecue sauce feeling with its smokiness. While it wasn't crispy, it had a nice porky flavor to it. It doesn't really do anything for me paired with the chicken. I like Panda Express's Orange Chicken (okay, I love their Orange Chicken) and I liked the bacon but putting them together doesn't make them any better and I'd rather just enjoy both on their own.

The Shiitake Kale Chicken Breast's savory house sauce mostly just provides saltiness to the dish. Each ingredient mostly spoke for itself. In short, it tasted very kale-y and mushroom-y. There' s a light kale flavor to everything. The veggies were lightly cooked and still retained a fair amount of firmness. There was a good amount of chicken and it was decently tender. It was a pretty well balanced dish and kale's not commonly found in Chinese food so it's a novel taste.

It didn't go so well with the chow mein I chose though. I'd recommend getting it with white or brown rice.

Overall, I'd skip on getting the bacon with Panda Express' Orange Chicken as it, despite the saying, did not make it better. The Shiitake Kale Chicken Breast was pretty nice, especially if you like kale and mushrooms as they're there in full force. It also provides some welcomed variety to the available entree choices.

Nutritional Info - Panda Express Shiitake Kale Chicken Breast
Calories - 170 (from Fat - 70)
Fat - 8g (Saturated Fat - 1.5g)
Sodium - 570mg
Carbs - 11g (Sugar - 3g)
Protein - 14g

Nutritional Info - Panda Express Orange Chicken with Bacon
Calories - 500 (from Fat - 240)
Fat - 27g (Saturated Fat - 6g)
Sodium - 1020mg
Carbs - 46g (Sugar - 19g)
Protein - 21g