Mar 25, 2015

Review: Panda Express- Chinese Spare Ribs

Panda Express' Chinese Spare Ribs are marinated and slow-cooked before being finished in a wok with a Chinese barbecue sauce. The sauce features sesame oil, mirin (a sweet rice wine), red chili bean paste, garlic, and red peppers.

A 2-entree plate was $6.80 plus a $1.25 upcharge for the ribs (a total of $8.05).

These are short-cut pieces of spare ribs and my server specifically counted out five ribs for my plate (I got Orange Chicken as the other entree). The ribs appear to be slow-roasted rather than smoked, as I didn't get that smoked flavor or char indicative of American-style barbecue.

The meat wasn't fork-tender but it was easy enough to pull off the bone, and each piece included a decent amount of meat.

The sauce is inspired by Chinese char siu, which is typically quite sweet, somewhat tangy, and very red. Panda Express' sauce delivers a honeyed sweetness with a soy sauce base. To give it something extra, there are hints of five spice powder along with a decent spicy kick. It doesn't quite make me think "char siu" but it's an enjoyable flavor.

Overall, Panda Express' Chinese Spare Ribs were pretty good. They offer a familiar but unique flavor profile and a moist and tender texture. They are a bit on the pricey side, especially for me since I can get char siu pork for about $6 to $7 a pound from a Chinese barbecue joint (and there aren't any bones). Still, I did really like the flavor and the volume of the ribs was relatively comparable to my other entree (although there's a good amount of bones to take up space).

Nutritional Info - Panda Express Chinese Spare Ribs
Calories - 370 (from Fat - 230)
Fat - 25g (Saturated Fat - 9g)
Sodium - 740mg
Carbs - 7g (Sugar - 7g)
Protein - 28g

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