The American conception of Chinese food is very much believing that Panda Express is real Chinese food. Sweet and sour chicken, orange chicken, Moo Shu pork, chop suey, fortune cookies, and General Tsao’s chicken are all American food! There are no such dishes in actual authentic Chinese cuisine! Take a look at other ethnic foods and you will find that we Americans have taken their dishes and altered it in a way to appeal more to our palette. I grew up eating authentic Chinese food but also ate American Chinese food. They are just considered two different types of cuisines.
I barely ever go to Panda Express to eat. Instead I go to authentic Chinese express places. These are truly hole in the walls where the place isn’t pretty but the good food and inexpensive price definitely make up for it. You pick however many items you want and they give you tons of rice to go with it. It’s insanely cheap and the dishes are all pretty good too!
Inexpensive meals with big portions
For two or three items your bill comes out to under five dollars! It’s a crazy low price. You can’t even get a meal at McDonalds for that! It’s a combo meal that comes with a ton of rice, a milk tea boba, and some simple soup. They fill up a normal size styrofoam container chock full of food! It’s one of those with two small partitions and one larger one. If you get two items they plop it into the two small partitions and rice in the large one. Get three items and they fill the entire container with food and put rice in a separate container.
Variety of dishes
It’s a very good selection of items usually. You’ll see vegetables, pork, chicken, tripe, tofu, and fish! Funnily enough some places have added fried chicken wings to their menu. It’s not like American wings exactly but a more Chinese version. Different cultures always influence the other. The dishes are all pretty good and cooked well.
Fast and efficient but wasteful
To keep the line moving and costs down they use the same takeout styrofoam containers for everyone. It’s the cheapest containers there are which keeps costs down. Unfortunately this means there’s a lot of waste. If I take it home I can recycle it but there’s definitely no recycling bin there. That’s not one of their priorities.
If you’re lucky enough to live near one of these express restaurants then I envy you! We don’t live close enough to go often. We of course can find an American Chinese place close by, but no real authentic Chinese express.
Have you ever been to one of these?