Industry News | December 28, 2011

Panda Express Rings in New Year with New Dish

Panda Express will celebrate the 2012 Chinese New Year holiday with a limited-time-only Firecracker Chicken Breast.

Featuring delectable chicken breast with yellow and red bell peppers woked fresh to perfection in a spicy black bean sauce, this entrée only has 240 calories per serving. To kick off Chinese New Year and ring in the Year of the Dragon, Panda Express will offer Facebook fans a coupon for a free single serving of Firecracker Chicken Breast on Jan. 23, the first day of the 15-day long celebration.

"The Chinese New Year's Eve feast features ingredients that carry special symbolic meaning," says Executive Chef Andy Kao. "Firecracker Chicken Breast is created with chicken because it represents prosperity and happiness, while firecrackers are a traditional part of New Year's celebrations. According to Chinese folklore, Nian, a man-eating beast, came into towns in search of people to feast upon. People used bright red decorations and firecrackers to scare Nian away to have a safe new year."

Firecracker Chicken Breast will be available at participating Panda Express locations nationwide from Jan. 4 until Feb. 14, and will be on the restaurant's catering menu for hosting Chinese New Year parties.

Those born in the Year of the Dragon are said to be full of vitality, enthusiasm, and are passionate in everything they do.

The traditional Lion dances are performed, which, combined with the lighting of firecrackers, wards off evil and ushers in the New Year with good luck. On Chinese New Year's Eve, families come together to enjoy a delicious feast, which is so important that if a family member cannot attend, an empty seat is kept to symbolize their presence.

To honor the holiday, Panda Express is proud to offer its free Chinese New Year Learn with Me Program™ to all elementary schools across the nation. Geared for second through fourth grades, this child-friendly, interactive curriculum provides an instructional resource to encourage learning about one of China's traditional holiday celebrations. The Learn with Me Program served 305,000 students in 2011 and the goal is to reach 400,000 in 2012.

Each Learn with Me Program kit includes a Panda Express Year of the Dragon DVD, factsheet, a Jade Emperor's interactive game and activity sheet, a Chinese New Year decoration art activity, a Lai See activity sheet, and bookmarks with a free kid's meal coupon. Orders can be submitted online until Jan. 8, 2012 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Standard Time by visiting the company's website.

News and information presented in this release has not been corroborated by QSR, Food News Media, or Journalistic, Inc.