So much has changed in the past 35 years when it comes to American Chinese food culture. What role do you think Panda Express played in shaping this? And how humbling is it to think of that enormous impact?
Thirty-five years ago, Panda Express set out to create delicious, approachable dishes with quality ingredients that blend flavors from both the East and West. Our chefs have created many original dishes, like the iconic Orange Chicken, which have become a gateway to the world of American Chinese, even acting as the first Chinese food experience for many in the U.S. Now with more than 2,100 locations, Panda Express is the largest family-owned and operated Asian restaurant concept and has become synonymous with Chinese comfort food. As the brand’s classic tastes continue to evoke nostalgia for many, Panda Express’ Chinese origin pushes the definition of American Chinese cuisine as innovation remains a strong focus for the brand. It is humbling to know the influence our restaurants have had on Chinese food culture in America and to see just how many people adore Panda Express around the world. We’re truly grateful for our guests and associates for being part of our journey over the years.
—Chef Jimmy Wang, director of culinary innovation, Panda Restaurant Group
Where do you see this culture going next? How is Panda Express staying on the front foot of the conversation?
As our guests’ tastes and preferences evolve, our priority is to consistently deliver a variety of innovative American Chinese offerings that speak to each and every one of them. There is a more sophisticated understanding of Asian cuisines today than ever before and a deeper craving for authentic flavors in innovative dishes. We see a unique opportunity here at Panda Express to explore the complexities of regional cuisines in China and bring flavors such as real Sichuan spices to the forefront in our upcoming dishes. Our vision for American Chinese offers guests a transportive experience that cannot be found anywhere else. With that said, the underlying foundation of Panda Express’ culinary innovation continues to be on the emphasis of quality from kitchen to chopstick. A focus for us in the coming years will continue to be elevating our menu and ingredients as well as creating new health-forward, better-for-you dishes such as our recently introduced Super Greens.