What is it with Pandas?

There is a new little Chinese take-out place near the office where I work. I quite like Chinese food, and the only other fast food places nearby are Pizza Hut, Burger King, and KFC/A&W. Don’t get me wrong, I sometimes — sometimes — enjoy the food from these places. But A&W is too expensive, Burger King is tired, I can often enough get free Pizza Hut via one of the crews that gets pizza every Monday, and KFC … well, I’ve made the mistake of looking at nutritional information on their food. [shudders]

There are a couple of cheap Mexican places near-ish, too, but I’ve never had the guts to try them. ‘Sides, if I’m going to get a burrito, I’d rather it be a breakfast burrito, which are somewhat less available at lunchtime.

So in place of a Mexican place that went out of business, a new Chinese place is just opening up. It’s “Panda” something or other, and it’s one of those price-per-scoop places. This seems a little sketchy for some reason, but I was reminded of Q & Q’s Buffet back in my hometown: a little hole in the wall $5 lunch Chinese buffet. My mom wouldn’t go there because she worried about sanitation (and I can’t say she was all wrong — we did find a dirty fork or two there and it had an overall dingy feel). But I loved it, and oh! they had those delicious fried-sweet-fluffy Chinese donuts. Sketchy, but I loved it.

So I decided to try Panda place today. Turns out they’re really just opening, and they don’t yet have their credit card processor programmed; also, they won’t take credit unless you buy at least $5 worth. But they have a $4.25 combo — 2 ‘entrees’ (2 scoops!), noodles or rice (fried or steamed), an egg roll or a couple cheese wontons, and a can of pop.

I got sesame chicken, ginger chicken, steamed rice, and an egg roll, with a Dr. Pepper. The ginger chicken was a little bit spicy, but I’d have liked some more fire; the sesame was not spicy at all (dommage), in fact it was pretty sweet; the egg roll was a pretty generic cheap egg roll — which is to say, is was tasty, but not surprisingly so. All in all it was quite tasty, and there was enough food about the meal that I have more than enough left over for tomorrow’s lunch. It’s nice to know I can get a meal nearby that feels more like a meal than does your typical American fast fare — for $5, I get two lunches that taste a whole lot better than a candy-wrapped burger and some potato. I will take it. 🙂

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