As I write this, I can hear all my Asians friends in Portland (more like Beaverton/Gresham) screaming a big “I TOLD YOU SO!” But no matter how many times I’ve been told not to eat there, I still go. Where else in town can I get Black Pepper Chicken, Orange Chicken and Chow Mein in five minutes! Ultimately, I never thought it would happen to me. After my intense loyalty and defense of Panda Express food quality, I became a victim of food poisoning.
Let us hark back to the first time I ever tasted Panda Express’ Orange Chicken. It was back in college and probably, like many of us, began with a wicked hangover. A dorm mate suggested we try this light remedy he heard that others had enjoyed before him… it involved a thick, sweet, chicken-battered dumpling. One hit and I knew I found not only the best hangover cure, but the single best chicken food item ever. I became addicted. Since that point, I would never order anything other than chow mein, black pepper chicken and orange chicken. For ten years, spanning most of Oregon, Idaho, Washington and California, I would enjoy this rare combination of awesome.
On Sunday, November 16th at 5:30 pm, I decided to pick-up my favorite cuisine at 1933 W Burnside. My precious tasted the same, and I savored every piece. Life was perfect. Within two and a half hours my stomach started to churn… and… well… we know what happened after that. I felt like death.
Panda Express has always delivered to me a quality product. This last experience, I realized why their plastic To-go-bag is so sturdy. It was a terrible lesson in how a customer’s experience can turn from love to hate so quickly. So to all my Asian friends, yes, you told me so.