I ordered dinner at Panda Express and P.F. Chang's to see which chain I preferred.
I got fried rice, sesame chicken, beef and broccoli, and spring rolls from Panda Express.
I got the same items from P.F. Chang's, but it let me down in most of the categories.
Asian-inspired cuisine is one of my go-to dinner choices, but I wanted to see how some of my favorite dishes compared at varying price points.
I decided to order the same dishes from the fast-food chain Panda Express and the pricier casual-dining restaurant P.F. Chang's to see which chain offered a better meal.
Here's how the chain restaurants stacked up.
I started at Panda Express and ordered spring rolls, one side, and two entrées.
At Panda Express, I could choose between a plate with a side and one, two, or three entrées. All the mains were also available à la carte, which I appreciated.
I ordered vegetable fried rice as my side with honey-sesame chicken and beef and broccoli as my two entrées. I also added an order of two spring rolls and a fountain drink.
My total was $15 before tax and tip.
When I first ordered, the employee informed me that I'd have to wait a few minutes until the beef dish was ready.
I ended up waiting about 15 minutes, but another employee gave me a complimentary box of honey-walnut shrimp — which is actually one of my favorite dishes from the chain.
P.F. Chang’s sells family-style food, making it difficult to order small portions.
When I got to P.F. Chang's, I realized it only sells shareable, family-style dishes. But for a fair comparison, I ordered spring rolls, sesame chicken, beef and broccoli, and a side of vegetable fried rice.
My total was $54 before tax and tip. But the portions were way bigger, which is worth factoring into the price difference.
Although I got large bowls of sesame chicken and beef and broccoli, my side of fried rice was a bit small.
I asked for an extra plate to form a dish that was similar in size to the one I got from Panda Express instead of picking at each bowl separately. This made eating my meal much easier.
The spring rolls at Panda Express were delicious, but they didn’t come with sauce.
I'd never had the spring rolls from Panda Express, and I was pleasantly surprised.
They weren't too greasy or overdone, and the interior was packed with flavorful spring noodles, cabbage, and carrots.
The only downside was not having any dipping sauce, but that might've been because I didn't specifically ask for it.
P.F. Chang’s spring rolls were also great but tasted a bit greasy.
My order of spring rolls came with three rolls sliced in half, which made the plate a bit messy. The filling spilled out when I'd dip them into the included sweet-and-sour sauce.
I enjoyed the appetizer's flavor, but the exterior tasted a bit greasier than I usually like.
Panda Express has a basic fried rice that never misses.
The fried rice from Panda Express is very simple: just eggs, peas, carrots, and green onions. But I think that also makes it pretty versatile.
No matter what entrée I get from the chain, the fried rice always mixes well with it.
My fried rice from P.F. Chang’s wasn’t cooked the way I like it.
At first glance, my fried rice from P.F. Chang's looked good.
But as I started scooping it onto my plate, I realized that some of it wasn't completely fried or seasoned. I noticed sections of plain white rice in the bowl.
This caused inconsistency in the dish's texture and flavor.
Panda Express’ honey-sesame chicken was sweet and tasty.
Panda Express' honey-sesame chicken is mixed with yellow bell peppers and green beans.
The sauce is a little sweeter than I'm used to with this dish, but I enjoyed it. The chicken was packed with flavor, and the vegetables were cooked to perfection.
But P.F. Chang’s sesame chicken was even more delicious.
P.F. Chang's sesame chicken is cooked with bell peppers, broccoli, onions, and a lot of thick sauce.
The restaurant won in this department, mainly because of how much sauce there was. It was even better when I mixed it with the fried rice for extra flavor.
There was also a good ratio of chicken to vegetables, making the dish well-balanced.
My beef and broccoli from Panda Express was fresh and saucy.
After tasting it, I didn't mind that I had to wait for a fresh batch of beef and broccoli at Panda Express.
The beef was tender and slathered in a great gingery sauce, and the soft broccoli paired well with the meat.
The entrée was definitely the star of my entire meal at the fast-food chain.
I wasn’t a fan of P.F. Chang’s beef and broccoli dish.
I had high hopes for P.F. Chang's beef and broccoli because of how delicious Panda Express' was.
But unfortunately, some of the thin pieces of beef seemed overdone and were a bit hard to chew.
The flavor was nice and packed with garlic, but I didn't really enjoy the dish overall.
Panda Express offered an amazing meal that was manageable and cost-effective for one.
Although P.F. Chang's sesame chicken blew me away, I didn't find myself extremely satisfied with the rest of my meal. Plus, the winning dish cost more than my entire meal at the competitor.
Panda Express sold fresh, tasty food for an unbeatable price.
If I were going out for a big family dinner or birthday gathering, I might return to P.F. Chang's. But if I'm just craving quick and cheap Asian-inspired cuisine, Panda Express is my first choice.
Read the original article on Business Insider
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Now, let's discuss the concepts mentioned in this article.
Panda Express and P.F. Chang's:
The article compares two Asian-inspired restaurant chains: Panda Express and P.F. Chang's. Panda Express is a fast-food chain known for its affordable prices, while P.F. Chang's is a pricier casual-dining restaurant. The author ordered the same dishes from both chains to compare the taste, portion sizes, and overall dining experience.
The author ordered several dishes from both Panda Express and P.F. Chang's. From Panda Express, they ordered fried rice, sesame chicken, beef and broccoli, and spring rolls. From P.F. Chang's, they ordered the same items. The author compared the taste, portion sizes, and overall satisfaction of these dishes from both chains.
The author mentioned that the total cost of their meal at Panda Express was $15 before tax and tip, while the total cost at P.F. Chang's was $54 before tax and tip. The article notes that the portions at P.F. Chang's were larger, which should be considered when comparing the prices of the two chains.
The author enjoyed the spring rolls from both Panda Express and P.F. Chang's. The spring rolls from Panda Express were described as delicious, not too greasy, and packed with flavorful spring noodles, cabbage, and carrots. However, they did not come with dipping sauce. The spring rolls from P.F. Chang's were also great, but the author found them a bit greasier than they preferred.
The fried rice from Panda Express was described as basic but versatile, consisting of eggs, peas, carrots, and green onions. The author mentioned that it always mixed well with any entrée from the chain. On the other hand, the fried rice from P.F. Chang's did not meet the author's expectations. Some portions of the rice were not completely fried or seasoned, resulting in inconsistency in texture and flavor.
The honey-sesame chicken from Panda Express was described as sweet and tasty, mixed with yellow bell peppers and green beans. The author enjoyed the flavor and found the chicken packed with flavor, with perfectly cooked vegetables. However, the honey-sesame chicken from P.F. Chang's was even more delicious, cooked with bell peppers, broccoli, onions, and a lot of thick sauce. The author noted that the dish had a good ratio of chicken to vegetables, making it well-balanced.
Beef and Broccoli:
The beef and broccoli from Panda Express were described as fresh and saucy, with tender beef and a great gingery sauce. The soft broccoli paired well with the meat, making it the star of the author's entire meal at the fast-food chain. However, the beef and broccoli from P.F. Chang's did not meet the author's expectations. Some thin pieces of beef seemed overdone and were a bit hard to chew, although the flavor was nice and packed with garlic.
The author concluded that while P.F. Chang's sesame chicken impressed them, they were not extremely satisfied with the rest of their meal. They also noted that the winning dish at P.F. Chang's cost more than their entire meal at Panda Express. The author mentioned that if they were going out for a big family dinner or a special occasion, they might choose P.F. Chang's. However, for quick and cheap Asian-inspired cuisine, Panda Express was their first choice.
Please note that the information provided above is a summary of the concepts discussed in this article.