Today my blog reached 400 posts. And I thought I would commemorate the occasion by sharing with you one of my greatest pleasures in life – Chinese food. Now I’m not talking so much about the food they enjoy in China. I’m more obsessed with the deep fried, msg laden, batter encased goodies doused in garishly colored sauces that we get back home. It’s my kryptonite, wield Chinese food in front of me and I shall fall. Despite its close proximity, good Chinese food is one of the hardest cuisines to find in Korea. And the westernized stuff is even harder still. When I first found Ho Lee Chow it was a godsend, but it quickly lost it’s allure as it’s so incredibly expensive. For four dishes and a couple of spring rolls it runs over 80,000, which at home in London we could get for less than half the price. So when Panda Express opened I was thrilled indeed, and when I saw the killer prices I was practically giddy.
I had tried Panda Express once before in Las Vegas and to be honest wasn’t too impressed, although I was just coming off a bout of food poisoning which may have had something to do with my less than perfect impression. I likened it to the restaurants at home that have buffets, where you fill up a plastic container full for about a fiver. So I didn’t get my hopes too high but figured it was worth checking out.
It’s true what they say first impressions can be deceiving . As soon as I took my first bite it literally blew me away, everything was so good! The other incredible thing is the price, 3 main dishes and a side for a mere 12,000! It’s incredible and only 1,200 extra per main dish if you want shrimp or beef.
We got the following for 12,000! This box consisted of fried chow mein noodles, which were a little dry by themselves but once you had put the other dishes on top were fine. The orange chicken was stellar. It was just so good, nice coating of batter, sweet tasty sauce. It was what fat dreams are made of. The kung pao on the other hand was rather disappointing, more like a plain old stir fry then the kung pao we all know and love. The Fat Boyfriend was rather disappointed as it’s usually his favourite. I randomly chose the tofu egg plant as the last dish as it’s one of my favourites at home. This was excellent, the spongy fried tofu was well paired with the soft juicy egg plant, though they could have been more generous with the tofu. It’s a nice choice for vegetarians.
The second set ran a little higher due to the add ons, this one was 14,400, but lets face it still amazing value. For this one we got the fried rice. It was of a good standard and much better than the ones you get in Korean style restaurants. The Bejing beef was amazeballs, battered in a sweet sticky sauce it was all kinds of delicious. The walnut shrimp was also right on par. Battered shrimps (tails on though) which were deep fried along battered walnuts. Want to make a walnut more delicious, deep fry it and drizzle it with a sticky honey sauce. The last dish was the shimp and pineapple, this one was a special they had on. It was fine but not my favourite of the bunch.
Besides all these dishes were a variety of other mains and a few sides, sadly no spring rolls though. There is fried mandu the filling tastes better than regular mandu but it’s no spring roll, plus you only get 3 pieces. Panda Express may be the Mcdonalds of the Chinese world but I’m glad its here. Cheap, quick, and delicious, it’s what I’ll be eating on hangover Sunday for the forseeable future.
Panda Express is located on the basement floor at The Lotte department Store in Myeongdong. To get there take a train to eljiro 1 station (line 2) and come out of exit 7 and walk into the Lotte deparment store and go down to the basement floor. You will see Panda express in the food court.