Panda Express launches vegan orange chicken

Panda Express has launched a vegan version of its iconic orange chicken at test locations in the New York and Los Angeles areas.

Many people think of Panda Express as the place to go for American Chinese comfort food.  This left those people looking to avoid animal products in a bind, as they used chicken broth in many of their recipes.  Fortunately, the chain has responded to the growing demand for plant-based options.  In February 2019, the company added a number of plant-based items to its menu, like super greens mixed veggies, vegetable spring rolls, eggplant tofu and chow mein. 

Their latest offering is a rework of their classic Original Orange Chicken, which has been on the chain’s menu since 1987.  They’ve partnered with Beyond Meat to produce the new Beyond The Original Orange Chicken, which features a fully plant-based breading and vegan sauce.  Chef Jimmy Wang, executive director of Culinary Innovation at Panda Express explained, “we co-developed Beyond the Original Orange Chicken with Beyond Meat to capture the irresistibly crunchy texture of our signature entrée, while still giving our guests a plant-based option of the dish they know and love”.

While the new vegan orange chicken is only available at the limited test locations, its performance will inform Panda Express’ strategy of a wider launch.  “With this regional launch, we’re gathering insights and learning how we can improve the guest experience with this brand new product for a wide future rollout,” Wang said.  “We are confident that people will love the new menu item.”