Guanlin Situ EWS 301.02 Prof Banh 5-14-2013
The Westernized Panda
As the melting pot, “the United States has the largest ethnic Chinese population outside Asia” (Zhou 43). When people choose to step in the melting pot, their original identities will be blurred in some ways, languages, daily habits, religions, and the most important element, which is food.
Panda Express, a fast casual restaurant serving American Chinese cuisine, is one of the most popular places that serving orange chicken. The company was founded in 1983 by Andrew Cherng, Peggy Cherng and Ming Tsai Cherng. It is also the largest chain of Asian fast food restaurants in the United States. As of year 2011, the company has approximately 1500 restaurants covering
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Panda, the unique animal from Szechuan, China, is used as the symbol for this company. However, how often can we see Chinese immigrants will be lining up in front of Panda Express? Rarely. In most of their mind, Panda Express is far away from what they so-called “authentic Chinese food”; it is so different from what they used to have in their hometowns. They might be sometimes judging Panda Express is a bad representative of Chinese food, downgrading the Chinese cuisine in America. Ironically, how often could we see Panda Express in ethnoburbs, Monterey Park and San Gabriel. Rarely. Comparing to Cantonese restaurants or Hong Kong style café, Panda Express offers far less options of food. Comparing with restaurants from Szechuan and Beijing, dishes from Panda Express are a lot milder. Comparing with food from most of the regions in China, Panda Express focuses much more on deep fried food, which is very popular in the United States. So, what kind of cuisine is Panda Express exactly serving? “There is a popular saying that the Chinese eat anything mobile on the land except for cars, anything flying in the sky except for airplanes, anything swimming in the sea except for submarines” (Lai, 290). Imagine, if Panda Express is selling what majority of Chinese like to eat, for example, chicken feet, pork intestines, and roasted duck, how the company will