When I think of treasure, naturally, I think of pirates. There is such a strong, fundamental connection between massive hidden hauls of loot and buccaneering that it can be difficult to envision anything else. So you can understand my hesitation to associate pirates with panda bears when I first heard about Panda Express’s newest entry, Golden Treasure Shrimp.
As adorable as pandas in pirate costumes may be, I am tired of pirates. Like so many other North Americans who have been assailed by three (soon to be four) Pirates of the Caribbean films of gradually decreasing quality, numerous high-profile news stories of Somali pirate attacks, several thousand Captain Morgan commercials, and countless Captain Jack Sparrow Halloween costumes, I am so deep in the throes of Pirate Exhaustion that I didn’t want to experience anything pirate-y again for a while. But, by the Beard of Barbarossa, the Golden Treasure Shrimp demands a pirate-speak review. CURSES! Here goes nothing:
Avast ye mateys! Golden Treasure Shrimp ’tis representin’ an improv’ment upon th’ texture and flavor o’ Panda Express’s other tempura shrimp dish, Honey Walnut Shrimp. Accordin’ to th’ proud pronouncements on their site, Golden Treasure Shrimp be a “succulent tempura shrimp, wok tossed with fresh bell peppers in a zesty citrus sauce.”
Arrrrâ€¦ ‘Tis true, th’ sauce be zesty, but that’s due in no small part t’ its spiciness, which be an unexpected and pleasant surprise. Since th’ coatin’ be so similar t’ PE’s SweetFire Chicken’s sweet chili sauce, I wonder why th’ scalawags dinnae just call th’ new dish SweetFire Shrimp. While only a wee bit citrus-y, th’ sauce has a bold flavor ‘n a nice “lip spiciness” that provides enough heat t’ make it interestin’ without becomin’ too overpowerin’ or painful. A smart sip of grog should cure what’ever lingerin’ heat ails ya.
Bein’ a lubber o’ tempura-style anythin’, I was pleased t’ find th’ Golden Treasure Shrimp’s batter was crispy despite o’ th’ fact that it be drenched in tangy sauce. However, if let sit for a while, I imagine th’ batter would smartly become soggy. Good thin’ I dinnae wait. Th’ tempura coatin’ be a wee bit heavy ‘n leaves a touch o’ residue on th’ tongue, since it be a tad oily, but th’ shrimp itself be tender ‘n tasty, ‘n weren’t overpower’d by th’ coatin’.
Th’ only downside be th’ sparse addition o’ chopped bell peppers. There were not that many peppers in me servin’ o’ Golden Treasure Shrimp, and they be tiny pieces t’ begin with, so they hardly added t’ th’ overall presentation. But if you enjoy flecks o’ color in your food, these peppers accomplish that job. Compared t’ th’ Honey Walnut Shrimp, th’ Golden Treasure Shrimp be a nice kick in th’ britches, says I. Yeeeaaaarrr!
(Nutrition Facts â€“ 5 ounces â€“ 390 calories, 170 calories from fat, 19 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 115 milligrams of cholesterol, 500 milligrams of sodium, 39 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 15 grams of sugar, 16 grams of protein.)
Item: Panda Express Golden Treasure Shrimp
Price: Free sample during promotion (normally $6.57 incl. tax for a Panda Bowl)
Size: 5 ounces
Purchased at: Panda Express
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Pandas in Pirate costumes. Shrimp is tender and tasty. Hidden hauls of loot. Spicy sauce is a tasty surprise and isn’t overpowering. Tempura-style anything.
Cons: Pirate Exhaustion. Bell peppers are rather sparse. Captain Jack Sparrow. Sauce isn’t all that citrus-y. Tempura coating is heavy and a little oily. Pirate-speak.