I have not eaten my weight in Panda Express’ Orange Chicken, and moments of my life were used to calculating whether I did. But I’ve eaten so much of it that I can instantly tell Panda Express’ faux fowl Beyond Orange Chicken doesn’t taste EXACTLY like the real deal.
But I felt that was going to be the case before trying the new entree because I’ve eaten enough plant-based chick’n/chik’n/chic’n/ch’ken/ch’k’n products to know what to expect, which is something that doesn’t taste exactly like chicken.
It’s hard for me to explain the flavor of the plant-based meat in this entree. It’s not poultry-like, but I don’t find it unappealing. The Orange Chicken sauce is the same sweet stuff with a slight kick that made Panda Express what it is today. I’ve always thought that it’s so tasty that it would go great with any fried animal or plant-based protein, and that’s the case with Beyond Orange Chicken.
However, while I like this and would eat it again, its overall flavor doesn’t convince me it’s as craveable as the original, which is what the Panda Express website claims. But if you’re into plant-based meats, it’s definitely worth a try.
While I don’t find the entree’s flavor odd, its appearance is a little weird. Unlike the various piece sizes of the O.G.O.C., Beyond Orange Chicken are uniform and look like Beyond Meat’s attempt to recreate BTS’ finger hearts in faux-meat form.
The interior looks tofu adjacent, and the off-white spots in the “meat” look peculiar. Although my issues with the spots might be the result of looking at way too much sci-fi anime and manga. The protein’s texture reminds me of slightly dried up tofu (UPDATE: I’m eating leftovers and they now remind me more of a chicken nugget), and while the exterior has some crispiness, it’s more like a Chicken McNugget than the original Orange Chicken’s breading.
Much like Panda Express’ steak and shrimp entrees, Beyond Orange Chicken has a premium upcharge. Because of that higher price, not being as delicious as the original, and being a limited time offering, I don’t think I’ll ever come close to eating my weight in it.
Purchased Price: $15.90
Size: Large a la carte container
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (4.75 oz) 440 calories, 22 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 810 milligrams of sodium, 47 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fiber, 15 grams of sugar, and 13 grams of protein.