Panda Management Company, Inc. (PMC), based in Southern California, has grown dynamically ever since 1983 when it opened its first Panda Express, its most successful operation. As that name suggests, Panda Express units are fast-service Chinese restaurants, now found in over 34 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Japan. Altogether, PMC manages over 300 Panda Express Restaurants, six Panda Inn Restaurants, eight Hibachi-San Restaurants, and seven Panda Panda locations. Panda Inns, the first of which opened in 1973, are all located in Southern California, as are the Panda Pandas, upscale, gourmet Chinese food restaurants. The Hibachi-San Restaurants, featuring Japanese cuisine, are located in shopping mall food courts, about half of which are at select sites outside California. The much more ubiquitous Panda Express Restaurants are located in five basic operating environments: mall food courts; supermarkets and retail chains; shopping centers and key intersections; university and college campuses; and airports, casinos, and sports arenas.
Chicken Pad Thai
CHICKEN PAD THAI
The Big Bowl Restaurant Recipe
5 1/3 ounces (1/3 package) dried Pad Thai rice noodles
6 ounces boneless skinless chicken breast, julienned
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried red chilies, ground
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons bottled Thai chili sauce
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 cup peanut oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup thinly sliced scallion greens
2 tablespoons Thai basil, chopped
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon ground dried shrimp
3 tablespoons chopped roasted peanuts
1 cup fresh bean sprouts
lime wedges for garnish
Pour very hot tap water to cover noodles and let sit for 30 minutes. Drain thoroughly, rinse with cold water and set aside.
Mix the chicken with the cornstarch, salt and sesame oil.
Mix the lime juice, brown sugar, ground chilies, paprika, Thai chili sauce, and fish sauce. Set aside.
In a wok, heat 1 cup peanut oil. When hot but not smoking, add the chicken. Stir to separate the pieces. When they change color, remove to drain in a colander. Reserve the oil.
Heat a clean wok to very hot. Add 3 tablespoons of the reserved oil. When hot and stir quickly to set (don’t let it brown). Push to one side of the pan and add the scallion greens. Stir briefly just to coat with the oil, then add the noodles. Toss the noodles in the pan for 15 seconds or so and add the chicken. Toss continually until the noodles soften and are well coated with the oil, and the chicken, egg, and scallion greens are mixed in.
When the pan is piping hot, drizzle in the lime juice-brown sugar mixture. After 5 seconds, pull the pan from the heat and toss vigorously. Add most of the basil and cilantro leaves (saving a pinch of each for garnish), the dried shrimp, and the peanuts, and toss. Add the bean sprouts and keep tossing. Transfer to a serving plate and serve with 2 wedges of lime on the side for an extra squeeze to taste. A few drops of lime before you dig in are in fact recommended.