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.

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Lucky 8 Vegetable Tofu

LUCKY 8 VEGETABLE TOFU
Big Bowl Restaurant Recipe

1 tablespoon light soy
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon plus 2 pinches kosher salt
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons peanut oil
3 (1 oz.) sliced firm tofu
cornstarch as needed
1/2 ounce shiitake
2 ounces sliced Napa cabbage
2 ounces sliced bok choy
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon garlic
2 ounces green beans
1 ounce baby spinach leaves
1 ounce bean sprouts washed and drained, as garnish
2 shakes black pepper
10 ounces cooked jasmine rice, prepared as directed

Mix the light soy, the sesame oil, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, 1 tablespoon of the peanut oil and set aside.

Heat up a wok over high heat and add 1/4 cup of oil. Sprinkle the sliced tofu with a pinch of salt and dip into cornstarch to coat. Fry the sliced tofu in the oil until lightly brown and crisp on the outside; (about 1 1/2 minutes on each side). Remove and set aside to drain. Discard oil.

In a different wok, bring to high heat and add 1 tablespoon of peanut oil. Add the shiitake, bamboo shoots, ginger and garlic and cook together to release flavor; about 45 seconds. Next add the Napa cabbage, bok choy, and green beans, along with the final pinch of salt. Toss together, stirring, until hot; about 30 to 45 seconds. Remove from fire and toss in the spinach.

Serve vegetables on a plate with a scoop of jasmine rice. Lean the sliced crispy tofu up against the vegetables, and drizzle all of the dressing over the top of the vegetables and tofu to season and add color. Add the bean sprouts and 2 shakes of black pepper as garnish. Serves 2 with rice as a complete meal, or 3 to 4 as part of a larger meal.

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