16. Panda Express
Claim to fame: Fast Asian cuisine
Does one get the feeling that the “Panda Express Phenomenon” is coming to a close?
You don’t hear too much excitement about Panda Express these days, and maybe it’s franchise fatigue that’s finally taking a toll on the company. So, if Panda Express’ popularity is lagging a bit, why is it this high on the list, you might be asking?
That’s because it’s still widely popular, and I don’t see it lagging for too much longer.
As long as they sell some of the best Orange Chicken this side of your neighborhood Chinese take-out, you can bet your dollar that people will still flock to Panda Express. That’s why I had to rank it over Raising Cane’s (it was tough, though). Panda Express has more of a national profile than Cane’s, which is more of a regional fast-food joint.
That name recognition is everything, especially in these rankings, and Panda Express, do dent a bit, is still a relatively healthy Panda.
Best menu item: Orange Chicken
The Orange Chicken is what made Panda Express the great fast food joint that it is. One wouldn’t normally expect good Orange Chicken from a place like this, but they have achieved something magical here.
Worst menu item: Chicken Egg Roll
Sadly, I can’t say the same thing about the egg rolls. They’re not terrible, it’s just that, you can get a better egg roll at your local Chinese takeout, and for cheaper.