Panda Express Hot Orange Chicken review: A not-so-daring twist on the OG

Don't worry, spice-averse Panda Express fans. You'll be fine.
Panda Express, Hot Orange Chicken
Panda Express, Hot Orange Chicken /

Panda Express got a headstart on the summer season by turning up the heat on the fan-favorite dish, the Orange Chicken. Or, should we say, an attempt was made? Did Panda spice things up too much, just right, or not enough? We ran to try out the Hot Orange Chicken this past weekend for ourselves (shout out to Panda for the gift card) to share all the hot-hot details! 

If you are just now learning about the spiciest foodie news so far this summer, Panda Express decided to throw our tastebuds for a spin with a spicy version of the iconic Orange Chicken. It’s the same chicken we know and love, but with six scoops of crushed chilis and a ladle full of dried chilis. To compare, Panda shares that these are the same chilis it uses in the Kung Pao Chicken dish. Hyping things up even further was Panda Chef Adrian Lok, who took to social media to share the preparation of this new offering. 

Now, I can’t say I am a huge fan of spicy foods. You may find me adding a tiny amount of hot sauce to a plate or two, maybe even catch me with a small bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos in hand (that I never finish), but nothing more! This is why I thought I would be reaching for my drink after the first few bites of Hot Orange Chicken. I’m sad to report this was not the case with the Hot Orange Chicken. I can best describe it as mildly spicy at best! 

Panda Express, Hot Orange Chicken /

I sort of take this back, because this is only “sad” news to those who were expecting a truly spicy-hot experience. But if you are not into super spicy foods to begin with and are only searching for a fun, noticeable twist on a favorite, then the Hot Orange Chicken is perfect for you. Because don’t get me wrong, the HOC is really, really good. The spice does come through in giving the meal a special kick, but it’s just not the one spicy lovers are probably looking for. In all honesty, spicy food connoisseurs may not even be able to detect the spice.

As for me, I’ll definitely be ordering the HOC a few more times this summer, especially because it is only here for a limited time! That’s right, if you want to try this out for yourself, it’ll be available through June 23 or while supplies last.

Panda Express Hot Orange Chicken. Hot Orange Chicken. B. The Hot Orange Chicken from Panda Express does not live up to the spicy hype, but that's not necessarily a bad thing for most fans of the iconic dish..

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