Why You Should Think Twice Before Getting Fried Rice At Panda Express

If you love Chinese food, chances are high that you've eaten at Panda Express at some point in your life. After all, the restaurant chain has over 2,200 locations across the country and is a mainstay at many food courts and malls. There are plenty of delicious Asian dishes to choose from on the menu, too. Orange chicken, chow mein, egg rolls, Beijing beef — no matter what you're in the mood for, if it's a Chinese takeout classic, you'll likely find it at Panda Express.

However, while a lot of the menu items at the fast-casual Asian restaurant come highly-rated by fans, there are some things that are questionable, not necessarily because of flavor but because of other shocking secrets. One of those dishes? The fried rice. A mix of rice, peas, carrots, green onions, eggs, and soy sauce, it may be one of the most popular sides when it comes to Chinese food. But according to employees, it is one of the things you should never order at Panda Express.

The fried rice at Panda Express has probably been sitting out

That hearty helping of Panda Express fried rice you're about to dig into might not be as fresh as you think (or as you'd like). In a Reddit thread, a Panda Express head cook revealed that the container of fried rice on the line only gets refilled when it's empty. In other words, if you noticed it was low when your server was scooping it out for you, it's probably been there for a while. In the same Reddit thread, a customer complained that their rice was hard and cold — and the cook responded that it was because it was basically getting stale. 

This can be avoided, however, if you go at peak times when the containers have recently been refilled. Also, the cook noted that you can always request for your dish to be re-made if you're unsatisfied with it or if you find it to be lacking in freshness.

Another Reddit user, who claimed to be a server at Panda Express, also advised against ordering the fried rice if you have a shellfish allergy. That's because the fried rice is right next to the Honey Walnut Shrimp, and in the lunch rush, some food gets dropped and mixed. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, shellfish allergies affect 7 million Americans, so you might want to think twice before digging into that fried rice.