Panda Express Honey Walnut Shrimp: What To Know Before Ordering

Panda Express is one of America's favorite restaurant chains. Set up like a Chinese hot bar with a wide array of Westernized Chinese cuisine, Panda Express is designed to meet your cravings for delicious salty, tangy goodness.

The restaurant chain prides itself on bringing people together with joy over dishes specially created to honor the flavors of Chinese cuisine. They view their core team, guests, and associates as family, and they are a classic family-run business that started with Master Chef Ming Tsai Cherng designing the menu and CEOs Peggy and Andrew Cherng managing the restaurant. Now, Panda Express has deeply impacted the way Americans eat Chinese Food. Chief Brand Officer Andrea Cherng, who is the granddaughter of the chef that changed everything, put it best in her statement on the company's values. "The dishes [my grandfather] helped inspire ... have become the definition of not only American Chinese comfort food, but simply American comfort food," she said, per Panda Express.

One of its top dishes is the Honey Walnut Shrimp. The dish has many devoted fans who swear by it and would never order anything else. Whether you're one of the menu option's biggest fans or if you've never tried it before, everything you need to know before ordering Panda Express Honey Walnut Shrimp is detailed below.

What is Honey Walnut Shrimp?

Honey Walnut Shrimp is a dish that has roots in traditional Chinese food, but has become a ubiquitous standard with a unique recipe in Westernized Chinese food. It is exactly what the name implies: shrimp with walnuts in a mayonnaise honey sauce. The Panda Express recipe coats the shrimp in a tempura batter, fries them up, and tosses them in a wok with glazed walnuts and their signature honey sauce that does not include mayonnaise.

Melissa Hung described how the dish likely originated in Hong Kong and was brought to the United States in the '80s and '90s (via Resy). The dish has become a phenomenon and can be found on many Chinese restaurant menus around the country. It has been available at Panda Express since 2010, when their version of it debuted to a hungry and excited reception. The dish even won the MenuMasters award for Best New Menu Item that year (via Panda Express).

How much does it cost?

The cost of your meal at Panda Expres depends on how you order it, what portion size you get, and location, but there are some standard rates for the Honey Walnut Shrimp at the different serving options. It is considered a premium entrée option with an extra charge, so it is a bit more expensive than the other typical offerings like Orange Chicken when ordered as part of a meal or bowl.

A small, medium, or large serving of just the Honey Walnut Shrimp by itself costs $5.45, $10.00, and $13.95, respectively. As part of the $20.00 family feast, expect to pay an extra $3.75 for Honey Walnut Shrimp. If you order it with a single plate or bowl, the price will increase $1.25. A Kid's Meal with this entrée will cost $6.15 (via Fast Food Menu Prices).

For the amount of food you get, these seem like fair prices that give you some bang for your buck.

Why does Honey Walnut Shrimp cost more?

The slightly higher cost of the Honey Walnut Shrimp at Panda Express is definitely one of the main downsides of ordering the dish and may leave some customers wondering why the extra price is worth it. This dish isn't the only one on the menu with an upcharge: Whenever there is a shrimp option at Panda Express, like the Honey Walnut Shrimp or the Firecracker Shrimp, the price includes the premium upcharge.

When asked on Twitter what the charge was for, the official Panda Express Twitter account explained it. The extra cost is meant to cover the difference in ingredient costs. The shrimp costs more than traditional entrée ingredients like chicken or vegetables, and this cost is passed onto the customer when they order the premium ingredient. This does make sense and is worth it for die-hard fans of the premium dishes or anyone with a specific hankering for the Panda Express shrimp.

What does it taste like and is it good?

The consensus on Panda Express Honey Walnut Shrimp is that the dish is very tasty and definitely worth ordering, although the price is considered to be a bit high.

YouTuber Big Daddy's World gave the dish an eight out of 10, as he enjoyed the flavor of the shrimp and the experience of eating it, but found the price to be a little bit high. Bite and Chew Food Review on YouTube also enjoyed the Honey Walnut Shrimp, commenting on the large size of the shrimp, the satisfyingly crispy coating, and the delicious and sweet flavor that didn't overwhelm with its sweetness. He also described the shrimp as tender and juicy and gave the shrimp itself a 10 out of 10 rating. The main negative in his review was also the high price point.

Not all the reviews were completely positive, however. Thrillist described the Honey Walnut Shrimp as goopy, overly sweet, and lacking in crispy crunch.

Nutritional information on Honey Walnut Shrimp

The Honey Walnut Shrimp at Panda Express is fairly healthy, although it's certainly not the healthiest food option. There isn't a total consensus on whether the dish is healthy or not. Eat This, Not That included it on the bottom of its list of healthy meals at the restaurant, but Very Well Fit named it one of the unhealthiest options. At the end of the day, it is a fried dish with sugar from honey, so it's not going to be considered a health food by any measure. The nutritional values for the dish are listed on the Panda Express website, along with similar information for everything else on their menu.

For a 3.7-ounce serving, there are 360 calories, 260 of which come from fat. The total fat is 23 grams, with 3.5 grams of saturated fat and 0 grams of trans fat. The cholesterol level of the dish is 100 milligrams. There are 35 grams of carbohydrates, including 2 grams of dietary fiber and 9 grams of sugar. The sodium content is 440 milligrams.

Bottom line, if you are looking to eat especially healthy, then the Honey Walnut Shrimp is probably not the ideal dish. If there's room in your diet for some wiggle room, then it could be a good choice.