Panda Express is working on its new plant-based menu offering, and it is now said to be testing two new dishes. The meals will expand the restaurant’s “meatless” menu that started with its Beyond, the Original Orange Chicken.
The American-Chinese fast food is testing two plant-based food items, and as per VegNews, these are the Mapo Tofu and String Beans. Both dishes will feature Beyond Meat’s beef. The tofu dish was described as spicy with a garlicky taste due to the added Sichuan garlic sauce.
The string beans also have a garlic sauce, but it is not too spicy. It is made with hand-cut fresh string beans and stir-fried in a wok. Panda Express is recommending ordering this veggie dish with Eggplant Tofu and Chow Mein.
Pande Express’ testing for the said vegan meals with Beyond Beef has started this week, and it will continue until Feb. 23. The trial is being carried out at its Innovation Kitchen located in Pasadena, California. The results of the test will determine if Panda Express could officially add the new plant-based options to its restaurant menu list.
“We are continuously looking for ways to innovate and provide new offerings to our guests and our Panda Express Innovation Kitchen serves as a living laboratory for exploring new menu items,” chef Jimmy Wang, Panda Express’ executive director of culinary innovation, told The Beet in a separate report. “Beyond the Original Orange Chicken was one of our most successful regional launches ever, and we are thrilled to be working with Beyond Meat to diversify our plant-based offerings with these new dishes incorporating Beyond Beef.”
As mentioned earlier, both the Mapo Tofu and String Beans are set to be served with Beyond Beef, but Panda Express does not claim that these new meals are totally vegan since they are prepared using equipment that was also used to prepare the other menu items in the restaurant.
Meanwhile, Panda Express’ first plant-based option, which is the Original Orange Chicken, was successfully launched in October 2021. The company said that the response to the dish was overwhelming, and it was completely sold out in all participating locations less than two weeks into its launch. The brand is also hoping for the same response with its new collaborative dish with Beyond Meat.