Aside from its less-than-subtle logo and name mimicking a familiar American-style Chinese chain, Panda Kitchen is your standard local takeout joint, equipped with friendly service, comfort and styrofoam boxes packed to their limits with food.
Expect to see a steam table of Chinese fast-food staples: orange chicken, beef with broccoli, chow mein and fried rice. The Chinese-American menu offers all the classics and then some; there are three variations of stir-fry (shrimp, vegetable and beef), but stick with the Americanized combo plate that allows you to choose from one or two entrées. We recommend pairing the ma po tofu, a fiery Sichuan dish of bright-red chile-oil-slicked (think mala sauce) tofu with minced pork, and the curry chicken (a combination of green peppers, onions, large chunks of potatoes and tender chicken in a mildly spicy yellow curry sauce over steamed rice).
The prices here are a bit steeper than your basic Chinese takeout spot (a bento box combo will set you back $9.85), but the food is tasty and constantly replenished from the kitchen. And after 8 p.m., Panda Kitchen dishes up steaming orders of spicy beef noodle soup, wonton soup, noodle dishes and glistening spicy Sichuan wontons that can be added to your order à la carte or enjoyed as an entrée.
Given its close proximity to the Mouse House, Panda Kitchen is a great place to load up on generous portions of delicious American-Chinese favorites before hitting the park and waiting in those not-so-much fast-pass lines.
Panda Kitchen, 1770 S. Harbor Blvd., Ste 120, Anaheim, (714) 999-6888; www.pandakitchentogo.com.
Cynthia Rebolledo covers anything and everything food, culture and spirits.