Panda Express has partnered with Beyond Meat for a vegan version of its original orange chicken.
Officially called Beyond The Original Orange Chicken, the vegan dish is made with crispy breaded morsels of Beyond Chicken that are wok-tossed in Panda Express’ sweet and tangy orange chicken sauce.
The Beyond The Original Orange Chicken will launch at select test locations in the greater New York City and Los Angeles areas starting July 26th, making Panda Express the first national Asian American restaurant concept to serve Beyond Meat.
Panda Express, which has been serving its signature orange chicken since 1987, decided to develop a vegan version of the legendary menu item to cater to its customers’ demands for plant-based options and attract a new demographic looking for meatless meals.
“As the creator of The Original Orange Chicken, Panda has significant brand equity in this staple American Chinese comfort food,” said Chef Jimmy Wang, Executive Director of Culinary Innovation at Panda Express. “We know guests’ tastes and preferences have evolved and look to us for variety. So we co-developed Beyond the Original Orange Chicken with Beyond Meat to capture the irresistibly crunchy texture of our signature entrée, while still giving our guests a plant-based option of the dish they know and love.”
Wang added that “Beyond the Original Orange Chicken is the next step in the brand’s journey to offer more diverse and plant-based options, while still delivering comfort and crave-ability in innovative ways. He also acknowledged the fact that “creating a fresh new take on a classic favorite is a great and accessible way to introduce plant-based proteins” to their loyal patrons and draw in new customers.
Though the Beyond The Original Chicken will only be available at a limited number of test locations while supplies last, its sales performance will dictate Panda Express’ plans of a wider rollout. “With this regional launch, we’re gathering insights and learning how we can improve the guest experience with this brand-new product for a wider future rollout,” Wang said. “We are confident that people will love the new menu item.”
Once Beyond the Original Chicken launches on July 26th, all Panda Express locations offering the new dish can be found here.