In Pasadena, Calif., Chinese American fast food chain Panda Express is currently testing a trendy new concept that's somehow Chipotle, Teavana, a mom and pop boba shop, and good ol' fashioned Panda all at once.
Just opened last week, the Panda Express Innovation Kitchen looks like the love child of Panda Express and one of the newer, sleeker Starbucks-es. According to Los Angeles Magazine, there's a tea bar serving up a bevy of hot or iced teas, fruit teas, milk teas, all the requisite add-ons like boba and egg pudding, as well as a Chipotle-esque assembly line that lets guests compose their own rice, chow mein, or salad bowls, or scallion pancake "burritos."
In case the name didn't give it away, the key here is innovation, meaning nearly all Panda toppings are on the table, even, as LAMag illustrates, fried rice and Orange Chicken. Yes, in a "burrito." Yes, like mothereffing Kogi Truck. Sure, you could just snooze it up with an Eggplant Tofu salad, but we doubt you'd be on this site if you would.
As of now, there's no news of Panda Express 5.0 making its way outside of Pasadena, but it probably wouldn't be a bad idea if it did.
As for us, we'd like to order a Double Wide with Honey Walnut Shrimp and Orange Chicken and chow mein and fried rice and cream cheese rangoons. Washed down with an Orange Chicken milkshake, of course.
H/T + Picthx LAMag, Yelp