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'American cai fan': Singaporean woman tries Panda Express for the first time

'American cai fan': Singaporean woman tries Panda Express for the first time
PHOTO: Screengrabs/TikTok/Mainetaiko

Everyone remembers their first time, especially if it was a satisfying experience of any kind.

Charmaine Sim has long awaited her first taste of American fast food chain Panda Express and when she found herself in Los Angeles, the 26-year-old Singaporean couldn't resist ordering some of its iconic dishes.

On Aug 20, Charmaine posted an almost four-minute long clip of her trying out Panda Express for the first time. 

"Y'all don't understand how long I've awaited for this," she said before unpacking her box of food. 


american cai fan tbh

♬ original sound - charmz ✨

If it wasn't evident enough that this was a milestone moment for her, Charmaine ensured not to eat anything too heavy prior to her Panda Express meal.

Who could blame her for being so excited? Panda Express is ubiquitous with American Chinese cuisine, and has over 2,200 locations, mainly in North America.

In the box was orange chicken, honey walnut shrimp, chow mein and fried rice. On top of that, Charmaine also ordered a serving of Beijing beef and crab rangoons (dumplings).

Now that's a feast fit for a king, or queen, in this instance.

Unfortunately, not every dish hit the mark.

Charmaine found the fried rice to be tasteless and was even more disappointed by the crab rangoons.

"Excuse me, where's the filling?" she asked rhetorically. 

According to Charmaine, Panda Express has a reputation for serving "good" rangoons but this fell short of what she'd deem as good.

The chow mein had a "bit more flavour" as compared to the fried rice and while Charmaine didn't exactly endorse the noodles, it was clear this was her preferred carb option.

Of the meats, orange chicken and Beijing beef took the crown as the memorable dishes.

The tanginess and overall tenderness of the orange chicken impressed Charmaine, and it was likewise for the beef dish.

"It's not dry which is quite impressive cause usually when you fry beef, it's going to get dry. But this one stays quite tender so very impressive," she said.

Last but not least was the fortune cookie, an American Chinese dining trademark.

The piece of paper fortune inside suggested that a business venture might be just around the corner for Charmaine.

She didn't seem to take it too seriously, and cheekily wondered if it might be time to quit her job. 

All in all, this "American cai fan" meal cost about US$18 (S$24.50) which might be off-putting to some Singaporeans.

But Charmaine simply echoed the famous words of US rapper Childish Gambino: This is America. 

She gets that "everything is expensive" in the States. Even then, she can't get over just how expensive the food is and will probably not be returning to Panda Express anytime soon.

AsiaOne has reached out to Charmaine for more information.

ALSO READ: 'Who goes ang moh country eat 'cai fan'?' Singaporean schooled for paying $20 for economy rice in Australia

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