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Ramses Ordonez
English 115
Professor Lawson
31 October 2014
Places and Spaces Essay (Final)
Word Count : 1821
The Default Chinese Restaurant
Today many people, especially in the United States, want to get everything done quickly
whether it be in school, getting to a certain destination, etc. Similarly, not only are people
receiving and processing information quickly, such as from the Internet, but these people are also
accustomed to receiving their food in the shortest amount of time possible. This fast paced
lifestyle is appropriate to how the world is advancing for the time being. There are many cases
when this lifestyle begins to affect the everyday meals that people eat. This accelerated lifestyle
compels people believe the thought process that taking things slowly is incorrect or not
appropriate. In these situations, the nation should step back and look at the bigger picture
pertaining to the food being eaten in their everyday lives. The issue that Americans should take
some time to think about and consider is the issue of fast food. The idea of a fast food restaurant
such as Panda Express is to cater and provide a service that is convenient for the buyer, as well
as a service that is convenient for the seller. A fast food restaurant that carries out most of these
traits is a certain Panda Express establishment in the heart of Granada Hills. Most customers
order at this location despite discerning the grotesque ingredients and cooking methods that are
implemented in their food because of their fast paced lifestyle and the convenience given to
them.

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The idea that the Panda Express lies within the heart of Granada Hills provides it a huge
advantage in terms of providing for the customer. The Panda Express is walking distance from a
high school known as Granada Hills Charter High School, which has a population of over four
thousand students. The fact that the Panda Express is established so close to a high school allows
for a high potential of incoming business. The students there are already accustomed to a fast
paced environment where food is cooked within minutes or already set out to eat. Panda Express
takes advantage of this common trait and sees students as a chance for revenue. The
establishment also understands high school students are not likely to have jobs and are therefore
inclined to spend their money on cheap fast food rather than relatively expensive food that is
cooked to order when hungry. According to an online survey done by the Federation of
American Societies for Experimental Biology, Eighty-four percent of students consumed fastfood with 54% eating it at least once a week. The survey focused on how many college students
consume fast food on a regular basis. Even though college students are more likely to work than
high school students, the factor that impacted the choice between fast food and healthier the most
was the low cost of fast food. Not only is Panda Express attracting the students, but it is also
attracting the parents and families of the students to eat there as well. The area near this Panda
Express is clustered with fast food chains such as Carls Jr., Starbucks Coffee, Baskin Robbins
and the like. The area is just a trap set by the corporate companies to coax people into buying the
cheap, harmful food that they provide.
Panda Express sells for a variety of ethnicities and types of people. Panda Express does
not explicitly sell only for Asians because it was made to be a business rather than a traditional
Chinese restaurant. Panda Express is made for all ethnicities that are looking for a fast paced
environment where they can quickly buy food and leave without having to wait. Unlike many

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other fast food chains, Panda Express claims to be a Gourmet Chinese Food restaurant on their
receipt and logo displaying a panda. This is very ironic given the fact that the establishment was
made to cater for all backgrounds and that they changed their food in order to accommodate the
different preferences of these many different ethnicities. A better phrase for Panda Express food
rather than Gourmet Chinese Food would be Americanized Chinese Food, which actually is
not Chinese food at all.
The inside of Panda Express clearly resembles the sly motives for its establishment. Upon
entering the fast food restaurant, the first thing a person hears is the sound of the frying pan
hitting the grill and the sizzling of the food. Everything that is laid out within Panda Express is
displayed for a reason. The reason for the sound and view of the chef cooking the food is to
establish the idea that the food is freshly made and it has not been sitting out on the counter for
the past few hours. The sounds are there to give an opportunity to the customer to believe that
the food really is fresh when the customer already knows that the food probably is not. The
constant sound of cooking is also there to allow for a very comfortable atmosphere where the
customers can talk and have conversations without the idea of having an awkward silence. The
next thing usually noticed is the constant sound of conversation by those who are eating and the
line of seven people or so that are waiting to order their food. The air, thick with a sweet smell,
lingers throughout the inside of Panda Express, which can only be described as a necessity for
this restaurant. The smell is what truly persuades the customer to buy food in Panda Express.
Generally, the only reason why a person enters into a Panda Express is to eat inexpensive
Chinese food. The irony in this is that the Panda Express version of Chinese in this Granada Hills
branch is a sad copy of what a Chinese restaurant actually is. The restaurant knows that the
customer usually only comes for the food and does not regard the dcor at a high standard. As a

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result, establishment only needs to satisfy the minimum requirements to be considered a Chinese
restaurant. These aspects of China that Panda Express gives to the customer is a single Chinese
portrait depicting a temple, Chinese font on their display menu, and their replication of Chinese
food. The entire atmosphere seems to be Americanized. The single Chinese portrait lies in the
back of the fast food restaurant near the restrooms. Not many customers will be able to see the
Chinese portrait but they will see the rest of the portraits that depict the special food deals of
Panda Express scattered throughout the eating area. Despite Panda Express claiming to be a
Gourmet Chinese Food restaurant, there are not many employees who are of Asian ethnicity.
Out of all the employees working in this restaurant on weekday afternoons, there is only one
Asian employee while there are two White employees and three Hispanic cooks. It should be
noted that the single Asian and two White employees are all female and they all work on taking
the orders of the customers and working the register. Usually one would expect to see a few
more employees of Asian ethnicity to work in a restaurant that serves Chinese food.
Furthermore, not many Asians go to eat at Panda Express according to a recent observational
study done by the author. The study discovered that less than twenty- five percent of those who
eat at this particular Panda Express are Asian and over fifty percent are Hispanic. One would
think that Asian people prefer to dine at a gourmet Chinese restaurant but in this case, it seems
that Hispanics fit that criteria better than them.
Some may say Panda Express is significantly healthier than other fast food
establishments. There are in fact options on the Panda Express menu that cater for those who are
looking for healthier choices however, these options are not ones that are highly consumed.
According to Panda Expresss nutrition facts from the fast food nutrition website, the healthiest
menu items from each food category are the steamed rice, the mixed veggies, the mushroom

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chicken, the string bean chicken breast, the broccoli beef, and the peppercorn shrimp. The mixed
veggies are the healthiest with only 35-70 calories. Sadly, not many customers buy this item
often or the other items stated previously. The food that is considered healthy sits on the counter
for hours until someone buys it. By the time a customer orders it, the food might not be
considered fresh anymore. Nonetheless, food that is frequently ordered, such as the famous
Orange Chicken or the Beijing Beef, is constantly being cooked. This type food is packed with
calories with the Orange Chicken at 420 calories per serving and the Beijing Beef at 690 calories
per serving. For some perspective, according to McDonalds USA Nutrition Facts for Popular
Menu Items, a McDouble is at 390 calories while the Beijing Beef is almost twice that amount of
calories. McDonalds food items are considered to be one of the worst choices of food a person
can consider eating. The fact that both the Orange Chicken and Beijing Beef contain more
calories than the McDouble reveals the unhealthy nature of the popular food choices in Panda
Express.
Due to the fast paced environment, Americans feel the need to eat at fast food restaurants
such as Panda Express. Everywhere, whether it be at school or getting to work, people are
rushing to get where they need to be and do what they need to get done. People are cutting
corners and getting ahead of themselves even though they know it might cost them a great deal
such as the health effects brought in by eating fast food. Fast food is very convenient to eat when
in a hurry but many Americans eat fast food on a regular basis, which is definitely not healthy at
all. Giving a few more minutes in the morning to make some home made food or even spending
a little more to buy food that is made to order can really make the difference in the bodys health.
Panda Express is considered one of the healthier choices when comparing the establishment to
other fast food eateries. The fact of the matter is that not many customers order the healthier

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choices on the menu such as the mixed veggies or the peppercorn chicken. If a customer is
experienced with the right information of the menu items, Panda Express is appropriate to eat at
on an intermittent basis. On the other hand, Panda Express may not be the suitable restaurant to
go to when looking for traditional Chinese Food. The food presented is usually not cooked to
order and most of the food is packed with calories such as the Orange Chicken and the Beijing
Beef. The more nutritious alternative to Panda Express is the decision to home cook or order at a
traditional Chinese restaurant where the food is not sitting on the counter for a few hours; the
food is cooked to order.

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Works Cited
Haines, Carol ONeil, and Michael Zanovec. Fast-food consumption among college students
and their attitudes toward healthier fast-food options. The Journal of the Federation of
American Societies for Experimental Biology 940.4 (2010): n. pag. Web. 26 October
2014.
McDonalds USA Nutrition Facts for Popular Menu Items. McDonalds. 26 October 2014.
Panda Express Nutrition Facts. Fast Food Nutrition. Web. 26 October 2014.