Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Panda House

"Chinese" food. We all know it's not authentic, that it's not real Chinese cuisine but that doesn't mean it can't be good. Even at it's worst, sometimes you just find yourself craving some indeterminate fried creature slathered in a soy based sauce and served with enough calories in the form of fried rice to keep you going for a full week.

I've always found the fast food Chinese restaurants a little distasteful. I mean, it's all fast food but I appreciate the illusion of authenticity put forth by tiny little hole-in-the-walls with names like the Lucky Dragon and the Golden Buddha. One such place is Panda House on Gate Parkway.

the house - sesame chicken

Affectionately called The House in order to avoid confusing it with that other Panda place over by the Town Center, this little restaurant embodies everything you've grown to love about Chinese take-outs. Bad lighting, a little griminess, one person who can speak English, and food made fast upon order. Please, don't read me wrong and assume any sarcasm in tone, I sincerely appreciate these qualities in certain restaurants and the overall ambiance they create. If you want uniformly sterile and banal experiences, go to one of the large franchises. If you don't mind a bit of grit or perhaps even enjoy it, then the local dive is the place to be. And besides, they're nowhere near as dirty or awkward as some of the great little restaurants I've visited in third world countries.


But enough of my grandstanding, how about the food? Much of what you'd expect, I'd say, perhaps even a notch up from the typical Chinese take-out. I had been craving sesame chicken for over a month and this really hit the spot. Satisfying when fresh and, as an added bonus, it was even good the next day.

Sometimes the craving hits you and, while it may not come that often, it's impossible to fight. When the time comes, here's one place you can go… or not; they also deliver.

Panda House on Urbanspoon

Panda House
7643 S Gate Pkwy
Jacksonville, FL 32256
(904) 642-6333

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