The Panda Chinese Gourmet 6080 Falls Road at Lake Avenue...

CARRY OUT

April 24, 1993|By David Zurawik

The Panda Chinese Gourmet 6080 Falls Road at Lake Avenue. Hours: Monday through Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday 1 to 10 p.m. Call: (410) 377-4228.

On a good week when there's time to cook, we probably have fried rice from the Panda only two or three times for dinner. This has been going on for about four months now, and I'm still not sick of the Panda's chicken fried rice. This is the highest praise I can think to give carryout Chinese. If two people are going to make a dinner out of it, go with the quart size for $8.50. Pints are $4.50.

The best carryout entree I've ever had at the Panda is sesame chicken ($9.25). It comes with steamed broccoli and is served in a sweet, light brown sauce. I counted 14 pieces of white meat, but I think my wife ate some on the way home.

For vegetarians, there's a sauteed mixed vegetables offering ($7.25) that includes carrots, broccoli, snow peas, baby corn, water chestnuts and a gooey sauce. The vegetables taste much better than the sauce looks. In fact, they make a nice little meal with a pint or so of chicken fried rice. Did I mention that I like the chicken fried rice a lot?

There's a full range of Sichuan -- beef, chicken, duck, shrimp, pork and string beans ($8.75 to $12). Even mild has a bit of an after-bite, but it's a sweet kind of bite. How come you can't get Sichuan fried rice anyway?

For an appetizer, stick with the fairly straightforward egg rolls (two for $3.10 ). The pan-fried dumplings (six for $5.75) tasted like pork sausage in a glutinous casing. Personally, I like a little chicken fried rice in a separate carton as an appetizer.

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