An editor for a local newspaper in Manhattan, New York, who had never heard of Panda Express, was ridiculed on Twitter for an article he wrote about the popular Asian American restaurant chain.
Covering the opening of a Panda Express outlet in the city, The Village Sun’s Lincoln Anderson wrote: "Admittedly, it’s no Hane. Rather than a swanky sushi spot, it’s a self-described ‘fast-casual’ Chinese restaurant.”
The article further noted that the restaurant “describes its fare as ‘Chinese Flavors With American Tastes,’ if that makes sense. The chain’s 'all-time favorite' dish is 'Original Orange Chicken.’"
The article caught the attention of The Cool Down editor Alex Lasker, who posted excerpts of the piece on Twitter on Sept. 19.
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“Absolutely losing my mind at this article about the new east village Panda Express written by someone who has never heard of Panda Express in their life,” Lasker wrote in the now-viral tweet.
absolutely losing my mind at this article about the new east village Panda Express written by someone who has never heard of Panda Express in their life pic.twitter.com/vUFpgaYBk5
— Alex Lasker (@StateOf_ALaska) September 19, 2022
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Poking fun at the article, actor Jenny Yang wrote: “‘If that makes sense’ well f-k u very much too hahahahahahaha.”
Journalist Esther Tseng replied to Yang, “**stares in socal asian american food writer**”
"if that makes sense" well fck u very much too hahahahahhaha
— Jenny Yang (@jennyyangtv) September 19, 2022
Lasker added a poll in the thread asking the Twitterverse, “have you heard of Panda Express.”
have you ever heard of Panda Express
— Alex Lasker (@StateOf_ALaska) September 20, 2022
Based on the poll’s results, it appears that there are indeed people who have not heard of the restaurant despite its perceived popularity. Considered the largest Asian-segment restaurant chain in the U.S., Panda Express has over 2,200 locations across the country, 15 of which are in New York.
Lasker, a downtown New York City resident, told Today that she came across the article after looking up whether the new Panda Express location had already opened.
“I clicked on *that* link expecting some information on the grand opening date, and instead found what I would assume must be an AI-generated article,” she was quoted as saying.
Lasker noted that she posted the screenshots on Twitter after her co-workers found the article too funny not to tweet.
Many Twitter users similarly found the post amusing, with one commenter suggesting the article “belongs in a museum.”
Others defended Anderson’s article, noting that it’s statistically unlikely to run into a Panda Express, particularly in Manhattan due to its lack of malls and its numerous Chinese food options.
In a statement, Anderson addressed the “outraged and over-the-top Twitter posters,” admitting that he was not too familiar with the restaurant. He then explained that his paper is a “small start-up paper” that aims to "make a difference and help the community.”
“I think there are something like 24,000 restaurants in NYC, this isn’t a suburban town with one main street,” Anderson pointed out. “Again, many New Yorkers probably don’t have a clue what Panda Express is — or don’t care, no disrespect to Panda Express. Also, I didn’t recognize the names of a lot of the folks on the Twitter thread, which is another thing that makes me think a fair amount of them might not be local. But that’s OK, of course.”
Anderson further explained that his article was meant to express what a restaurant such as Panda Express would bring to his neighborhood.
“An active storefront there would improve that corner,” he shared. "That was really the interest and impetus for the article — rather than the wonders of Panda Express’s ‘Famous Original Orange Chicken.’”
Featured Image via Walk around New York