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When did Panda Express start making Orange Chicken?

I have a friend who would likely choose Panda Express Orange Chicken as his last meal. He loves it that much. Arguably the most famous Panda Express dish is their Orange Chicken. While their menu has changed throughout the years, Orange Chicken has remained on the menu since it's creation.

Panda Express was opened in 1983 by Andrew and Peggy Cherng. The first location was at Glendale Galleria in Glendale, California. Panda Express co-founder and CEO Andrew Cherng says Chef Andy Kao developed the Orange Chicken dish in at one of the company's locations in Hawaii, modifying a bone-in chicken dish that was popular. Kao was classically trained in French cuisine and worked as Panda Express' executive chef. He said he was inspired by the flavors of Hunan Province, the dish features crispy chicken bites in a sweet and spicy orange sauce. The dish was introduced October 30, 1987.

Panda Express gained in popularity and on their 10th anniversary in 1993, they opened their 100th location, an eatery on the UCLA campus. Growing by leaps and bounds over the next 15 years, Panda express opened it's 1000th location in 2007 in Pasadena, California and reached $1 billion in revenue. Ten years later and another 1000 locations, Panda Express celebrated the 30th anniversary of their famous Orange Chicken in 2017. The restaurant chain sold 80 million pounds of orange chicken that year alone.

While I do like Panda Express Orange Chicken, and it WAS my favorite item on their menu, the introduction of their Honey Sesame Chicken has taken the top spot of Panda Express menu items. What about you?

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