There’s no doubt that there are tons of great Chinese restaurants to choose from in Bangkok, but for this California boy there really hasn’t been a place to satisfy my craving for American Chinese food. Sure, there’s a few places that offer British or Indian Chinese…but I’m talking about American Chinese–think Panda Express. It just didn’t exist in any satisfying way until now that Lazy Panda (official Facebook page) hit the Bangkok food scene. All dishes are made to order so in both taste and portion size Lazy Panda puts Panda Express to shame.
For this visit I dragged along my friend, fellow Bangkok foodie, and gifted hand model, Paul Masa. I’d say it’s a coincidence that Paul was Lazy Panda’s first customer…but Paul floats around the Bangkok scene eager to be the first through the door of interesting restaurant openings. I could think of no better person to chow down with!
It’s no exaggeration that in our effort to explore Lazy Panda’s menu we had a veritable feast. The customer reviews are true. The portion sizes are HUGE. But see for yourself…
About the menu…
Lazy Panda’s menu is broken down by single boxes (a main and side), combo boxes (a couple of mains and side OR a main, side, and appetizer), and a la carte which are boxes of any main dish or side dish. Regardless of dine in or delivery you’re going to get your food in boxes. It’s called Lazy Panda–they’re not washing your dishes here. However, for dine in guests, you do receive paper plates so that you can divvy up the food.
For the visit we ordered a single box, a couple of combo boxes, an a la carte, and some appetizers. The result was a very fair sampling of their menu…and an insane amount of leftovers in my fridge.
Let’s kick it off with a combo box with 2 of their most popular dishes and my personal favorite’s…
General Taos Chicken & Mandarin Beef Combo
There are 15 combo box options on the menu. If you’re dining in don’t be afraid to make one of your own, though. That’s what we did with this General Taos Chicken, Fried Rice, and Mandarin Beef combo (240 baht).
One thing you’ll notice right away with Lazy Panda’s chicken dishes, they don’t skimp on the yard bird. These are huge chunks of golden battered white meat chicken. The General Taos Chicken is slathered in a rich sauce with hints of rice wine and white vinegar that give it a wonderful tangy bite. Soak up that sauce with either the fried or white rice…don’t waste it!
This is actually the best Mandarin Beef dish I have ever had. The thin strips of beef are spicily marinated overnight and the results are incredibly tender melts in your mouth goodness. It’s hard to believe this was cooked in a wok…the intense flavor and tenderness of the beef could be convincingly made souse vide. Loaded with fresh vegetables and a delicious shrimp shell based shacha sauce, this is a dish I highly recommend!
Orange Chicken & Kung Po Chicken Combo
For all of the combo meals you can get fried rice, white rice, or vegetable Lo Mein (for an additional 30 baht). This Orange Chicken & Kung Po Chicken combo (240 baht) is best accompanied with plain white rice to capture the sauces from both mains.
This Orange Chicken is rocking some serious citrus flavor. Made with little slices of of juicy orange, the sauce itself is also made with orange zest. A tip: to really appreciate the citrusy goodness in this dish eat something with a little heat beforehand. Why not try the Kung Po Chicken first?
One of Lazy Panda’s more fiery dishes, and an American Chinese classic, is the Kung Po Chicken. The chicken is first blanched before it hits the hot wok. This does two things: it makes sure that the chicken gets cooked thoroughly and it locks in all the flavor and juices. The result is a super tender bird!
Tossed with a sweet and spicy modified hoisin sauce with crunchy peanuts, big chunks of fresh veggies, and spicy chillies this is a dish I’d also highly recommend!
Eggplant Tofu Single Box
Are you a vegetarian (or just trying to cut back on meat)? Lazy Panda’s got you covered. This Eggplant Tofu single combo (220 baht) is chock full of huge chunks of tofu and eggplant with other veggies cooked with a tasty hoisin and oyster sauce. If you’re a fan of firm tofu you will certainly enjoy this. I personally prefer a more silky tofu, but I get the impracticality of the more creamy tofus in this dish. A wok isn’t exactly a gentle place to cook and you need a heartier tofu to withstand it.
Chicken Lo Mein A La Carte
Pssst….want to know a secret? If there’s a particular dish that you really enjoy then order it a la carte. These boxes are freaking bottomless. You will definitely get more bang for your baht!
Since we ordered all of the combo boxes with rice I wanted to give this Chicken Lo Mein (220 baht) its day in court. The verdict came back unanimously: DELICIOUS. Big chunks of chicken, plenty of veggies, and thin noodles that were cooked and coated in sauce perfectly. Most impressive–NOT oily!
If you want to round out your American Chinese meal experience I highly recommend this dish ordered a la carte. I assume you won’t mind having leftovers. A handy tip: order a condiment of their homemade spicy chili oil (4 baht). It’s fantastic if you want to spice up these noodles!
You can also order this sans chicken with their Vegetarian Lo Mein (100 baht for small side or 200 baht for large a la carte) option.
(Update Jan ’21): New Menu Items!
Since writing this article, my gal and I have been ordering our favorite hits from Lazy Panda (usually on a lazy Sunday) for home delivery. But I was recently informed that they’d added some new items to their menu. A revisit was a must. After enjoying an amazing feast, and filling my freezer with plenty of takeaways, I felt that an update to this article was necessary. Since they were enjoyed a la carte I’ve chosen to update this section.
These are two new dishes on their menu that I highly recommend. Two new dishes you just HAVE to order the next time you’re craving Lazy Panda…
Hong Kong Style BBQ Pork
This new menu item is a game-changer for Lazy Panda. The absence of BBQ Pork (or what my gal calls “red pork”) from their menu was a little disappointing. But their orange chicken and sweet and sour shrimp kept us loyal. That being said, we were pretty thrilled to see BBQ pork on the menu now!
This BBQ Pork (120 baht) is one of those appetizer dishes you can’t live without. The meat is so tender and juicy you could cut it with a chopstick. Smothered in their signature honey BBQ glaze this pork satisfies any meatatarian’s sweet tooth.
If you celebrate porcine deliciousness you can also find this bbq pork in their Kung Pao BBQ Pork (255 baht), BBQ Pork Broccoli (255 baht), Szechuan BBQ Pork (255 baht), BBQ Pork Fried Rice (180 baht), with shrimp in their House Fried Rice (220 baht), and in this second dish, I highly recommend, Singapore Noodles (250 baht).
Singapore Noodles has a peculiar origin story. It originated in Cantonese restaurants in Hong Kong, the creation of a gentleman from Taiwan. This dish actually has no connection to Singapore. But its popularity in Hong Kong is huge!
One bite of Lazy Panda’s Singapore Noodles (250 baht) and you’ll understand its popularity. The curry powder seasoned stir-fried vermicelli noodles, fresh veggies, shrimp, and BBQ pork are a flavor explosion. The dish is also a meal in itself, and there are a few meals packed into these la carte boxes.
Appetizers can be ordered as a part of the combo meals or on their own. We chose to order them on their own so we could sample more mains with the combos. We stuck to the American Chinese classics: egg rolls and crab rangoon.
The Crispy Chicken Egg Rolls (80 baht/2 pcs) are a satisfying accompaniment to the meal. Certainly a change from the “probably was frozen before spring rolls” that I’ve grown accustomed to receiving in Bangkok. What I really loved was the familiar pink sweet and sour sauce that came with it! The lemon based sauce is homemade and it’s so good I’d eat a chicken bone if it were dipped in it.
My favorite appetizer was the Crab Rangoon (65 baht). The wonton skins are homemade and filled with cream cheese and imitation crab. They’re pretty big so if you don’t want to extend your jaw to take them in one bite pull them in half. For real American Chinese food enthusiasts doesn’t that pink sweet and sour sauce just warm your heart?
A chat with the owner…
During the visit I had the opportunity to chat with James, the proprietor of Lazy Panda. Originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota, James had been in the real estate market “flipping” properties when the market had begun to recede. In 2017 he visited Bangkok and after a month in the Big Mango he decided to wait out the recession here. So after packing up his things and securing a year long student visa, he returned to Bangkok.
One thing he noticed during his time in Bangkok was that there simply wasn’t anything to scratch his itch for American Chinese food. More than just a craving…a taste of home. His mother (Lorna) and father (Peter) had owned 7 American Chinese restaurants throughout the “skyway” connecting the buildings of downtown Minneapolis. Their food and service was so good they effectively monopolized the busy lunch crowds wanting American Chinese food. Let’s just say James knows this cuisine well…and it’s absence in Bangkok’s food scene was keenly felt.
Lazy Panda is born…
After polling the expat community James sensed an opportunity. When Lorna and Peter visited him they were equally on board with his idea: bring American Chinese food to Bangkok. They’d already sold off their restaurants and were finding retirement to be just a little bit boring. Lorna was eager to get behind a wok again.
On July 11, 2019 Lazy Panda began serving legit American Chinese food in Bangkok. Their small venue is able to accommodate 17 diners, but the bulk of their orders come from delivery. They are available for delivery on the Line Man, GET!, Grab, and FoodPanda platforms. It was impressive watching a steady flow of delivery folks sporting various colored jackets popping in and out even though it was between 2-4pm on a Tuesday.
If you’ve been craving authentic American Chinese food in Bangkok, make room for Lazy Panda’s menu on your fridge!
I’m hungry. Where is it?
Lazy Panda is located on Sukhumvit Soi 31 about a 15 minute walk from the Sukhumvit MRT or Asok BTS station. Parking is limited in the area (just one spot at the location). But with so many delivery options it’s no problem to have their amazing food brought to you!
I want to hear from you!
Should you decide to visit Lazy Panda I’d love to hear your feedback in the comment section below, directly to me, or via message on either the Chow Traveller Facebook page or Chow Traveller Instagram. However you choose, I’d love to hear from you!