Over the years, there’s been a slow but fairly steady increase in fast food restaurants including vegetarian and vegan options.
Other than places like Taco Bell that allows you to substitute their vegetarian-friendly beans for meat, we saw places like Burger King add the Impossible Whopper to their menu, Starbucks and Dunkin’ add Beyond Meat breakfast sandwiches to their menus, and more. It isn’t a perfect system, because many of these items are still cooked on the same surface as standard meat products, making it questionable to claim the items are vegan.
I’m a strong believer that every fast food joint should offer at least a vegetarian and gluten-free option on their menu, no matter what food they serve. Before you say anything, only offering fries or a side salad that you have to pick chicken or bacon bits out of doesn’t suffice. At this point, there’s no excuse to deny options for those with dietary restrictions, especially for multi-million-dollar companies that have all the necessary resources to make it happen.
Thankfully, more and more companies are getting on the right page, like Panda Express.
Last year, Panda Express tested a new collaboration with Beyond Meat for a vegan orange chicken option. They tested this new entrée in a few locations in Los Angeles and New York, seeing how their customers react to the new option. Apparently, the reviews were positive because Panda Express is now offering their vegan orange chicken in every location in the US, but only for a limited time.
Keep in mind that there’s still possible cross contamination with non-vegan products, so don’t order this if that’s a deal breaker. I would love to see them make this dish a permanent menu item in every location, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
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