Place: Pandasia, Interbay
On the plate: Per the menu: “The ultimate chow mein: assorted vegetables, shrimp, chicken, beef and two flavors of homemade noodles.”
Supporting cast/What to do: Just dig in and explore the noodle dish. There’s truly a bit of pandemonium in Pandemeinia, as there are so many ingredients to discover.
Noodling around: First of all, there are two types of noodles, which are made in-house. They’re both egg noodles, and one has spinach added for a little green color. These noodles are cut considerably wider than the typical Chinese noodle, sure to please wide noodle fans.
The proteins are easy to pick out, as you’ll find a few shrimp, plus pieces of chicken and beef. (Note: no panda.) It’s the assorted vegetables that are especially fun to figure out. The list includes broccoli, bean sprouts, onion, green onion, orange and green bell peppers, mushrooms, cabbage, carrot, celery, snow peas, water chestnuts, and bamboo.
Flavor-wise, there’s nothing particularly special about this dish. Standard stuff. The “pandemeinia” in your mouth manifests itself in the variety of ingredients, which is what makes this noodle dish interesting, though not necessarily “ultimate.”
If you want more: If you’re carbo-loading, you’ll like the Emperor’s Choice Potstickers (6 for $7.95). Like the noodles, they’re bigger than normal, and filled with minced pork, Chinese lapchong sausage, shallot, scallion, and black mushrooms, along with cilantro and garlic for seasoning–at least per the take-out menu. The dumplings weren’t to be found on the in-house menu, so you’ll have to ask for them if interested.
Be aware/beware: The restaurant calls itself The “New” Pandasia, with new owners and management, a new menu, and a remodeled dining room and open kitchen. The restaurant has been operating at this site as Pandasia since 1989. Claiming to offer pan-Asian cuisine, the menu is primarily Chinese. Dissatisfied with a previous visit many years ago, this was my first try at the “New” place. I only sampled these two dishes, so I can’t testify to the quality of the other food, but based on the noodles and other dishes I saw coming out of the kitchen, I’d say the restaurant isn’t worth any major detour. But if en route to Magnolia and craving Chinese food, you’re in position for a Pandamanic attack.
First published in Seattle Weekly’s Voracious on July 2, 2012.