Panda Express Brings Much-Needed Authentic Asian Cuisine to Campus


With Panda Express now open at the corner of Green and Wright, students have been eagerly awaiting the opening of its doors for the past few months. Many students are excited to finally have an authentic Asian restaurant on campus. Senior Ben Grant is especially looking forward to dining at the new restaurant. 

“Campus really has a shortage of high-quality authentic Asian cuisine, and Panda is gonna fill that glaring hole in Champaign’s eatery lineup,” said Grant, enthusiastically. 

While there are nearly a dozen restaurants on and near Green Street selling what they claim is “Asian” food, none can make the claim that they stick to traditional Asian recipes as closely as Panda Express. “The other Asian joints are so Americanized, it’s truly hard for my experienced palate to handle,” stated Grant. “My mother told me you can always tell how authentic an Asian restaurant is by looking around and seeing how many Asians are customers. The more Asians, the less authentic the food is. Like, they’re only in America for a while, why wouldn’t they taste our take on their cuisine when they can get the real stuff at home?” 

While some are upset that a restaurant with such fatty food is being put up at such a prominent place on campus, others point out that at least Champaign is expanding their culinary base by not placing a fast food chain like McDonald’s on the corner. “Having fatty foods is a trademark of Asian culture, and it’s really racist to claim that the food there is too fatty,” stated Rick Anderson, a junior at the university. “The oldest people in the world are all from Asia, and it’s due to their diets. This is all well-documented information. I’m surprised you guys didn’t do your research on this.” 

Anderson’s friend Dan Dewey corroborated his information, adding, “Asians have a much different intestinal structure that allows them to break down twice the fat that Americans can. It’s all about evolution, man, Darwin and shit.”

“Its really nice to see that there’s a lot of authentic ethnic restaurants that have popped up on Green Street over the past years—Antonio’s, Noodles, and now Panda Express. We’re really getting spoiled here,” Jenny Richards, a food science major, said. “If we could finally get a Taco Bell that would be amazing. Now there’s some authentic Mexican food.”

Many have questioned why it's taken so long for the campus to receive an authentic Asian restaurant with such a large international student body. Some have even made the claim that the university is trying to Americanize all foreign students, but the addition of Panda Express serves as a counterpoint to that argument. 

The Black Sheep decided that, in the spirit of true journalism, we should find somebody that was an international student so we could get their response on Panda opening on campus. “I’m so stoked, I love Panda,” raved Jeff Chang, a sophomore. “Their orange chicken is so good. I always get double. I’m surprised it took so long for one to be on campus!” But when asked how he felt about Panda’s authenticity as an Asian exchange student, Chang’s demeanor quickly changed. “I’m only an quarter Chinese, I grew up on pasta and hamburgers in Detroit. You people are fucking assholes.”

The Black Sheep apologizes to Jeff Chang for Banana Boy’s lapse of judgment. He has been removed from the staff.


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