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The Panda Express In Rosemead Has Secret, Chef-Driven Menu Items

A Panda Express, but not the one in Rosemead. (Photo by David Cornwall via Flickr)
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Rumors have long circulated that the Panda Express in Rosemead served secret menu items, but our friends at Eater LA have just confirmed that the off-menu, chef-driven specials at the Rosemead outpost do in fact exist. Nestled in a San Gabriel Valley shopping center a dozen miles east of downtown and just a stone’s throw from the company's corporate headquarters, the Rosemead Panda Express is a local flagship, testing out innovations that the company plans to roll out to its other locations, according to an earlier Eater post. The Pasadena-born and Rosemead-based chain of fast casual Chinese restaurants dominates as America’s largest Asian restaurant chain, and remains family owned.

Helmed by corporate chef Rui Xi, the secret Chinese menu items change weekly and are available on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Xi spent 21 years cooking in China before coming the the U.S., and has helped open 30 Panda stores worldwide. Eater reports that specials have ranged from mapo tofu to black bean spare ribs, and that Chinese bacon with long beans will be on hand today.

Hilda Vergara, a Panda Express employee who answered the phone today at the Rosemead location, confirmed that the off-menu items do in fact exist and that they are very popular, but said that she could not talk further because "we have a lunch rush."