Panda Express worker dumping chicken and peppers into hot wok (l) Panda Express building with sign (c) Panda Express worker using wok to cook sweet fire chicken (r)

JHVEPhoto/Shutterstock @sonoraq/TikTok (Licensed)

‘No need to go to panda now’: Panda Express worker shares how they make Sweet Fire Chicken

'I got honey walnut shrimp In the drafts.'


Melody Heald

Internet Culture

Posted on Jan 12, 2023

In a viral TikTok, a Panda Express worker shared how the American-Chinese restaurant chain makes its Sweet Fire Chicken.

TikTok user Nora (@sonoraq), who typically posts about her job at Panda Express, uploaded the video on Jan. 9. It amassed 3.4 million views as of Jan. 12.

In the video, Nora showed that making the chicken starts with two scoops of diced pineapples. She placed the pineapple chunks into her pre-oiled wok and stirred as smoke began to rise — though she wasn’t sure why.

While the pineapple was cooking, she added two cups of the Sweet Fire sauce to a large scoop. Usually, the dish only calls for a cup to a cup and a half, but Nora said she typically adds more.

“That’s just me,” she said.

After mixing the pineapples and sauce, Nora took some chicken from a fryer basket and added it to the mix along with onions and bell peppers. She stirred the ingredients while they cooked and placed them in a separate pan when they were done. Nora ended the process by scooping water into her wok to clean it.

@sonoraq I got honey walnut shrimp In the drafts I just don’t wanna edit it rn 🤣 COMMENT YOUR FAVORITE PANDA MEAL #pandaexpress #fyp #usa #viral #cooking ♬ original sound – Nora Q

In the comments section, many users expressed that the dish is their favorite menu item at Panda Express.

“The sweet fire chicken is my favorite,” one user wrote.

“Sweetfire is my jam,” a second agreed.

Some viewers offered Nora explanations for why the food pineapples get “a little smokey,” as she put it.

“The water in the pineapple is turning to steam,” one viewer explained.

“The smoke will be from the oil you use most likely, Some oils have higher smoke points then others,” another offered.

Other users complained that their Panda Express locations no longer serve Sweet Fire Chicken.

“At the location i go to they dont even have sweet [fire] chicken, or sesame seed chicken. my 2 favorites,” one viewer shared.

“Same they don’t have sweet firey chicken here in Oakland ca . Bay areaaaa,” a second echoed.

“They don’t have sweet fire where I’m at :(( the honey sesame a good replacement tho,” a third wrote.

According to Delish, some Panda Express locations stopped serving Sweet Fire Chicken because the company restricted its menu during the pandemic to make things easier for employees.

The Daily Dot reached out to Nora via TikTok comment and Panda Express via contact form.

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*First Published: Jan 12, 2023, 5:03 pm CST