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No. 1 Panda House

Posted by RPP 8 Apr 2008 13 Comments

So, one (out of three total) of the cool things about Chapel Hill is that there are a couple of neat local food blogs that have popped up. (In case you are wondering, the other 2 cool things are Jujube and Bonne Soiree.) On the recommendation of the folks at The Biscuit, I stopped by No. 1 Panda House (3808 Guess Rd).

No 1 Panda House - Outside

As was recommended, I ordered off of the “super secret” Shanghai menu. The lady taking my order was very friendly and helpful with explaining some items on the menu to me. Unfortunately, this place just didn’t do it for me.

I ordered the San Huang chicken (chicken served cold in a soy based sauce), and it was just OK (basically tasted like cold chicken in soy sauce).

I also tried the Lion’s Head Casserole, which was a huge pork meatball-ish thing. It had potential, but something about it caused me to not finish more than one of them.

The nice lady recommended the Sauteed White Fish with Wine Sauce, and this was by far the best food of the meal. However, it wasn’t good enough for me to eat all of it, and is not something I would return for.

The Durham/CH divide continues..


  • amkowalski said:

    Sorry things didn’t work out. I have to say those first two images look completely different from the same dishes when I ordered them. Much less appetizing.

    I don’t think No. 1 Panda House is the best Chinese place around; it just had some interesting things on the menu that I hadn’t seen before.

    Where’s your pick for Chinese?

    -The Biscuit


  • Carpe Durham/Reasonably Prudent Person (author) said:

    The take-out factor could be playing a role here. I agree it had interesting things on the menu, hence why I was more disappointed than usual. Thanks for the tip though, I have driven by it many times and am glad I finally stopped in.

    I wish I had a pick for Chinese. If I am having a huge craving I usually stop in at Handy Chinese on N. Roxboro, but it is definitely not a place I would recommend to anyone. What’s your favorite?


  • sc said:

    China Palace on Garrett Rd is a great source for a “secret” menu. Plus, their regular menu is usually above average too. (Its the unassuming building with the xmas lights at the intersection with old chapel hill road), http://www.mychinapalace.com/


  • Erin said:

    hm, i have a suggestion. can you make an “about us” page that would identify all of the bloggers (no personal info, just a little blurg! like who is YRP, etc?) and how yall decided to make a blog. and maybe a “contact us” section so i don’t have to leave these goofy comments on a post? :)
    yay, durham blogging!!


  • TSQ75 said:

    are you not a fan of Hong Kong on Guess?


  • Carpe Durham/Reasonably Prudent Person (author) said:

    I have only had the dim sum at Hong Kong. I should get around to trying their normal stuff too..


  • TSQ75 said:

    Its not too bad…and the real sit down places are so few and far between these days. I generally stick with their specials, generally much more interesting and creative than the standard menu. Reminds me much more of the Chinatown restaurant I would eat at as a kid in NY

    plus, they have Nigori/Unfiltered sake…which I likes :)


  • nick said:

    how much were those dishes at panda?

    china palace’s “secret menu” is a little on the expensive side.


  • Carpe Durham/Reasonably Prudent Person (author) said:

    The total for all 3 dishes was $22. The chicken was the cheapest of the three because it was an appetizer.


  • Lenore said:

    It’s too bad the Lion’s Head wasn’t better. When I had it at Mary Chung’s, in Cambridge, MA, last summer, it was delicious.


  • yvette said:

    Sad that no one has a strong (or even a mild) recommendation for Chinese in Durham. We are also from NYC and miss having chinese in regular rotation.

    I sometimes go to Bahn’s on Wednesdays for Vietnamese, I get the vegetarian special – tofu with sticky rice and broccoli on the side.


    ckb replies on October 14th, 2010 at 11:15 am:

    I second the strong recommendation for China Palace at Garrett Rd. and Old Chapel Hill Rd. A little bit of a hike from downtown Durham neighborhoods, buts its the best Chinese around that we’ve found so far. Still haven’t made it to Hong Kong house, though.


    TSQ75 replies on October 14th, 2010 at 3:53 pm:

    I like Hong Kong House on Guess rd. They do dim sum on the wekends, but you have to be there early!


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