Day: January 17, 2013

Green Panda Cafe

Any reader of this blog knows I love good food and finding great restaurants.  I take a special pride in hunting down hole in the wall places that have delicious food at low prices.  For instance, there is a little Japanese restaurant in Midvale called Nagoya Sushi in a strip mall sandwiched between a party supply place and a petsmart and it is so good!  Best tempura I’ve ever had.

Another good find is Bangkok Grill in Orem that has fabulous thai food but its also next to a party supply store (maybe a trend?) and a block behind a mall. I also love Diego’s Taco Shop in Provo.  The nacho’s are to die for and it is fresh, cheap and yummy.  My kind of place.

One more little find is Firehouse BBQ in Salt Lake.  It is sort of tucked away on 21st south but everything I’ve tried has been delicious. Even the sides which are usually lacking at BBQ places were superb.  Great pork, beef, chicken and the sauces aren’t too sweet.  Best BBQ in Utah and low prices.

Sometimes I think the more intriguing the location, the better the food. It’s easy to make good food in a spot close to an arena with tons of foot traffic but it takes real effort, and food has to be extra spectacular to be successful in some strip mall in Midvale. What are some of your favorite hidden gem restaurants?

Well, today I’d like to profile one of my newest finds- Green Panda Cafe, Provo

Last Fall I was driving to visit my sister Anna in Provo and we were discussing where to eat dinner.  Neither of us had any ideas and I happened to drive past a strip mall and I noticed a sign saying ‘The Green Panda Cafe’ and for some reason I was intrigued.  What does that even mean? I’ve never heard of a Green Panda let alone a cafe for them.  I said ‘let’s give it a shot’ and being the adventurous type she agreed.   (Trying hole-in-the-wall’s takes a certain degree of adventure because believe me they can be disasters but that’s part of the fun of it!).

green panda

The front of the restaurant is kind of dark and its hard to know if it is open or not but trust me it is! It is run by a husband and wife couple and she does all the cooking, he takes the orders.  She is Taiwanese and the place is always full of returned missionaries who served in Taiwan and they seem thrilled, so I’m guessing its pretty authentic.

I’ve been there 4 times and every time it has been a home run.  Everything is fresh and remarkably light for Chinese.  Tonight Anna and I had gyoza, cream wantons, curry, shrimp and chicken with noodles and pork buns.  So much food but so yummy! It’s not greasy or overly sweet like most Chinese food.

Plus they have steamed pork buns.  Ever since I went to Japan I’ve been searching for them and they are the best!  Light, flavorful, and so delicious! (sorry I need more food adjectives!).  They are special right now but I hope they never take them off the menu

Who can't like steamed pork buns.
Who can’t like steamed pork buns.

The other great thing about this place is it is a real bargain. $6.49 for a LARGE bowl of chicken, veggies and rice. $3.75 for a boba drink, $2.99 for 2 pork buns, $3.99 for gyoza.  A steal.  I couldn’t make it for that price if I tried.  And large helpings too!


shrimp and chicken choi mein
shrimp and chicken choi mein. An incredible bargain. Tons of shrimp, chicken, veggies, under $10!
cream cheese wantons
cream cheese wantons
kung pao
kung pao chicken. A favorite of mine. They use grilled chicken instead of fried in some dishes.
They have boba drinks of all flavors which take a little getting used to but I love
They have boba drinks of all flavors like these which take a little getting used to but I love

I really want this place to make it so spread the word and go check it out.  I know you will be impressed.

Green Panda Cafe

3220 North University Avenue, Provo, Utah