• Have it your tasty way at Panda House Stir-Fry

    Rating: 50

    By Cathalena E. Burch
    Arizona Daily Star

    Danny Yee, owner of Panda House Stir-Fry, cooks meats and vegetables.

    Panda House Stir-Fry is a dream come true for finicky Chinese food connoisseurs. You know who you are- the diners who throughout the mealdebate and dissect the dishes, noting what you would do and why.

    Here's your chance. The Panda House all-you-can-eat stir fry buffet ($8.99) spreadsout the fixings (meats, veggies, homemade sauces) and turns the creative proccess over to you. Of course, you don't get to getbehind the stove. Panda House has cooks who will fry it all up in a giant flat wok that's hot enough to cook the dish fast and preserve the nutrients and fresh flavors. Or so Panda House boasts.

    You can take the safe route- mix finely shredded beef, pork and chicken with soft lo mein noodles, a handful of celery, green onions, mushrooms and carrots with a splash of the house special soy-based teriyaki sauce. If you like it hot, the cook can add a dash of Chinese chile sauce.

    Or you can get especially creative: Add a splash of rich ginger and garlic sauces toss in a few mushrooms, thinly sliced zucchini and a few brown onions, and ask the cook to add a little heat. The layered flavors accentuate the freshness of the meats and veggies, finishing with that slight burn that tickles your tonsils.

    Because it's all you can eat, you can experiment with various combos. The friendly staff at the 8 1/2 year old, unassuming strip-mall eatery also may have a few suggestions.

    If your not that creative, let the cooks take over on the mixed stir-fry, which includes all three meats, veggies and the special sauce.

    The Panda House also offers traditionial Chinese dishes and goodies, including the sampler hors d'oeuvres ($8.95, large enough for three adults). It comes with two crispy egg rolls-the tightly wound type made of the thin won tonwraps and stuffed with crispy, julienned veggies- four meaty sesame wings in a sweet sauce and a half dozen crispy crab puffs filled with a delicate cream cheese.

    The cashew chicken entree ($9.25) boasts a genorous portion of cashews and sautéed, meaty chunks of chicken in a light soy and plum sauce. The dish is packed with cubed carrots, peas and large chunks of water chestnuts that provide a crunchy balance to the fluffy white rice served on the side.

    The sesame chicken ($9.25) is out-of-this-world good. The lightly breaded, deep-fried chicken chunks are moist and tender beneath the sticky, sweet homemade sauce topped with sesame seeds.

    The portions are big enough that you'll find yourself eating leftovers the next day, which, if you opted to make your own stir-fry, will truely test your ability to master Chinese cooking. If it tastes hust as yummy on Day 2 as it did fresh, you've succeeded. If not, you may want to leave the cooking to those who know best.