ROSEMEAD, CA--(Marketwire -01/16/12)- Panda Express, the nation's leader in Asian dining experiences, will celebrate the 2012 Chinese New Year holiday and the Year of the Dragon on Jan. 23 with a free entrée serving of Firecracker Chicken Breast™ for Panda Express Facebook fans. Jan. 23 is the first day of Chinese New Year and starts a 15-day long celebration for the holiday. Firecracker Chicken Breast™ features delectable chicken breast with yellow and red bell peppers wokked fresh to perfection in a spicy black bean sauce. Firecracker Chicken Breast™ is a Wok Smart™ entrée with only 240 calories per serving. Facebook fans can download and print the free entrée coupon starting on Jan. 16.
"The Chinese New Year's Eve feast features ingredients that carry special symbolic meaning," explains Executive Chef Andy Kao. "Firecracker Chicken Breast™ is created with chicken because it represents prosperity and happiness, while firecrackers are a traditional part of New Year's celebrations -- according to Chinese folklore, Nian, a man-eating beast came into towns in search of people to feast upon. People used bright red decorations and firecrackers to scare Nian away to have a safe new year."
Firecracker Chicken Breast™ was released for the holiday on Jan. 4 and is available at participating Panda Express locations nationwide until Feb. 14, and will be on the restaurant's catering menu for hosting Chinese New Year parties.
Those born in the Year of the Dragon are said to be full of vitality, enthusiasm and are passionate in everything they do. The traditional Lion dances are performed, which, combined with the lighting of firecrackers, wards off evil and ushers in the New Year with good luck. On Chinese New Year's Eve, families come together to enjoy a delicious feast, which is so important that if a family member cannot attend, an empty seat is kept to symbolize their presence.
To honor the holiday, Panda Express is proud to offer its free Chinese New Year Learn with Me Program™ to all elementary schools across the nation. Geared for second through fourth grades, this child-friendly, interactive curriculum provides an instructional resource to encourage learning about one of China's traditional holiday celebrations. The Learn with Me Program served 305,000 students in 2011 and the goal is to reach 400,000 in 2012.
Each Learn with Me Program kit includes a Panda Express Year of the Dragon DVD, factsheet, a Jade Emperor's interactive game and activity sheet, a Chinese New Year decoration art activity, a Lai See activity sheet and bookmarks with a free kid's meal coupon.
About Panda Restaurant Group
Founded in 1973, with close to 1,500 locations in 42 states, the privately-held Panda Restaurant Group is the world's leader in Asian dining experiences. The successful chain of concepts includes Panda Express, Panda Inn and Hibachi-San. Panda Express is best known for its wide variety of original recipes including their famous Orange Chicken™, Beijing Beef™, SweetFire Chicken Breast™, Honey Walnut Shrimp™ and Kobari Beef™. For more information visit www.pandaexpress.com, or become a fan on Facebook.
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