Panda Express is a staple of American fast-food. One of the only chain restaurants in the country where you can find beef with broccoli and chicken lo mein simmering behind a plastic sneeze guard, Panda is a crucial component of any grease-lover's diet. Though David Chang has been a critic of the chain in the past, even the famed Momofuku chef has to admit that Panda's orange chicken is basically unbeatable in an airport food court.
Now, "America's favorite Chinese restaurant" is making it even harder to skip out on that orange chicken by introducing a potentially game-changing utensil: the "Chork."
The news of the new chopstick-fork hybrid was first reported by Lisa Jennings, the West Coast bureau chief of Nation's Restaurant News, though she was quick to point out that Panda Express was only considering the new product, and that there are currently no plans to roll out the utensil nationally. Still, if and when the Chork is released, it could make life easier for chopstick-fumbling restaurant-goers, enabling them to successfully scoop up piles of hard-to-handle vegetable fried-rice with minimal embarrassment.
Though the Chork is clearly influenced by the Spork—a spoon-fork mash-up popularized by KFC—the utensil is really just a glorified set of plastic tweezers. Still, a plastic tool that allows customers to both stab chunks of chicken and delicately snatch pieces of walnut shrimp of their plates possesses a kind of subtle ingenuity.
Not everyone appears to be on-board with the Chork, though.
And, of course, some concerned citizens just think the name could be better.
News of the Chork trickled out slowly on Wednesday, but was largely eclipsed by another grand announcement: the addition of the restaurant's new menu item, General Tso's Chicken. Available at Panda Express only through December 27, the item has long existed on Chinese-American restaurant menus, and inspired the popular 2014 documentary The Search for General Tso.
Panda express later issued a statement to First We Feast on the status of the Chork, teasing that the utensil may make its way into restaurants at some point in the future.
"Chorks were introduced to the public during the launch of the dish yesterday," the statement reads. "The tool is a perfect way to illustrate the mashup of American and Chinese cultures—just like Panda Express. Chorks are a unique utensil that elevate the way people experience their food. While Chorks are not currently available at Panda Express locations, there is a possibility that they will make their way into stores in the future."