Panda Express is Starting the Year of the Rooster With Free Chicken

chinese new year

The Chinese New Year is this Saturday, and fast-food chain Panda Express is celebrating the start of the Year of the Rooster with a fiery new freebie.

On Saturday, Jan. 28, every Panda Express in the U.S. will hand out red envelopes — each containing a coupon good for a free Firecracker Chicken Breast entree and a free 22-ounce Dr Pepper on a future visit.

The red envelopes will be available all day, and you don’t have to make a purchase to get one, according to a Panda Express representative.

Firecracker Chicken Breast is a temporary menu item that’s returning for a limited time. It features chunks of marinated chicken tossed in a wok with bell peppers, onions and a spicy black bean sauce. It’s… zingy.

Through Feb. 21, the chain will also give out free Chinese New Year celebration kits when you buy its Family Feast — three entrees and two large sides. Kits include a red table runner, Chinese New Year stickers, a dragon car decal, a “Know Your CNY” card game and two red envelopes.

Red envelopes are traditionally given out during the Chinese New Year as a symbol of good luck and prosperity. Panda Express has certainly enjoyed some prosperity, having expanded to 1,900 locations worldwide.

Your Turn: What do you think is in store for the Year of the Rooster?

Mike Brassfield ( is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. For personal reasons, he’s partial to the Year of the Pig.