chinese/travel

The best Chinese food in America is in Las Vegas

Posted June 7, 2018 by Mike

A little over a decade ago the city of Las Vegas saw the signs of the times and consciously pivoted itself into a hardcore serious culinary destination. Pretty much everyone ridiculed the early attempts: far flung outposts of famous restaurants with menus dumbed down to the palate of the lowest common denominator, but over time Las Vegas has really came into itself as a restaurant city that’s hard to ignore.

It’s undeniable that a lot of people travel to eat these days, and it’s equally undeniable that for destination restaurants Las Vegas stands unique as a culinary experience in America, if not the world. There’s no other city that you can compare and contrast the strengths of In-n-Out vs Shake Shack vs Bouchon’s secret off-menu burger. If you’re not snobby about hidden hole-in-the-wall gems and local up-and-comers, Las Vegas is probably and rightfully already on your bucket list. But even with all the hype over its celebrity chefs and famous restaurants, there’s another side of Las Vegas that’s still a pretty well kept secret: it has the best Chinese food in America.

Good Chinese food is hard and expensive. Forget crab rangoon and egg rolls. Real Chinese food is made up of high dollar ingredients, labor-intensive preparation, and to-the-second execution. Mess something up and you can be sure Chinese diners will complain – and there are lots of Chinese coming to Las Vegas these days. Consequently if you want high end Chinese food in America (and especially if you want it in a nice room with good service) Las Vegas is the place to be.

Besides eating Chinese food when growing up, Steph and I have been lucky enough to have made multiple trips to some of the best restaurants in Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore, and more, and Las Vegas compares easily. We were also lucky enough to have the opportunity to stuff ourselves full of Las Vegas’s Chinese offerings when we recently visited, so without further ado, here were the highlights:

Beijing Noodle Number 9

Without a doubt, this was the most homestyle (in a good way) offering in Las Vegas, and by far the most authentic and relatable as an Asian person. The waitress was basically a stereotypical Chinese auntie. We told her I had a peanut allergy and she said “OK, you shouldn’t order this one, or this one, or this one. This one looks safe but some guy had it at the Wynn and he was on the ground before his meal was over. He almost died, better safe than sorry. How about you just eat vegetables?” In the end I convinced her to let me order a few super safe options. It was homey and heartwarming. The food wasn’t bad either, especially the noodles. The room is just as pretty as you see when you google it. This place has bad reviews online, but I feel that it’s just because people don’t understand they are going for a casual vibe. To be honest, this place was probably the most authentic of the 7.

Go here for: accessible casual Chinese food, staff with personality

Beijing Noodle No. 9
Caesars Palace
3570 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109, USA
10am-11:00pm (hours may change)
No reservations needed $

Beijing Noodle Number 9 | www.iamafoodblog.com

Beijing Noodle Number 9 | www.iamafoodblog.com

Beijing Noodle Number 9 | www.iamafoodblog.com


China Poblano

China Poblano is a really interesting restaurant, a Chinese restaurant by a chef famous for bringing Tapas to America. We went here because Mexican friends of ours told us that the carnitas tacos were better than in Mexico (they were really good). While we were at it we ordered dumplings and noodles. The tacos and more Spanish inspired part of the menu were great. The Chinese part wasn’t much to write home about, but you should go check out those tacos. If you have some anti-asian-food people in your group, this is a great place to ease into Chinese.

Go here for: fun, super accessible but not very authentic Chinese food.

China Poblano
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
Address: 3708 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109, USA
11:30am-11:00pm (hours may change)
No reservations needed $$

China Poblano | www.iamafoodblog.com

China Poblano | www.iamafoodblog.com


China Tang

Chinese people take fried rice really, really seriously, to the level of the Japanese and sushi or the Spanish and molecular gastronomy. Steph and I always talk about this fried rice we had one time (twice, actually, in one day) in Hong Kong, from a place called Ming Court that changed the way we thought about fried rice. China Tang’s fried rice was, for me, that level of fried rice. I would fly to Las Vegas for their fried rice.

China Tang is basically the epitome of what you’d find if you were rich and hungry in Hong Kong. Impeccable service and food, contemporary but with a nod to Chinese traditions and history, both in their dishes and decor. The cocktails were inspired, the signature hammer chicken was on fire, the xiao long bao came on tiny bamboo carriers so you don’t need good chopstick skills, and the beef chow fun was out of this world, but all of that pales to the fried rice.

Go here for: high end Chinese fine dining on the same level as what you’d find in Hong Kong

China Tang
The District, MGM Grand
3799 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109, USA
Weekdays 5pm-10pm
Fri-Sun 11:30am-10pm (hours may change)
Reservations Suggested $$$$

China Tang Review | www.iamafoodblog.com

China Tang Review | www.iamafoodblog.com

China Tang Review | www.iamafoodblog.com

China Tang Review | www.iamafoodblog.com

China Tang Review | www.iamafoodblog.com


Hakkasan

Hakkasan once poisoned me in their London location. We’re not talking food poisoning, we’re talking gave-me-food-I-was-allergic-to poisoning. Since then, I haven’t had much of a hankering to try another Hakkasan, but friends suggested that this was not to be missed, and they were not wrong. The service was ultra-competent but very friendly and approachable, the food was inventive but clearly based in traditional Chinese cuisine, and the sake list was a dream: Dassai 50 (some say it’s played out but I love it) for an extremely reasonable $46/bottle. Hakkasan probably won’t make you dizzy with excitement over any one dish (though the crispy prawn dumpling comes pretty close), but you will walk away remembering that everything was perfect. Also, they do a smoky cocktail called the Blood and Sand which is scotch, antica vermouth, umeshu, blood orange, and orange wood smoke, and if that doesn’t scream perfect I don’t know what does.

Go here for: inventive food, great service and room, the inspired cocktails, and the sake list

Hakkasan Restaurant
MGM Grand
3799 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109, USA
Weekdays 6pm-10:30pm
Weekends 6pm-12:00am
Sunday 6pm-11:00pm(hours may change)
You can probably walk in $$$

Hakkasan Las Vegas | www.iamafoodblog.com

Hakkasan Las Vegas | www.iamafoodblog.com

Hakkasan Las Vegas | www.iamafoodblog.com


Mr. Chow

Mr Chow has been on my list forever, it’s kind of the original high end Chinese in America, although the first Mr Chow opened in London. A lot of people think Mr Chow’s food is bad, including, famously, Frank Bruni in regards to the New York location. I haven’t been to those Mr Chows. This Mr Chow was just as fabulous as the rooms in Beverly Hills, Tribeca, and Knightsbridge are reputed to be, with a multi-hundred-thousand-dollar light installation that moves distractingly every few minutes, tableside champagne carts, and fresh noodle-making theatrics. The food at this Las Vegas location though, far from Frank Bruni’s assessment for the New York one, was (for me) perfectly executed. In particular, the lo mein was so good it changed the way I think about lo mein, and the Peking duck was one of the best I’ve had (Steph and I try to make it a point to order Peking duck whenever we can). The all important fried rice was perfectly done, and an understated highlight of the meal was the white fish with woodear mushroom. Service is as good as you would expect at a place that costs this much.

Go here for: noodle making theatrics, incredible food, people watching

Mr Chow
Caesars Palace near Rao’s
3570 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109, USA
Tue-Sat 5pm-10:00pm (hours may change)
Reservations highly recommended $$$$

Mr Chow Las Vegas | www.iamafoodblog.com

Mr Chow Las Vegas | www.iamafoodblog.com

Mr Chow Las Vegas | www.iamafoodblog.com

Mr Chow Las Vegas | www.iamafoodblog.com

Mr Chow Las Vegas | www.iamafoodblog.com


Wing Lei

Wing Lei is what happens when you have an unlimited budget and a fondness for Michelin-style food. It’s thoroughly modernized Chinese food, with foams and faux-dirt, which is not usually stuff I like (Steph has more of a tolerance for it than I do), but you can’t deny how great the room and service is. The service wasn’t stuffy and formal either, the staff were friendly, telling stories and joking with us. The garden lives up to its hype, we came around sunset and the whole garden (and room) was infused with a warm glow. There were moments of food brilliance too, such as a xiao long bao with truffle and gold leaf that was more delicious than it had any right to be, and probably the best xiao long bao I had all trip. We’ll be back to try the Peking duck next time we are in town.

Go here for: modern Chinese in a beautiful room, Michelin star service

Wing Lei
The Wynn
3131 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109, USA
5:30pm-9:30pm (hours may change)
Reservations highly recommended $$$$

Wing Lei Las Vegas | www.iamafoodblog.com

Wing Lei Las Vegas | www.iamafoodblog.com

Wing Lei Las Vegas | www.iamafoodblog.com

Wing Lei Las Vegas | www.iamafoodblog.com


It was all bar none some of the best Chinese food we’ve had and I can’t wait to go back.

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