Features

Savor the Asian flavor

Amid all the hype about celebrity chefs, hip bistros and inspired fusion fare, one thing often gets lost in the mix: Las Vegas has some of the best Asian food in the country. While local favorites such as Lotus of Siam continue to thrive, nearly every year a new Asian eatery opens up, staffed by chefs skilled in hand-pulling noodles, teppanyaki grilling and graceful sashimi-knife work. Here are your best bets for the traditional, the trendy and the simply divine.

Elegant and opulent, with views of Lake Bellagio and the famous water fountains from every window, Jasmine at the Bellagio is one drop-dead gorgeous restaurant. Head here for authentic Cantonese cuisine made with the freshest ingredients — the seafood arrives live from Australia twice a week. If you can only go once, check out the famous Fountains Brunch, serving up Cantonese delicacies and American classics in a live-action cooking station as the fountains perform on cue every 15 minutes. (www.bellagio.com/jasmine; 702.693.8166)

See and be seen at Koi in Planet Hollywood, where celebrities line up for over-the-top amazing Japanese-inspired fare with California accents. Signature dishes include crispy rice topped with spicy tuna, Kobe filet mignon Toban-Yaki, the spicy rock shrimp tempura hand roll and the baked lobster roll with creamy sauce. Equally delectable are the traditional and creative sushi and sashimi rolls. While this hotspot is sleek and stylish, sophisticated and hip, all of that takes a backseat to Koi’s food, which is as good as it gets. (www.koirestaurant.com; 702.454.4555)

At Aria’s Blossom, authentic fare includes a 100-dish lineup that has every Chinese foodie covered —from comfortable classics to trend-forward dishes from Beijing, Hong Kong and Thailand. Sample old-time standards like chilled marinated pig’s ear, marinated duck’s tongue and braised bamboo fungus; or the apparently en vogue braised sliced fresh abalone with fish maw (air bladder), and geoduck (giant clam) prepared in a shibu-shibu style. For the hard-core Chinese gastronome, over 20 hard-to-find specialty items can be procured with advance notice for off-menu enjoyment: fancy a cordyceps soup made from a winter “worm” fungus known to benefit the respiratory system, anyone? (www.arialasvegas.com; 877.230.2742)

Follow the locals and head for Ping Pang Pong, a favorite among the Asian community that consistently makes “best Asian food” lists across the country. Known for its regional Chinese specialty dishes, this low-key eatery inside the Gold Coast Casino is usually packed, especially during lunch hour. That’s when dim sum is served from Cantonese pushcarts wheeled through the restaurant, piled high with steaming plates of noodles and dumplings; more than 40 items are offered each day. (www.goldcoastcasino.com; 702.247.8136)

The prices are admittedly sky-high, but Hakassan, the new Cantonese restaurant at the MGM Grand most noted for its uber-cool megaclub, is nothing short of fabulous. Helmed by Michelin-starred chef Ho Chee Boon, Hakassan’s menu is approachable with an exotic twist. The duck salad will turn duck-haters into duck-lovers; the stir-fry udon noodle with shredded duck and XO sauce is positively addictive, as is the stir-fried black pepper ribeye beef with merlot. And when you’re done, you can head upstairs and party with the rich and famous. (www.hakkasanlv.com; 702.891.7888)

Jasmine
3600 Las Vegas Blvd. South
702.693.8166

Koi
3667 Las Vegas Blvd. South
702.454.4555

Blossom
3730 Las Vegas Blvd. South
877.230.2742

Ping Pang Pong
4000 W. Flamingo Road
702.367.7111

Hakassan
3799 Las Vegas Blvd. South
702.891.3838

—Andrea Kahn, Brand Publishing Writer

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
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