When I say Las Vegas, people think of several things—gambling, shows, and restaurants. But the restaurants most people think of are buffets, burger joints, and steakhouses. Some people think that the extent of dining in Las Vegas consists of restaurants in the casinos here.
The truth is, though, that Vegas has a lot to offer lovers of Chinese food, too—and much of what it has to offer in that regard has nothing to do with Downtown, the Strip, or any of the casinos.
Las Vegas has a thriving Chinese food scene right there in its own little Chinatown.
About Chinatown in Las Vegas
Everyone knows about Chinatown in New York and San Francisco. I’ve eaten at some fine Chinese restaurants in both cities, in fact.
But many people don’t even know that Vegas has a Chinatown. It’s only a couple of miles from the Strip, on Spring Mountain Road.
In 1995, Chinatown Plaza opened in Las Vegas. At the time, it only consisted of 5 restaurants and a few retail establishments. As a Chinatown, it was humble enough.
Now, though, Vegas’s Chinatown is an impressive 3-mile stretch of massage parlors, nail salons, and restaurants.
Chinatown Plaza is also a popular location to take photos as mementos of your Vegas Chinatown trip.
I have little interest in the massage parlors, nail salons, or photo opportunities.
But I love food.
And the nice thing about the Chinese food in this neighborhood is that it’s far cheaper than the food you’ll buy in one of the expensive casino restaurants.
And it’s more authentic.
So here’s a list of 17 Chinese restaurants in Las Vegas Chinatown that might be worth the trip. All of them but one are located in the strip malls in Vegas’s Chinatown area.
1- Chengdu Taste
Chengdu Taste is the best place to get Chinese food in Las Vegas if you value authenticity and spice. It’s not original to Sin City, though—this location is actually a spinoff of one of the best Chinese restaurants in Los Angeles.
What can you expect at Chengdu Taste?
Let me put it this way—if you prefer bland food, you might want to skip this one. The food is super-spicy. You know how a lot of Asian restaurants let you give them a number for how spicy you want your food?
They don’t do that at Chengdu Taste.
You order your food, and you better like it spicy.
They offer a wide variety of dishes, too, all of them authentic. Some of the dishes you should consider include green sauce chicken, dandan noodles, and tofu in chili sauce. One of the more interesting dishes at Chengdu Taste is “Diced Rabbit with Younger Sister’s Secret Recipe.” It’s served cold, and it has lots of spice to go along with an equal amount of bones.
And even though it’s hugely popular and often crowded, the table service is fast. You won’t have to wait as long as you might think.
2- J&J Szechuan Cuisine
My #2 choice for Chinese food is J&J Szechuan Cuisine. Like Chengdu Taste, they specialize in spicy food. This is where you go if you’re looking for traditional, reliable Szechuan cuisine. Meals include free hot tea.
Don’t expect J&J to live up to Chengdu Taste, though. It’s a small restaurant that’s rarely crowded. The prices for the food here are excellent, too.
3- 168 Market
168 Market is the best Asian grocery store in Las Vegas. If you like fresh fish and getting food to go, you’ll find plenty to love about 168 Market. It’s actually a chain of grocery stores popular in California. They have 4 locations there, but just the one location in Vegas.
Did I mention the fresh fish?
You can probably find plenty of fresh fish in various places in Las Vegas, but few of them offer live fish for sale. At 168 Market, you can get live catfish, clams, and lobster.
You can find a variety of delights in the bakery and the deli, too.
4- Asian BBQ & Noodle
Asian BBQ & Noodle is the best place for Chinese barbecue in Las Vegas. It’s usually crowded. I try to go during non-peak hours. Also, and this is quirky—Asian BBQ & Noodle is closed on Fridays.
The one thing everyone should order at a Chinese barbecue restaurant is the roast pork. The other thing everyone should order is the roast duck.
Like many authentic Chinese barbecue spots, they don’t take credit cards. Bring cash.
Also, the restaurant is small and popular. Take this into account even if you’re ordering food to go. (In other words, call ahead and give them time to get your order together before going to pick it up.)
5- BBQ King
BBQ King isn’t as good as Asian BBQ & Noodle, but it’s still worth a visit. Like other Asian barbecue spots, they were cash-only for a long time. But I’ve seen reports that they now take credit cards.
Also, unlike Asian BBQ & Noodle, they’re open on Fridays. They’re also marginally more affordable.
6- Big Wong
If you’re short of cash, Big Wong is one of the best cheap eateries in Las Vegas. You can eat here for less than $8 if you order smart. The beef noodle soup is especially good.
Don’t expect top-notch service here, though.
7- Capital Seafood Restaurant
Capital Seafood Restaurant is one of the oldest restaurants in Las Vegas’s Chinatown. They’ve been in continuous operation for over 2 decades, in fact. The food is still great there, too.
The prices are excellent. They also serve Vietnamese dishes.
8- China Mama
China Mama used to be one of the top Asians restaurants in town. It still has a lot to offer, but it’s not the same as it used to be. It’s usually not too crowded there anymore, and you might be able to find better choices.
But it’s worth a try. On a good night, China Mama still offers some exciting dining.
9- Chubby Cattle
Chubby Cattle is the eatery to visit if you’re looking for delicious hot pot. If you think conveyor belts are cool, this Mongolian themed restaurant is for you. Chubby Cattle is only open for dinner.
You’ll be thrilled at how impressed you are with some of the unusual dishes available here. I recommend making reservations.
10- Crab Childe Yunnan Tasty Garden
Chinese-food lovers like me enjoy authenticity more than almost anything. If you’re looking for a restaurant where the employees look at you funny because you’re not Asian (and you SHOULD be looking for this kind of restaurant), Crab Childe Yunnan Tasty Garden is for you.
Just don’t be surprised if they try to discourage you from ordering certain dishes.
11- Harbor Palace Seafood
Harbor Palace Seafood is another restaurant in Vegas’s Chinatown that’s been here a long time—since 1998, in fact. They often run buy-one-get-one-free specials. The last time I visited, they were offering buy-one-get-one-free lobster OR buy-one-get-one-free racks of ribs.
The prices are excellent, the food is good, and the service is acceptable. This makes Harbor Palace Seafood similar to many other Chinese restaurants in Las Vegas.
12- Niu-Gu Noodle House
Niu-Gu Noodle House bills itself as upscale Chinese food without the cost. They don’t have an extensive menu—it’s mostly soup and noodles, but it’s delicious.
They also serve chicken wings.
13- Ping Pang Pong
Okay, so unlike the other Chinese restaurants on this list, Ping Pang Pong is in a hotel and casino—not Chinatown. But the food’s so good I couldn’t leave it off the list. In fact, it’s not just one of the best Chinese restaurants in Vegas. It’s one of the best Chinese restaurants in the United States (according to Travel + Leisure magazine.) They’ve also been voted best Chinese restaurant by readers of the Las Vegas Review-Journal 6 times.
You can find Ping Pang Pong at the Gold Coast Casino. You should get reservations beforehand, too, as it stays busy there. This isn’t a cheap place, either, so bring plenty of money or a credit card that still has some room on it. Most of the main courses here are close to $20, which is considerably more expensive than what you’ll find at most of the Chinatown joints on this list.
Maybe it’s unfair to include Ping Pang Pong on a list of “secrets,” but the food’s so good that I couldn’t resist.
14- The Noodle Man
The Noodle Man is a local favorite that puts on a big production regarding the making of their homemade noodles. This isn’t a big restaurant, though—you’re looking at a bar with several bar stools and maybe 8 tables. If you get there right at dinner time, you might face a wait. Just because it’s small doesn’t mean it’s unpopular.
If you love soups, then The Noodle Man won’t disappoint. The stock is always rich, and they use plenty of fatty cuts of meat to make their soup.
15- Veggie House
Veggie House offers all kinds of favorites, but their gimmick is that all these versions are vegetarian. (You might have figured that out from the name.) Gone are the days when vegetarians had a hard time finding something to eat at most restaurants, but it still can be fun to visit a restaurant where everyone has to eat their vegetables.
But don’t think you’re not going to find regular stuff like “orange chicken” on the menu. It’s just that they use soy products and rice to create faux meats to serve in these dishes.
Unlike some of the restaurants on this list, Veggie House has excellent waitstaff and offers terrific, friendly customer service.
16- Wendy’s Noodle Café
Wendy’s Noodle Café offers pretty standard stuff that even people who aren’t Chinese food aficionados can enjoy. In fact, if you’re new to Chinese food, this might be the best first dining experience in Vegas Chinatown.
The food is good, the service, average.
17- Yi Mei Champion Taiwan Deli
Yi Mei Champion Taiwan Deli is one of the best, most authentic places for Taiwanese food in Las Vegas. They open early, too (7 am), and you can get breakfast here. The variety available on the menu is great, and the owner is always there working, too. That’s one of the advantages of eating at locally-owned restaurants like this.
Like many of the local Chinese restaurants, Yi Mei Champion Taiwan Deli doesn’t offer 5-star service. Instead, it offers large portions of good food at a reasonable price. That’s a winning combination.
Try the duck necks here as an appetizer. You won’t be sorry.
Everyone knows that Las Vegas is a great destination for people who love to eat. Not as many of them realize that it’s a great destination for people who like to eat Chinese food.
In fact, many people don’t even know that Las Vegas has a Chinatown. It’s relatively new, but you’ll find plenty of restaurants to explore. Keep in mind, though, that ownership and management of these restaurants change all the time.
And I focused in this post exclusively on places serving Chinese food. You can also get some of the best sushi you’ve ever had in the neighborhood, for a fraction of the price you’d pay for sushi in one of the Vegas Strip restaurants.