I hesitate to write this review, because there already are lines to get a seat at Ping Pang Pong, the Chinese restaurant at the Gold Coast Casino. Ping Pang Pong is a locals favorite, particularly among the local Chinese community, which seem to occupy the majority of the seats in the dining room on any given day.
While Ping Pang Pong has won awards from local Las Vegas publications, what caught my eye was the recognition from Gourmet Magazine.
Gourmet Magazine Chooses Ping Pang Pong
The following short excerpt from Gourmet Magazine almost says it all.
Note Conde Nast the owners of Gourmet Magazine, which is probably the most venerated food magazine, and which had been in circulation since 1941, stopped publication the end of 2009, thanks to some questionable analysis by McKinsey. A website at the above link is being gradually populated with old Gourmet articles, along with new articles.
The modest off-Strip Gold Coast isn’t where one expects to trip over the city’s most innovative Chinese restaurant…The nickel slot players never had it so good.
The dining room Ping Pang Pong is the Vegas version of dining al fresco, in that the room is open to the casino. The restaurant is split into two smallish rooms, one with counter service, and the kitchen partially open to the restaurant. The decor and ambiance fits squarely between a highly stylized Strip Restaurant and a dingy old Chinatown restaurant.
Dim Sum Daily 10:00 am-3:00 pm
If you’re in Vegas and you have a taste for Dim Sum then Ping Pang Pong should be your destination of choice. Dim Sum is served daily from 10am-3pm, the line starts forming by 11am most days. For those unfamiliar with Dim Sum, it is a type of Chinese cuisine most most closely associated with the Canton provinces in China, for me Dim Sum is most closely associated with wheeled carts filled with wonderful steamed and fried dumplings filled with a variety meat and seafood.
Eating Dim Sum is like being at a cocktail party with really great hors d’oeuvres, no matter how scintillating the conversation, your eyes wander with anticipation of the next tray being passed around. The anticipation is short lived at Ping Pang Pong, because the Dim Sum carts arrive at your table at a frequency that would sate the most ravenous patron.
As soon as the cart arrives at your table, the “Lid Ballet” begins, lids are removed from the pots to reveal everything from shrimp dumplings to pork filled buns and chicken feet. Like a magician performing the Cups and Balls trick, the lids are removed for inspection, and then quickly replaced, so that the dumplings remain warm. If you’re expecting a detailed description of the ingredients in each of the pots, you’ve come to the wrong restaurant, English is at best a second language to most of the servers here, but this only adds to the authenticity of the experience.
There are several variations of shrimp filled dumplings, all of them are on my must-have list. I add a dash of soy sauce and chili oil, my preferred Dim Sum condiments, and I am one happy camper. The pork filled buns, both the flaky croissant-like version and the more dinner roll-like variant are also high on my list, with a nod to the flaky version. Larger, more entree sized dishes are also included on the carts.
Beyond Dim Sum
In addition to dim sum a regular menu of Chinese dishes is also available during dim sum hours, as well as into the wee hours of the morning, the restaurant is open until 3am daily. Most Entrees are in the $10-$15 range. Pan Seared Chilean Seabass is $19.95 and some Lobster dishes are Market Priced. The Walnut Prawns ($13.95) and Night Market Fried Rice ($9.95) are two dishes well noted in the Internet Buzz.
The Internet Buzz is mostly Favorable for Ping Pang Pong.
A Sampling of the Internet Buzz
- Everything we ordered was what you would expect from a “legit” Chinese restaurant. I would go into detail about each of them, but quite honestly, it was a flurry of amazing flavor that I cannot do justice to describe, but I can definitely say, you HAVE to go try it.
- Fried Shrimp + Crab Claw – Its shrimp stuffed into a crab leg and deep fried. Yum and definitely a good item to get.
- BBQ Pork Bun Baked (Char Sui Bao) – Perfect bun texture and flavor with a tasty glaze coating (your hands will get sticky). Stuffing of bbq pork was tasty.
- Who would have thought this place is so good! This is seriously one of the hidden gems in vegas. It’s tucked in Gold Coast and it has really good dim sum. They have the dessert – mango + pomelo which is so hard to find.
- Pork Dumpling (gau style not pot sticker) – Must have! great crispy dough contrasts with lightly chewy stuffing. Lightly sweet flavor is delicate and delicious.
- The highlight of the apps that we got, and for my money, the highlight of the entire meal were the Potstickers. Pork Potstickers with the best Potsticker Dipping Sauce I’ve ever had, they were quite good and quite addictive. Tender and juicy pork balls encased in a wonderfully chewy with just the right sear to it dough
- Night Market Fried Rice, a mélange of beef brisket, tomato, onion, egg, hot chilies, cilantro and rice sautéed until it turns pale gold with crisp bits strewn throughout, is flat out the city’s best fried rice. ($9.95)
- Kung Pao chicken: I thought this dish was great. The chicken was juicy, all white meat, and perfectly sauced.($9.95)
- (I concur with the previous comment on the Kung Pao Chicken, my only disappointment with this dish was a lack of vegetables, the dish was all chicken, with some scallions. I added Chinese Broccoli which seemed to be the most popular vegetable add-on at PPP. The Chinese Broccoli is stir fried not steamed)
- The food was good, great even. The prices were extremely reasonable for large, family style dishes. We tried the usual offerings, including a spicy fried rice that had some serious kick. Loved it. The salt and pepper pork chops were delicious.
- The service and food was great. Very authentic Cantonese food. I didn’t expect a good dim sum restaurant inside a Las Vegas casino. It is a gem despite its undignified name. Apparently it is not a hidden gem either because there was a long line outside the restaurant before noon.
Just between you and me, if you’re staying at the Rio or the Palms it is well worth crossing the street and heading to the Gold Coast for some very good, and authentic, Cantonese Cuisine at Ping Pang Pong. So, let’s keep this on the QT, no need to tell your friends or do anything silly like post a favorable review on the internet, the lines are long enough already.
For more information and Internet Buzz check-out: Ping Pang Pong on MavensVegas.com