Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Taiwanese food in Vegas Chinatown

The last time I went to the Chinatown in Vegas must be when I was... 7, 8 which means I don't really remember what it looks like. I've been to Vegas so many times too (just 7-8 times last year alone) but I've never ventured off the strip. So this one weekend in December (12/18-12/20), Leonard and Mikol graciously accompanied me to Vegas and I got to visit Vegas Chinatown for the first time since I was a kid and checked out some of the Taiwanese food spots.

Yup the entrance to that famous plaza. Got here around 11am, and the parking lot was already packed with people doing grocery shopping at 99Ranch and eating dim sum.

Since we didn't eat yet, we decided to grab some Taiwanese breakfast. It seems like the "Yonghe" in Vegas in actually located inside a spotty Szechuan Chinese restaurant called "Emperor's Garden."

Emperor's Garden
4215 Spring Mountain Rd#B203
Las Vegas, NV 89102

There's a sign that says "Yonghe DouJiang" which generally means that there is Taiwanese-style breakfast here.

Beef Roll. I gotta say... this was interesting. Being a Szechuan restaurant, naturally they would have a lot of spicy food. Pretty much it was different cuts of beef marinated in chili oil that's usually a cold appetizer and then stick it in the middle of a 燒餅 shaobing (Taiwanese-style bread). Kinda of a lazy way of doing things. I guess it is smart, using the same ingredients for 2 different dishes haha. Not really authentic. Of course there is the 油條 right behind it. Kinda hard to mess THAT up!

Their other offerings were fairly pedestrian so I didn't bother taking pictures. This place isn't.. that great but I guess it gets the job done.


Immediately afterwards, we walked around Chinatown for a bit then we decided to go to a different plaza for some more legit Taiwanese food. After spending like 30 minutes deciding between Tea Station and Ay-Chung, we opted for the latter.

Ay-Chung Noodles
5115 W Spring Mountain Rd# 103
Las Vegas, NV 89146

There's also an Ay-Chung in LA, located in Focus Plaza in San Gabriel. I never liked it that much since I've had Ay-Chung in Taiwan and you can't really compare them. Both locations are owned by mainland Chinese and the San Gabriel location's quality just isn't there so I was crossing my fingers when I came here.

Mikol decided to order their special, Ay-Chung noodles. It was good! Way much better than the location in San Gabriel. The broth/soup base is much more flavorful.

Good ol' popcorn chicken :] When a place fries the chicken with basil, you know it can't be bad.

Leonard picked the oyster pancake. I actually liked it here. A little too much cornstarch but the sauce was good.

Stinky tofu. Wow they actually have the big pieces here. Most place in the states serve these small bite size stinky tofu and they're just not as good. I was surprised when they had the bigger ones. It's just much more enjoyable than eating the tiny cubes of stinky tofu.

Of course can't be eating Taiwanese food without some sort of milk tea or drink! I liked their jasmine milk tea a lot.

This Ay-Chung is definitely better than the one in SG in my opinion. In fact, I came here the day after New Year's just 2 weeks later when I was in Vegas again haha.

I think from now on when I go to Vegas, I'll check out more spots off the strip since just around Chinatown there's a few restaurants that seemed like it's worth a try!