Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017 | 9 a.m.
Ping Pang Pong just might be Las Vegas’ all-time favorite Chinese restaurant. The Gold Coast eatery opened in 2001 but seems like it’s been around much longer than that, probably because owners and operators Karrie and Kevin Wu have been serving deliciously authentic cuisine in Vegas for a bit longer, having opened the former Royal Star restaurant at Venetian in 1999.
The couple still operates Noodle Asia at Venetian and the equally casual Noodle Exchange at Gold Coast, but Ping Pang Pong is the name everyone knows, from loyal locals who pack the place every day to get their dim sum fix, to Las Vegas visitors and Chinese tourists who seek out its live seafood specialties and hard-to-find delicacies like salt-and-pepper frog legs or Taiwanese three cup chicken every time they’re in town.
Last month, Ping Pang Pong reopened after an extensive redesign and expansion, now offering seating for 300 guests and a private banquet room already in great demand. The project was the latest in a series of recent restaurant changes at Boyd Gaming properties, including the new steakhouse Cornerstone also at the Gold Coast. But Ping Pang Pong only needed to get bigger to get better—no change in concept or cuisine for this beloved spot, which four years ago was recognized as one of the top Chinese restaurants in the country by Travel + Leisure.
New touches include dark walnut screenwork and wood paneling, two authentic foo dog (Chinese guardian lions) sculptures and an apothecary cabinet-style reception table at the entry, and an overall refreshed environment with bold touches of red and amber. The banquet room can host around 100 guests for special events or private parties.
Ping Pang Pong’s famous dim sum menu, served daily from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (and be prepared to wait in line a bit if you go), is everyone’s favorite because it offers creative seasonal specialties in addition to standards like shumai shrimp and pork dumplings, har gow shrimp dumplings and cha siu bao steamed pork buns. The mango lobster scallop roll, for example, combines those fresh ingredients in crispy fried, panko-tossed rice paper, while the aromatic duck bun features Cantonese-style, five-spice roasted duck with cucumber in a steamed lotus bun.
Dinner is served from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m., with familiar favorites like roast duck, kung pao chicken and Yang Chow fried rice meshing with more exotic fare such as Cantonese Princess Chicken with dry scallop and ginger sauce or green tea-flavored Dragon Well shrimp.
Whether it’s daytime dim sum, a family dinner or a late night noodle fix, Ping Pang Pong continues to be a true Vegas food institution, and now it has a more comfortable, even regal environment fitting its reputation.