Sin City is home to a lot of restaurants and bars, but there are tons of hidden gems that the majority of Las Vegans aren't unearthing. To help guide us to these potential discoveries, we've enlisted some of our city's food players to share their recommendations for a weekly feature dubbed Dining Confidential. Know a chef who wants to share some top dining spots? The tipline is open.
Shirley Chung [Photo: Edison Graff/Stardust Fallout Media]
Shirley Chung came oh-so-close to winning Top Chef, coming in third on the last season in New Orleans. But the experience helped Chung discover her own culinary voice and find a mentor in Emeril Lagasse, a repeat judge on the show. Chung staged at The French Laundry, then worked at Bouchon, even opening Thomas Keller's restaurant at the Venetian. She worked with Guy Savoy and Mario Batali at B&B Ristorante at the Venetian before opening José Andrés' China Poblano at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Now she's traveling to add to her culinary repertoire and doing events here and there. Hopefully soon she will announce her first restaurant. Here, she tells Eater Vegas about her three favorite restaurants in Las Vegas.
Which restaurants do you turn to when you're not working?
Island Malaysian Cuisine, B & B Ristorante at the Venetian and Yunnan Garden.
What dishes are most memorable?
I go to Island Malaysian Cuisine for their oyster pancake. It's more like an omelet with a little bit of potato starch slurry mixed in to the egg batter, created this crispy outside, creamy and tender pan cake with petite oysters inside, serve with a dark sweet soy dipping sauce. It's a really simple dish, and it needs to be executed perfectly to create the contrasted of texture. That's what makes this dish great.
My favorite dish from B&B is their black spaghetti with fresh uni and jalapeño pesto. It's a squid ink spaghetti with jalapeño and garlic pesto, fresh uni mix in at the end, so the uni is barely warmed by the pasta. The creamy and sweet uni coats the pasta, the spiciness of the jalapeño pesto cut the richness, and it's a simple but perfectly balanced dish.
Yunnan Garden serves authentic Yunnan providence dishes; one of their signature dish is spicy crispy chicken. Small pieces of chicken meat that are coated with some flour and fried to golden and crispy, kind of like popcorn chicken, then tossed with a lot of dry red chili and Szechuan peppercorn. This dish is spicy and floral with really big flavor that makes you sweat, but you just want to keep on eating it.
Why do you enjoy going there?
Island Malaysian Cuisine — The Malaysian flavors are authentic. When my husband wants to have some hometown flavor and I don't want to cook, we will go there. They also have really good curry puffs that we always order them to go and have it for breakfast.
B & B has great and reasonable priced wine list, great cocktail program and the main reason I keep going back is their selection of pasta dishes.
There are three things Yunnan Garden makes better than anywhere else. Their Over the Bridge Rice noodle soup, the spicy crispy chicken and their cold appetizers counter that you get to pick your own combination plate. The cold app counter changes their selection all the time, sometimes you can find braised duck head or five-spice pig's tongue there.
I also love to go to Sweets Raku for dessert after the dinner. They change their tasting menu all the time, so I never get bored of going there.
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