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December 17, 2014
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The Hand of God
Chinatown Vegas: You Go Now!
By Bald Tony
Bald Tony

Not many folks realize there is a Chinatown in Las Vegas. In fact, I was a local for nearly five years before I even found it…and it’s huge! I moved here in the year of the rabbit and didn’t find Chinatown until the year of the flipping ox. You see, Las Vegas Blvd runs north-south, dividing the city east-west, and I have always been an eastsider. Among locals, crossing LVB to go to the other side, whichever side that is, is generally considered unnecessary, stupid, and in some cases criminal.

Sin City’s homage to the Far East lies a couple miles west of Treasure Island, and while there are many amazing Asian restaurants and women on the Strip, it is worth the rickshaw ride to this Oriental oasis. This is a very authentic area as Mick Zano and I are typically the only round eyed English-speaking patrons (REESPs) in any given establishment. My goal is to visit every restaurant, tea house, sake joint, and massage parlor in Chinatown. So far I’ve been to three…actually, I’ve been to about fifteen. I keep setting out for a new place and I usually end up at Little Saigon. It’s like a tempura-flavored Twilight Zone episode. On a cold desert day, when the temperature plummets to the eighties, there’s nothing better than a big bowl of Pho. While Little Saigon is our favorite Pho place, we did try a different place, BOSA 1, for other Vietnamese cuisine, and were thrilled with our #12s, mine with noodles and Zano’s with rice.

Mmmm refuse...

We’re new to this reviewing food thing, so we forgot to take the picture before we ate. Mmmm refuse.  On an unrelated note, look for our joint business venture, a combination Pho house and billiard hall named…wait for it…PhoCue.

About one mile east of the now shuttered Sahara Hotel & Casino, nowhere near Chinatown, is arguably the best Thai place this side of Bangkok, Lotus of Siam. Zano loves the place. I've never seen anyone actually get drunk from Drunken Noodles before, but leave it to Mick. It’s really a shame he’s not allowed back.


There’s also Cathay House restaurant in Chinatown. The place is so good it was starting to cut into the profits over at The Palms Hotel & Casino as numerous patrons would brave the $10 cab fare to head Cathayward, even though there are several restaurants in The Palms, including the Asian fusion and sushi place, Little Buddha. Palms owner, George Maloof, finally decided enough is enough and had the folks from the Cathay House build a second Cathay House in The Palms 24/7 coffee shop. Yes, it is a restaurant within a restaurant, like a fortune in a cookie. HHe even managed to shanghai some of the Cathay House employees as well. I guess You Stay Now! is his variation of my joke. I approve, by the way, because this place is dim-sum kind of wonderful!

Believe it or not, there’s also a vegan donut shop in Chinatown, Ronald’s Donuts. Somewhere between Sapporo beers and happy ending massages, Zano and I were not in the market for donuts, but vegan? We had to try. They were quite good, and healthy….well, healthier. We even met Ronald, and we’re pretty sure Ronald is not Ronalds’ birth name.

On a semi-related note, I went to a reflexology spa in Chinatown that greatly relaxed me. This massage practice relieves a lot of tension and stress (great after a Zano visit). These places allegedly can help to rejuvenate any given organ/body part through a hand manipulation technique applied to your feet. This ties in nicely with one of my fetishes, two if you count the cute Oriental reflexologist. I tipped her well.

The most important thing to know about Chinatown is they have their own SPAM (Specially Prepared Asian Meat). This is also great in sushi…well, sushi you want to use to purge your system.

Chinese SPAM (Specially Prepared Asian Meat)

I love the food in Chinatown but I am often taken aback, sometimes literally, by the low tide smell that greets my nostrils at all of the area international food markets.

One of the few skills Zano is superior to me is chopstick use. I have two left thumbs which makes me chopstick challenged. In fact, I would need a dozen promotions to get to be an idiot with chopsticks. Does anyone have a copy of Chopsticks for Dummies you can lend me? Thankfully, the restaurants in Chinatown realize there are many with the same affliction, and provide silverware. I feel like I’m riding a bike with training wheels when I use silverware at Kung Fu Plaza, but I’d rather feel that way than not eat there. Good thing they’re open 24 hours since it took a week for me to finish my soup with a fork.

Many places in Chinatown are old world and only accept cash, so don’t bring Mick I-left-my-wallet-at-McMullan’s Zano. In fact, let us never speak of him again.


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