You can divide Chinese restaurants in the United States into two broad categories: American-Chinese food and authentic Chinese food. Most Americans are only familiar with the first kind of restaurant. These restaurants can be quite popular and are usually pretty similar, serving dishes like Orange Chicken, Beef and Broccoli, Sweet and Sour Pork, and Fried Rice. Panda Express is a fast food example of this type of restaurant, but Panda Express is terrible. Seriously, Panda Express is terrible, never eat there. The second kind of restaurant, serving authentic Chinese food, is only found in areas that have a significant Chinese population.
One of the biggest collection of authentic Chinese restaurants in the United States is in the San Gabriel Valley area of Los Angeles. And one of the most popular authentic Chinese restaurants to come out of the San Gabriel Valley is Chengdu Taste. Opened in 2013 in the San Gabriel Valley, Chengdu Taste opened a Las Vegas outpost in 2015. Considered by some the best Sichuan restaurant in the United States, we recently stopped by to give it a try and report back to our readers.
The first thing to know about Chengdu taste is that it is spicy. Not American hot wings spicy, but Sichuan chili and peppercorn set your face on fire spicy. If you don’t like your food served spicily, this isn’t the place for you. But if you do like your food hot, Chengdu Taste is a delight for your palate.
The menu at Chengdu taste has many familiar Sichuan delicacies like Mapo Tofu, Dan Dan Mian, and Shredded pork with Green Pepper, as well as house specialties like Diced Rabbit with Younger Sister’s Secret Sauce, Toothpick Mutton, and Kung Pao Shrimp. We went to Chengdu Taste with a party of 3, and choosing 4 dishes was daunting, as everything looked amazing. Everyone agreed that we had to try the restaurant’s specialty dish of Toothpick Mutton. This dish was amazing, with the perfect amount of spice, meat, and fat. The serving was generous, giving us plenty leftovers to bring home. The dish reminded us of the amazing Chuanr mutton sticks found on the streets of China.
The second dish we ordered was Dan Dan Noodles. Everyone agreed this was the most delicious version of Dan Dan Noodles we had ever tried. The spicy sauce on top of the fresh noodles was so good, when the noodles were finished we scooped some of the sauce onto our rice.
The third dish we ordered was Sauteed Eggplant with Spicy Garlic Sauce. Eggplant dishes have always been one of our favorite authentic Chinese dishes. Once again, this was the best interpretation of an eggplant dish that this reviewer has ever tasted. The eggplant was perfectly cooked, and the sauce was thick, sweet, spicy, and not too oily.
Our last dish was a flamethrower: Mixed Hotpot. Unlike a traditional hotpot that comes with fire underneath where you add the meat and vegetables yourself, this hotpot comes in a big bowl with all the ingredients already included. It had the familiar heat of Sichuan hotpot, and it was mouth numbingly delicious. We had a friend from Jiangsu dining with us. The spice from Mixed hotpot was too much for her. She had to ask for a bowl of water to wash the meat and vegetables before she ate them!
All in all, the meal was outstanding. Everyone agreed the meal was some of the best food they have had in a long time. The prices were more than fair for such a world-class dining experience. After tip, our total came to $70. Chengdu Taste not only is the best Chinese food in Las Vegas, it is in competition with Lotus of Siam for the title of best off strip restaurant in Las Vegas. We can’t wait to go back and try more of their spicy dishes!
If you are in Las Vegas, stop by Chengdu Taste to try for yourself:
Open Daily from 11am-3pm, 5-10pm
3950 Schiff Dr. Las Vegas, NV 89103