On my way back from touring the Antelope Canyon, I stayed at the Paris Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas for two days. The first day after arriving at the hotel, my wife Rosa and I wanted to find a Chinese restaurant for dinner. We remember there was a Chinese restaurant on the first floor of the hotel, but when we walked there, the Chinese restaurant was gone and the nearby Japanese restaurant took the place.
After two days of driving and sightseeing, we were somewhat “Chinese food sick” and were looking for some kind of noodles. I asked the waitress at the Japanese restaurant whether we could order ramen and other soups, but she said sorry there was no ramen or soups. However, the waitress, who spoke Chinese, told me that just walk to Bally’s and there was a newly opened Chinese restaurant.
I thanked this waitress and walked to the next door and found M.Y. Asia, so Rosa and I walked into the restaurant.
We were greeted by an African American girl who was nice and friendly to us. I ordered hot tea and Taiwanese style beef noodle for me, Vietnamese rice noodle for Rosa.
While sipping tea to relax after two days of trip on the road, we heard the familiar sound of drums as we had heard in China during festival celebrations. We followed the sound to look at the open kitchen, where we saw one man was pulling a big dough to make noodles, called La Mian, while another chef was frying dishes on a flaming pan. Another man was standing in the middle, with a smiling face. From the electric poster placed at the entrance, I knew the man was Martin Yan, the master person of the restaurant.
I searched the website and found out that Martin is more famous among the American public than the Chinese community. According to the Wikipedia, Martin’s Chinese name is 甄文達, a Hong Kong chef and food writer. He has hosted his award-winning PBS-TV cooking show Yan Can Cook since 1982. His shows have been broadcast in over 50 countries. He currently hosts Martin Yan – Quick & Easy. He also hosts Martin Yan’s Chinatowns, where he tours Chinatowns around the globe as well as “Martin Yan’s Hidden China.” He is also the recipient of multiple James Beard Awards
Yan has opened a chain of Yan Can Restaurants and founded the Yan Can International Cooking School in San Francisco. He has written over two dozen cookbooks. The American Culinary Federation has designated him a Master Chef.
Rosa remembered that about 30 years ago when she just arrived in the U.S., she would occasionally watch a cooking show, where Martin Yan was showing how to cook delicious Chinese food.
Both Rosa and I enjoyed the beef noodle and rice noodle, so we decided to go again the next day.
On April 14, we went back to the restaurant for lunch. Luckily, Martin was there with a group of people shooting a video program. When the program was over, we went to say hello to him, and knowing that we were from Los Angeles, he showed his passion to talk with us. He said proudly that this was the only restaurant in Las Vegas that had an open kitchen to show how the Asian dishes were cooked.
“I want to show to them how the Chinese food is cooked and let them enjoy the process,” said Martin.
He also showed us the collections displayed in his restaurant, including the Chinese costume in the style of the Qing Dynasty.
“Those are my family collections from China, they are part of the Chinese culture,” said Martin.
At first I thought the food might be very expensive. However, when I received my bill, I was released: The prices are very reasonable in a restaurant along the Las Vegas Strip. For example, the Taiwanese beef noodle is about 24 dollars. You do not have to worry about being ripped off.