Sherman's Food Adventures: Ping Pang Pong

Ping Pang Pong

Here we are, trying Vegas Dim Sum for the very first time.  Yah, yah, I am from Vancouver and there aren't many places in North American, if not the world, that can top the Dim Sum I can get at home.  However, there are 2 reasons I seek out Dim Sum while I'm on holidays.  First, we just really want to have Dim Sum!  Being on the road for that long, we need some comfort food.  Second, how would I say things like "Vancouver has the best Chinese food in the world" if I don't actually compare with the rest of the world???  Hence, we made our way to Ping Pang Pong to do some "research".

Located in the Gold Coast Hotel & Casino, PPP has a higher end feel, yet the pricing seems fair in my opinion.  They still employ push carts where you can see steamers and dishes available for ordering.  Hence, we got our food pretty quickly starting with the Pork Sparerib Rice.  This was presented in an ol' skool manner in a metal hot pot.  I found the rice to be chewy and fairly nutty with the right amount of moisture.  On top, the meaty spareribs were light on the fat and cartilage.  Texturally, they had a good rebound while being tender.  There was enough seasoning as well.  Accompanying the rice was also chicken feet, which was also properly prepared.  It featured buttery skin and cartilage.

I also got the Rice Noodle Rolls with brisket and tendon.  With the amount of braising liquid from the brisket and tendon, the noodles were moist and tender.  Soaking up the sauce, the noodles also benefitted from the meaty flavors and seasoning (soy, sugar, ginger, oyster sauce etc...).  Also due to the sauce, the noodles didn't exhibit as much elasticity.  As for the brisket, it was meaty while still being tender.  Loved that there was some fattiness, but not too much.  Soft with still a slight chew, the tendon was braised properly.  My only wish for this was a bigger portion size.

That really didn't matter because we also picked up the Rice Noodle Roll with Shrimp.  Now this was a considerable amount of food on a plate.  The large rolls contained large meaty chunks of shrimp that had the desired rebound texture with a cold-water crunch.  They were seasoned with a good balance between savory and sweet.  With a medium-thickness, the rice noodles  had some elasticity and were appealingly soft.  As mentioned, the shrimp were flavorful, so we only used a small amount of sweetened soy.

Off to the most important dish of the meal - Ha Gau (Steamed Shrimp Dumplings).  All Dim Sum spots are judged on these little morsels and I would say PPP passed.  Featuring medium-thick dumpling skin, the texture was a touch floury, but still it ultimately had some elasticity.  Hidden inside, the shrimp filling had a decent rebound texture with a some softer portions.  It was seasoned enough so that I could taste the white pepper and touch of sesame oil.

The next most important item is the Siu Mai (Pork & Shrimp Dumplings).  Again, these weren't the best version of this dumpling I've ever had, but it was more than acceptable.  The texture of the pork filling was on point with a bounciness that was felt with each bite.  There was a good mix of fat blended in which kept things moist and also added flavor.  I liked how there were not big chunks of fat though.

So Viv really wanted to order the Lo Bak Goh (Pan Fried Daikon Pudding Cake) for some reason.  I like the dish, but it is so filling!  I want to eat more, not get full from one dish!  LOL... Anyways, it wasn't bad, but could've used much more searing, which would have made the exterior crispy.  So as you can tell, it wasn't.  However, the pudding cake itself was nicely textured being soft without falling apart.

Now for something that isn't photogenic no matter what I do with it.  I didn't even bother taking a scoop out of the Preserved Egg & Salted Pork Congee for a more creative pic!  It was pretty typical with medium thick viscosity and a relatively silky texture.  It was mildly seasoned and in fact, was more home style than restaurant style.  I thought there could've been more egg and pork in it though as it was quite plain.

Continuing on with white-colored food, we had the Steamed BBQ Pork Buns.  This was a slightly better picture (well not really, it was quite washed out) where we could see the colored filling.  About that filling, the slices of BBQ pork were fairly lean and tender.  It was coated in a sweet and sticky glaze which was didn't go overboard with the sweetness.  The bun itself was soft and fluffy except for the outer layer which had a slight chew.

Of course I had to get my obligatory offal dish in the Steamed Beef Tripe.  Now I generally have never met tripe I haven't liked, but this could be the one exception.  Instead of the usual buttery soft (with a chew) tripe, we found overly soft tripe with a unappealing exterior chew.  Furthermore, this was not rinsed enough where the gaminess was overwhelming.  Even with the seasoning, all I could taste was the gaminess of the tripe.

Rather than multiple little Lo Mei Gai (Steamed Sticky Rice in Lotus Leaves), we found a big one instead.  Actually I didn't mind this as I find the bigger versions having a more consistent texture.  Smaller ones seem more "wet".  This one featured sticky rice that still had a drier chew, yet still moist throughout.  There was a lack of filling though as you can clearly see in the picture.  That made for less flavor and varied textures.

One of my Dim Sum favorites is the Seen Jook Guen (Bean Curd Skin Roll).  This was filled with a mixture of pork and shrimp which was on point.  Similar to the Siu Mai, this had a blended mix of tender pork and pork fat.  Hence it had a great rebound texture as well as plenty of juiciness.  It was seasoned well and balanced.  The bean curd skin was soft but still retained an al dente chewiness.  Also, there wasn't too much sauce, which kept the roll from being too wet.

Lastly, we had the Steamed Beef Meatballs which were a bit small-looking.  No matter though as they were fluffy and well-processed.  The lightness of the meatballs meant they ate really easy and with barely any chewing.  They were lightly seasoned where I could still taste some of the baking soda (used to help soften the meat).  I would've preferred they serve the Worcestershire on the side rather than on the plate itself.  The residual steaming liquid watered it down.  So after this experience at PPP, I could say that the Dim Sum was more than acceptable, but not as good as Vancouver (not many places are).  I would say that it more closely resembles Dim Sum you would find in San Francisco, which is a bit more ol' skool than the modernized versions you would see in Vancouver and Los Angeles (or in the suburbs of San Francisco).

The Good:
- Still got those push carts, the novelty of it all
- Decent Dim Sum
- Fairly nice dining space

The Bad:
- Not as good as some other cities, but good for what it is
- Service is very sparse, flagging down someone is next to impossible


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