ChinaLatina by Chef Beni is what happens when one chef’s love of Chinese food combines with being raised in a Latin community in New York City. Chef Beni Velazquez’s ChinaLatina pays homage to his love of both Chinese and Latin cuisines and is a vegan-friendly restaurant in Las Vegas.
Located next to the former Trop location of Pancho’s Vegan Tacos, the new concept from Velazquez (who you may remember from Bar + Bistro in the Arts District) reflects his upbringing where he could not only have fried rice and wonton soup, but also sweet fried plantains at the local Chinese restaurant (where the owner even spoke Spanish). Thankfully, he’s created Chinese-Latin dishes for vegan diners at this fast-casual spot.
While the Pan Latin restaurant focuses largely on non-vegan dishes, there are still a handful of eats for vegans. Start your meal off with egg rolls (don’t worry, they’re not actually made with egg). The vegan version comes filled with jicama slaw and avocado with dragon sauce for dipping.
Or, start your meal with something a little sweeter, the roasted sweet bananas. These sweet morsels are dangerous though — it’s hard to have only one. Or two. So, plan accordingly or give yourself a limit.
Every category on ChinaLatina’s menu offers something vegan, like its miso tofu ramen. This unique ramen is hearty bowl filled with miso-flavored veggie broth, smoked tofu, noodles, jicama slaw, roasted corn and green onions topped with nori.
The vegan chef specialty on the menu is the crispy smoked tofu featuring tofu coated in spiced rice flour, veggies and a Spanish sherry garlic sauce. For something a bit lighter, order the ChinaLatina salad with jicama slaw, sweet and spicy cucumbers, oranges and avocado tossed in a sweet chili dressing.
Of course, there’s a vegan fried rice you can order (bonus: every Friday is Fried Rice Friday where its $5), plus a few sides like shishito peppers, seasoned or sweet potato fries and yuca fries.
Wrap up your meal with Velazquez’s famous vegan and gluten-free (!!!) chocolate cake smothered in chocolate sauce, a rich treat.
But, the vegan options don’t stop with the food. You can also order a boba black tea or passion fruit tea made with coconut milk, agave and black pearl tapioca, smoothies like the Very Berry-Kiwi (strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, kiwi and orange juice).
4865 S. Pecos Rd., 725-735-2972, Monday – Thursday: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m., Friday – Saturday: 10 a.m – midnight, Sunday: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Diana Edelman is the founder of Vegans, Baby. She previously lived and worked in Thailand working for an elephant sanctuary and has traveled around the world speaking about the realities of elephant tourism, being a positive activist and entrepreneur at events including TBEX, SEED Food + Wine, VegFest Puerto Rico, VegFest Toronto and more. Diana is a proud partner with the James Beard Foundation and curates their Vegas Vegan Dinner series at the famous James Beard House, as well as the vegan activation, The Farm Stand, at Las Vegas’ Life Is Beautiful festival.