Kosher Chinglish and Chinglish Cantonese Wine Bar are separate but connected entities bringing unique and authentic flavors to Boca Park and the Las Vegas Valley at large. Kosher Chinglish opened in time for Rosh Hashanah in September, with the wine bar restaurant and its spacious patio making its debut on October 10.
The dual concepts are anchored in the cooking of Bay Area transplants Po Fai and Anna Lam, and were inspired by the ritual of sitting shiva, according to Po Fai and Anna’s daughter, Kitty Heck.
“My husband, [Ken,] is Jewish, and when his mother passed away, he was observing the traditional sitting shiva mourning period of 10 days where friends and family come over to care for him,” she says. “It becomes sort of like an open house, where your loved ones send food or come cook for you. Even though I was born in a household of great chefs, I don’t know how to cook at all, so my mom and dad flew down here and lived with us for a while and I showed them how to look for kosher food at the store.”
At the time, the Lams were operating three restaurants around San Francisco; the family originated in Hong Kong, and Po Fai is an acclaimed chef who has worked in restaurants in Canada, Japan, the Philippines and China.
“Word got around that there was true Chinese kosher food at the house and by the last night of the shiva, when usually the numbers are dropping, there were 93 people eating and praying together,” Kitty says. “That’s basically how the restaurant was born. Since then, every time we go to synagogue, everyone is asking when my parents are coming here to open a restaurant, since we don’t have kosher Chinese food here.”
So the Lams relocated to Las Vegas, just a few freeway exits away from the Hecks, and Kosher Chinglish became the only kosher Chinese restaurant in the state. The Kosher dining room has a normal indoor capacity of 30 and is designed as a fast-casual, grab-and-go eatery, while the wine bar restaurant normally seats 119 indoors and 111 outdoors.
Both Chinglish menus feature food made fresh from scratch, with homemade sauces containing no added sugar, rare for neighborhood Chinese restaurants. At Kosher, the stir-fried beef with green beans ($20), deep-fried lemon chicken ($18) and Poh Poh’s chicken dumplings ($12) are top sellers, while the in-house dry-aged Peking duck ($32-$55) has emerged as the early star at the wine bar.
KOSHER CHINGLISH & CHINGLISH CANTONESE WINE BAR 8704 W. Charleston Blvd. #101, 702-935-2088. Sunday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. & 4-9 p.m.; Friday, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m.