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Las Vegas restaurants celebrate Year of the Pig

The Lunar New Year, which began Tuesday and extends through Feb. 15, is being celebrated throughout Las Vegas with lion and dragon dances, art displays and, of course, special menus, all designed to welcome the Year of the Pig.

Gert Kopera, executive vice president of the Hakkasan Group, whose restaurants include Hakkasan at MGM Grand, said the menu there is rooted in traditional Cantonese dishes that augur good things to come in the new year.

“For example,” he said, “dumplings symbolize wealth in Chinese culture, and one of the courses on our special menu is a specially crafted dim sum duo, a seafood sesame jian dui (fried pastry) and a shacha chicken puff. Additionally, we have a crispy suckling pig on our menu to celebrate the Year of the Pig. That dish is served with sticky rice, an homage to the traditional niangao, or glutinous rice, that symbolizes a higher income or position in society.”

Other Hakkasan dishes, available through Feb. 24, include Peking duck with crispy bean curd and mango, wok-fried lobster with spinach and lily bulb, and stir-fried bok choy with mushrooms. Dessert represents the traditional Chinese wealth pot; here, it’s made with dark chocolate, mandarin and crispy hazelnut. A la carte dishes start at $18 and the prix-fixe menu is $128 per person for a minimum of two.

The new Mott 32 at Palazzo is serving a prix-fixe menu that starts with a whole Maine lobster and Australian abalone salad and moves on to pan-fried spring onion cake, wagyu beef puff with taro, steamed chicken fillet with Yunnan ham and vegetables, king prawns with pan-fried sticky rice cakes, sauteed jade scallops, assorted greens with preserved red bean curd sauce and truffle-fried five-grain rice with vegetables and wild mushrooms. It’s $98, through Tuesday.

Red Plate at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is opening for lunch from noon to 3 p.m. through Sunday, serving a special dim sum menu of such dishes as a sticky rice cake in coconut, a pan-fried chive cake, steamed beef ball and braised chicken feet. Special dishes offered at lunch and dinner include dried oyster with black moss and dried scallops, black pepper onion pork knuckles and Hong Kong-style roasted half duck. And the 10-course Emperor’s Feast dinner, of dishes such as roasted pork belly, dried oyster with black moss in lettuce cup and braised fish fin soup with uni, fish maw and goose feet, is $388 per person for parties of four or more.

At China Tang at MGM Grand, the Four Hands Chinese New Year menu offers 10 celebratory dishes, ranging in price from deep-fried shimp mousse filling with goose liver paste at $18.88 to braised abalone, fish maw, dry scallop and black mushroom at $298. Other dishes include crab meat pomelo mango salad, $26.88, and crispy chicken with spring onions, $28 or $38, depending on size.

Morimoto, also at MGM Grand, is presenting a 1-ounce caviar tasting with traditional condiments for $299, while other choices are 3-pound spiny lobster sashimi, $599; 3-pound Scottish Brittany Blue lobster sashimi, $599; live prawns teppan-style with dry Riesling wine sauce, $20; truffle uni custard with sesame oil and fresh truffles, $60. Sushi by the piece is $25 for Japanese uni, $15 for mirugai, $20 for awabi and $20 for ama ebi.

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas’ China Poblano, which celebrates Chinese and Mexican cuisines, renowned chef Jose Andres offers an a la carte menu including The Chicken or the Egg, which is chicken, egg tofu, black bean sauce, pickled sweet pepper and ice plant, $15.88; Goose Goose Duck, made with goose, seared foie gras, salted egg yolk, orange and sesame tuile served on a house-made bun, $15.88; and Forest of Jade, prepared with forest mushrooms, jicama, celery, Fresno chili peppers, cilantro and gold flakes, $13.88. It’s available through Feb. 17.

Lemongrass at Aria is featuring braised whole abalone with Chinese broccoli, $115, as well as live Manila clams with black bean or spicy basil sauce, $28, and silky chicken ginseng soup in Chinese herbal ginseng broth, $28. They’re available from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. through Monday.

And at Honey Salt at 1031 S. Rampart Blvd., Jesse Bongiovi, father of rock star Jon Bon Jovi, will discuss the duo’s Hampton Water wine at the Chinese New Year Feast at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. The multicourse dinner that includes pork belly bao, hot and sour soup, wok-seared salmon and mango creme brulee is $49, with wine pairings for $25.

The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson. Las Vegas Sands operates Palazzo.

A previous version of this story had the incorrect address of Honey Salt restaurant.

Contact Heidi Knapp Rinella at Hrinella@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0474. Follow @HKRinella on Twitter.

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