Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Kung Fu Plaza: TripAdvisor Recommended

When we received the letter, it was a good day. Kung Fu Plaza Thai & Chinese Restaurant, which is the oldest and most authentic Thai and Chinese restaurant in Las Vegas, received the “Recommended on TripAdvisor” endorsement from the world’s largest travel website. Only 3+ rated properties can receive this distinction.

Kung Fu Plaza has also broken into the top 20 Asian restaurants and top 300 restaurants in Las Vegas — one of only a few restaurants that serves Thai cuisine to do so. In a city with so many world-class restaurants,  we are both honored and humbled by the news from TripAdvisor.

My family and I don't even see this as a win for our restaurant alone. It is a win for Thailand because so many Asian restaurants lean toward Asian fusion while we have remained true to our Thai heritage. When they moved from Thailand to the United States in the 1970s, my parents wanted to preserve as much tradition as possible and introduce Americans to Thai food that was distinct from Chinese.

A brief recap of our history as a restaurant. 

Kung Fu Thai & Chinese Restaurant has a long history as the first Thai restaurant to open in Las Vegas before Americans really understood Thai food. In order to distinguish it from Chinese cuisine, my father and mother decided to call the restaurant "Kung Fu," which people associated with monks from television.

After a few months, my family started to add Chinese dishes because so many Americans expected to see Chinese favorites on the menu. The combination worked. It worked so well that they were asked to move their restaurant to the Plaza Hotel, then considered the crown jewel of Downtown Las Vegas.

After a little more than a decade in the Plaza Hotel, my family decided to support a developing Chinatown in Las Vegas and moved again. Our lifelong patrons — Thai and Asian visitors and celebrities — found us easy enough. So many in fact that some people say we have a cult following made of celebrities, foreign dignitaries, and even royalty. Maybe so. We just think of them as friends.

The future of Kung Fu Plaza and Thai food.

In recent years, word of mouth has taken on a new dimension because of social media, social networks, and travel sites like TripAdvisor. As more people learned that Kung Fu Plaza delivers to hotel rooms and even convention booths up and down the Las Vegas Strip, we've regained our reputation as the oldest and most authentic Thai and Chinese restaurant in Las Vegas.

So while many people, especially celebrities, enjoy coming to Chinatown to dine in with us because they feel relaxed and at home, we also have one of the largest takeout and delivery service areas possible. In fact, as far as I know, we are one of the few (if any) top rated restaurants on TripAdvisor to be known for takeout and delivery.

And even if there are other restaurants that can increase their service area, few could maintain a menu as large as ours. We have more than 250 authentic Thai and Chinese dishes. We also serve special dishes that aren't our menu-- the kind of food only Asian travelers would know to ask for.

Even more than the honor of being included among TripAdvisor recommended restaurants, I think, are what some people have taken the time to write. One family stumbled upon Kung Fu while riding a hotel shuttle past the restaurant. One couple wanted authentic Thai food and hotel staff immediately recommended us. Another couple discovered Kung Fu when they decided to eat in at their hotel but didn’t want hotel room service. All of them gave us high marks and we appreciate it so very much.

We cannot thank these wonderful guests enough. Their kind words contribute to our ‘Recommended on TripAdvisor’ endorsement. It encourages us to live up to our name. Kung Fu means ‘to work harder’ in Cantonese.

To learn more about Kung Fu Plaza, visit our online menu here. We deliver within a 3-mile radius and are located at 3505 S. Valley View Blvd., which is just east of the Fashion Show Mall on the Las Vegas Strip. For reservations, to order takeout or ask for delivery, call 702-247-4120.