In the middle of a pandemic, Resorts World Las Vegas bravely opened its doors to the public Friday. Its long awaited grand launch also marked the birth of the first new Las Vegas Strip hotel casino in a decade, and is expected to bring much needed business at a time the famed entertainment destination needs it the most.
The new resort, which sits on 88 acres of land at the North end of the Las Vegas Strip, has plenty to offer, including 40 food and beverage options. Among these are dishes from our very own Pepita’s Kitchen, famous in Manila for its lechons stuffed with delicious rice flavored with truffle, sisig and other mouth-watering treats.
Pepita’s Kitchen is a proudly homegrown, Manila-based food business founded by its proprietor Dedet de la Fuente, more popularly known in the Philippine food scene as “Lechon Diva.” Dedet stumbled upon her business idea when she got hooked on the lechon-making process after attending a pig-roasting class headed by noted Filipina chef Reggie Aspiras.
According to Dedet, Pepita’s Kitchen will be part of an interactive 24,000-square-foot street food destination in Vegas that will feature 16 food stalls from top chefs and restaurateurs from all over the world. The offerings can be found in an area called Famous Foods Street Eats. It boasts a curated list of eateries that will be serving some of the best representations of Asian food together with some well-known Vegas chefs and their establishments.
What to expect from the Lechon Diva’s Vegas stall—the only stall, by the way, handpicked to represent Filipino food in the Vegas strip? It’s her all-time favorite truffle rice stuffed lechon together with a newly-launched sisig panini.
Other notable stalls to explore in the strip are a Michelin Bib Gourmand-endorsed dumplings place from Hong Kong, a legendary family-run Thai beef noodle shop from Bangkok, a traditional Hainanese chicken stall from Singapore and a handful of other Asian delights that will be sharing the food arena with the likes of James Beard award-winning chef Marcus Samuelsson’s Streetbird Las Vegas. Streetbird will feature Samuelsson’s take on American comfort food. There’s also Mozz Bar by James Trees, an Italian food counter from the James Beard finalist who is of the Las Vegas favorite Esther’s Kitchen.
Shortly after it opened its doors to the public, Dedet gleefully gushed via a Facebook post about the warm reception her lechons received. Her stall attracted a long line of foodies on opening day, among them badass boxing great Mike Tyson. Dedet also posted her new Pepita’s Kitchen logo complete with an inspiring statement about how her brand has evolved.
“The Philippine Lechonera (female pig roaster) has truly landed in Las Vegas,” said Dedet. “She is holding an abaca fan while roasting lechon. Yes, hindi siya payat (she is not thin) and she is wearing an Adidas Ultra Boost. This image completes the new logo and new look of the Lechon Diva of Pepita’s Kitchen. I feel this represents the modern-day Filipina. Hardworking, not afraid to do things not typically asked of a girl, and comfortable wearing what she wants.”
[Photos courtesy of Dedet de la Fuente]