I'm not a fan of snakes.
Unless they're made of 100 percent chocolate.
A private dining room inside the Bellagio in Las Vegas has been transformed into the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing. Later this week, the casino resort will be hosting Chinese New Year dinners here for $500 a plate. (There are still a few openings so don't delay!) (Story continues below the video.)
The staff from the real Diaoyutai guesthouse has been flown in from China, along with their own fine china and utensils.
(Read More: Why Luxury Brands Are Celebrating Chinese New Year.)
"We're expecting about 50 guests every evening," said Ana Marie Mormando, vice president of food and beverage at the Bellagio.
Those guests will be served an 8-course meal which executive chef Edmund Wong said will include a braised Maine lobster paired with pineapple "and a touch of vanilla ... it is an amazing, amazing dish." The dish will be prepared by the Diaoyutai's own head chef, also flown in to Las Vegas.
(Read More: Sin City's Secret Weapon: China and Baccarat.)
Chef Wong will be preparing appetizers and other foods for the dinners. This week he gave me a taste, literally, of what's in store, like the salmon cured in vodka delicately rolled into eight spoons (eight is a lucky number) topped with edible gold leaf and caviar. "Nothing gets any better than caviar." He also showed off a display of a snake curving up bamboo, made entirely of chocolate. That was the most challenging element for his staff.
"The nature of the snake can be seen to me to be very aggressive," Wong said. Their goal instead was "to represent the snake in friendship."
You had me at chocolate.
Watch the video as Chef Wong and Ana Marie Mormando show off what they've got cooking for the high rollers wanting to celebrate the Chinese New Year in high style. This isn't your average Chinese takeout.
"I think it's taking in historic recipes with a modern interpretation" said Chef Wong, standing beside two bottles of Dom Perignon.
Which he did not open for me ...
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