Fried Prawns with Candied Walnuts, Inspired by Wing Lei-Las Vegas

Fried Prawns with Candied Walnuts, Inspired by Wing Lei🦐 Fried Prawns with Creamy Calamansi Sauce 🦐
Date Syrup Candied Walnuts with Chinese Five Spice

Wing Lei is the first Chinese restaurant in North America to earn a Michelin star – serving Cantonese, Shanghai and Szechuan flavors, and featuring tableside-carved Imperial Peking duck.

The meaning of the Chinese characters that represent Wing Lei, is twofold: not only does it mean “forever prosperous” but it also represents “Wynn” itself, the luxury Las Vegas resort and casino. All the menu items are priced ending in 88 cents. Representing prosperity and completeness, the number 88 is especially popular in Chinese culture because of the double eights but also because of its visual similarity to the sign for double happiness 囍.

Places are set with two sets of chopsticks per person. Black chopsticks are used to take food from mutual dishes to one’s plate. White ones are meant to carry food to one’s mouth.

We recently enjoyed an extraordinary meal at Wing Lei, celebrating my nephew’s 21st birthday. The service and ambiance were impeccable, the food sublime. One of our favorite dishes was Fried Prawns, I re-create my version here.

Fried Prawns with Candied Walnuts, Inspired by Wing Lei

Fried Prawns Recipe

Chef Ming Yu
Stone consults with Chef Ming Yu on menu choices

Chef Ming Yu recommends family-style sharing while dining at Wing Lei, so everyone at the table can savor the popular dishes. But the undisputed star of the menu is Wing Lei’s acclaimed Peking Duck, which Ming calls “perhaps the most famous dish of Beijing, prepared since the Imperial era.” From a sustainable approach to sourcing to its painstaking preparation and the fanfare of presenting the duck tableside, the dish beautifully blends tradition and celebration. Adds Ming, “The result is a meltingly tender duck that also carves beautifully.”



Chef’s Amuse Bouche Spoons


Pan-Seared Pot Stickers 香煎鍋貼
Minced Pork, Cabbage, Pickled Ginger, Garlic-Ginger Soy

Crispy Wagyu Beef Roll 脆綱和牛卷
American Wagyu, Scallions, Black Pepper, Sweet Chili Sauce

Honey-Glazed BBQ Spare Ribs 蜜燒排骨
Green Papaya Salad

Alaskan King Crab Salad 帝皇蟹沙拉
Mango, Avocado, Miso-Yuzu Dressing

Wing Lei, Las Vegas


Imperial Peking Duck 北京鴨
Carved Tableside, Steamed Buns and Mandarin Crêpes, Cucumber, Scallions, Hoisin Sauce

Wing Lei Peking Duck

Wing Lei, Las Vegas


Fried Prawns With Candied Walnuts 核桃蝦球
Creamy Kalamansi Honey Sauce

Braised Pork Belly 紅燒東坡肉
Star Anise, Soy Reduction

Three Cup Sea Bass 三杯雪魚
Garlic, Scallions, Basil, Sweet Ginger Soy Reduction

Lemon Chicken 香酥檸雞
Frisee, Honey Lemon Sauce

Wing Lei, Las Vegas



Earthly Branch ~ Grey Goose Essences Strawberry Lemongrass Vodka / yuzu / plum wine / butterfly pea blossom / dragonfruit

Dragon King ~ Gold Bar Straight Bourbon Whiskey / Dewars Mizunara
Japanese Scotch / Kai Coconut Pandan Sochu / black sesame / yin & yang lotus

River Goddess ~ Absolut Watermelon Vodka/ Kai Lemongrass Ginger Sochu/ Ming River Baifu / cucumber / watermelon juice


Taittinger La Francaise Brut Champagne NV ~ “A brilliant pale gold in the glass, the wine delivers a complex mixture of clean stone fruit with subtle notes of spice and floral characteristics to the nose and palate.”

Paul Hobbs Russian River Pinot Noir 2020 ~ “Vibrant, with racy-edged pomegranate, plum and black cherry notes, this has light sparkles of anise and savory throughout that add range, while the finish is sleek and tightly focused.”

Del Dotto Pinot Noir Fort Ross-Seaview Sonoma Coast 2018 ~ “The Estate offering has an amazingly complex display of black cherry, fresh earth, forest floor, black tea, and even light hints of vanilla bean.”

Wing Lei, Las Vegas

Fried Prawns Inspired by Wing Lei

Fried Prawns With Candied Walnuts 核桃蝦球 Creamy Kalamansi Honey Sauce
Wing Lei Fried Prawns With Candied Walnuts 核桃蝦球
Creamy Kalamansi Honey Sauce

Fried Prawns with Candied Walnuts, Inspired by Wing Lei

Date Syrup Candied Walnuts with Chinese 5 Spice
  • 1 c. walnut halves
  • olive oil
  • 1/3 c. date syrup
  • coarse sea salt
  • chinese 5 spice

Add olive oil to a hot non-stick pan. Use just enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. When oil is hot, add walnuts. Then drizzle date syrup over the walnuts. Season with salt and a few dashes of 5 spice. Stir with a wooden spoon until the syrup thickens, about 2 minutes.

Transfer walnuts to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Separate the walnuts as best as possible. Let cool completely .

To Clean: Add water to the non-stick pan and bring to a boil. Stir with wooden spoon to remove hardened syrup from the spoon as well.

Notes: Date syrup adds another layer of flavor as opposed to plain sugar to candy the walnuts. The syrup is dark in color, so the walnuts are dark (not burnt). Chinese 5 Spice powder is a blend of star anise, cloves, cinnamon, Sichuan peppercorns and fennel seeds. It totally takes the walnuts over the top. The flavor is intense so use sparingly.

How to Make Honey Prawns

Creamy Calamansi Sauce
  • 1/4 c. mayonnaise
  • 1 t. date syrup
  • 2 t. condensed milk
  • 2 T. calamansi nectar

Whisk ingredients together then set aside at room temperature while preparing the prawns. (There will be more sauce than needed for the prawns).

Note: I buy calamansi nectar at a local Filipino Supermarket called Seafood City in Las Vegas. If calamansi is not available, substitute tangerine nectar/juice.

Fried Prawns
  • 8 – 10 large prawns or shrimp
  • fine sea salt and white pepper
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • cornstarch
  • avocado oil or other high heat oil

Remove shell and tail from prawns. Devein as necessary. Make a deep cut down the back of the prawn so it opens up, butterfly, but do not cut all the way through.

Season with salt and pepper.

Dip prawns in egg then coat with cornstarch, pressing the cornstarch into the prawns to coat.

Heat enough oil in a small pan to come 1/3 way up on the prawns. When oil is hot, add about 4 – 5 prawns at a time and fry on each side until lightly golden. About 1 to 1 1/2 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels.

To Plate
  • calamansi zest or tangerine zest
  • thin slices of asian pear or golden apple in lemon juice
  • edible orchid
  • micro greens

Transfer warm prawns to a bowl. Drizzle with sauce and toss gently to coat. Mound prawns in the middle of a platter. Arrange candied walnuts around the prawns. Sprinkle with zest. Garnish with pear, orchid, and micro greens.

Fried Prawns with Candied Walnuts, Inspired by Wing Lei


Fried Prawns with Candied Walnuts, Inspired by Wing Lei

Wing Lei, Las Vegas

Last Course

Birthday Cake and Mignardises

Mini Wing Lei Cakes to Take Home

Fried Prawns with Candied Walnuts, Inspired by Wing Lei

Thank you to the Most Gracious Chef Ming Yu
The Thoughtful, Attentive Staff of Wing Lei…

And a Very Happy 21st Birthday to My Dear Nephew, Stone!


Wynn Las Vegas here

Forbes Travel Guide here

Cosmopolitan here


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