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Nov 15, 2013 09:51 AM

TULSA now has 2 Chinese restaurants to be proud of

Tulsa, for far too long a city where Chinese food meant gloppy sweet sauce with bits of chicken floating in it, now has a Chinese restaurant to be proud of. In fact, we have two. You might find a few dishes on the menu which you just can't find even in New York. Tulsa now has a big enough population of Chinese exchange students and residents to support these exciting culinary ventures.

China Garden

The tables are packed with Chinese diners come to enjoy a fiery menu of food from Sichuan. Mao Xue Wang, for example, is a chili-filled soup which, like the Iranian stew called kale pache, has every part of the animal thrown in. There are pillowy cubes of pig's blood jostling slices of pig's intestine. Lots of vegetables and a ton of chili pepper, with Sichuan peppercorns too. Other famous and hard-to-find Sichuan dishes include La Zi Ji (chicken with a mountain of chilis), Farmhouse Pork (a dish originally from Hunan), cumin lamb, fiery water-cooked fish, Saliva Chicken, and Husband and Wife Sliced Lung. The section of the menu with these unusual treats is written in Chinese only but I've translated it for a Tulsa message board. So as not to cross-post, I can't copy it but can give you the link. Many standard Sichuan dishes are, for the less adventurous, also available, including Yu Xiang pork and twice-cooked pork.

9720 E 31 Street

Mandarin Taste

The friendly owner is from Peking and her menu offers simple North Chinese fare as well as a few Sichuan specialties. On Monday, you can get braised pig's feet in a rich brown sauce. (Other braised offerings are not quite as good.) Lots of delicious dumpling and noodle dishes as well as hearty noodle soups. They do a great version of water-boiled fish, fiery beyond belief. Another fine choice is Suan Cai Yu. It’s similar to the boiled fish, but with much less heat. Fish and pickled vegetables over clear noodles made with potato flour, and all in this soup bowl big enough to bathe a baby and chock-full of rich delicious sour greenish broth. There are delicious specials written on a blackboard. Ask and they'll be happy to translate.

6125 S Sheridan

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  1. I've gotten in the habit of going to Las Vegas when I badly feel the need for real Chinese food. For example, Shaanxi Gourmet at the intersection of Spring Mountain and Jones has excellent dirt cheap dishes like sour and spicy soup with pig tripe for $7 (a huge bowl). I need to check out these two places and see if they can satisfy my craving.

    1. I had a delicious and totally authentic fish dish at China Garden last week. Watercress fish. No watercress here, this is fish slices in doubanjiang, a spicy sauce made out of 2 kinds of fermented beans. It’s a rich delicious sauce and it’s served over fish slices with a healthy helping of hot chili flakes and also Sichuan peppercorns. Truly 麻辣.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Brian S

        I have now been to both China Garden and Mandarin Taste. Had the Mao Xue Wang at CG - very tasty (but about twice the price I'd pay of something similar at Shaanxi Gourmet in Las Vegas - of course that's not counting the air-fare and hotel costs!). My wife and I had several dishes at Mandarin Taste and the overall verdict was a thumbs up. The pig tripe appetizer was a little salty (is it always like that?). Somehow we missed the little menu card with the more interesting dishes until after we had ordered - something to try when we go back again,

      2. I had a meal at Mandarin Taste that was worthy of a top Chinese restaurant in New York. Some dishes I'd never seen before, including pig brains with tofu. Here are 19 photos.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Brian S

          ordered a few dishes off the Chinese menu based on your review. had the saliva chicken - tasty but not overwhelmed by it. Also, the spicy fish soup - absolutely wonderful - not IMHO killer spicy but definitely up there - enough to take home and make 3 or 4 more lunches. Also, had the pig brains - nothing offensive - definitely not at all chewy - rather bland IMHO. Brian - is there any way you could post the chinese menu here with a translation?

          1. re: kagemusha49

            I've done a few. The pig brains and tofu is 猪脑豆花. The super-spicy water-cooked fish soup is 水煮魚. The not-so-spicy fish soup with sauerkraut is 酸菜鱼. And the slow-cooked pork belly with collard greens is 梅菜扣肉

        2. All I can say is wow. I need to get back to Mandarin Taste