Do Dim Sum: An Afternoon at Guangzhou

Posted by Tasha on January 28th, 2011 in Restaurants

Dim Sum

It’s not every day a picky two-year-old willingly – no, eagerly – eats sticky rice out of a lotus leaf.

But on a Sunday afternoon at Guangzhou, a Chinese restaurant operating out of a former McDonald’s building on 11th Street east of Harvard, during the only dim sum service in Tulsa, it can happen.¬†With fervor and the abandoning of forks.

Dim Sum

For awhile now some church pals of ours have been trying to invite us out for a type of meal I thought they were mispronouncing as dim sum.

Turns out they weren’t mispronouncing (and that I need to get out more). What the heck is dim sum, then? Here’s the jist: It’s a type of Chinese food service that features individual-sized portions of food, usually served in small steamer baskets, on a small plate or, in the case of our first dim sum dinner, what looked like the metal bowls that came with this tiffin box my husband brought back from what he likes to call his extended field trip to Kabul, Afghanistan.

When trying dim sum for the first time, remember this: As with other types of cuisine that find their roots in other parts of the world, you don’t always want to make judgements about what the food must be like by the vibe of the building or the atmosphere in which its served.

In other words, if it’s Chinese food on the menu and it’s coming out of a kitchen in the back of a former McDonald’s, you know that nine times out of 10 it’s gonna knock your socks off.

Here’s how dim sum service works: The dim sum cart wheels by your table and you point to what you want. Then, magically, it’s yours. It’s that simple. What’s most fun is to request a variety of things to try, slide them onto the Lazy Susan that’s in the middle of every table at Guangzhou and spin to win.

What’s on the cart? Lots of different types of dumplings – shrimp, pork and more. And these precious little potstickers, crowned with a single pea. And char siu baau, which are these steamed fluffy buns made from wheat flour and filled with Cantonese barbecued pork.

And tasty shrimp and pork fillings wrapped in skins of translucent rice flour, too. Or, as our friends called them, gelatinous deliciousness.

Dim Sum

Also on the cart was lo mai gai wrapped in a lotus leaf. Which is, apparently and unbeknownst to me, one of my son’s favorite foods ever.

Dim Sum


Dim sum

I loved it, too. While the leaf wasn’t very tasty (for some reason my husband was compelled to give it a try and reported thus), the innards that were steamed inside – a concoction of sticky rice and tender pork and chicken – were the very definition of comfort food: Warm, starchy, meaty, and deeply savory.

And caramely. And sticky. It’s the kind of stuff a girl could eat all evening long while camped out with a bunch of pillows on the couch, in front of yet another home screening of The Notebook.

Dim sum

See those rice-flour skins on the dumplings? Apparently those take time to learn to make to that photo-worthy standard. So when you find some made as well as these, it’s craftsmanship that’s definitely worth noticing. And appreciating.

Dim sum

I would just like to take this opportunity to say that there were no Phoenix talons on the cart at this dim sum dinner.

Phoenix talons are, by the way, deep fried chicken feet.

While we love us some yard bird, I just don’t think that Oklahoma is ready for deep fried chicken feet.

At least, not these Oklahomans. I like to think of myself as adventurous when it comes to all matters culinary, but, well…deep fried chicken feet.

Dim sum

Aren’t our fellow dim summers cute? They’re sweet, too. They helped us decide what to order off the cart. And they’re always so nice to my son.

But then, who out there who’s female¬†isn’t nice to my son?

Dim sum

Not that I’d have any idea why he’d get special treatment or anything.

Dim sum

For dessert there was a variety of pastry. My favorite was the egg tart, a personal-sized, flakey puff pastry filled with egg custard. It, too, was gelatinous. Delicious, too. Like a stripped-down, everyman’s mini quiche.

The ladies’ man’s favorite was the jin deui, or matuan, a chewy-and-sticky-on-the-inside, crispy-on-the-outside ball of dough. It’s filled with red bean paste, rolled in sesame seeds and, you guessed it, deep fried.

Dim sum

Sounds strange. Tastes like lightly sweet, lightly nutty heaven.

Dim sum

“Hmmm. Yes. Sweet. Nutty. Quite.”

The discerning food critic in the family agrees.

Dim sum

Hey, son? You got a little something right there.

Dim sum

OK, got it. Carry on.

Dim Sum

Dim sum at Guangzhou starts in the late morning and continues into the afternoon. I’d recommend grabbing a table during what the staff and regulars call magic hour, or the time when the turnover on the cart is the most rapid. According to my observations and the advice of our dim summing friends, it’s between 12:30 and 1:30pm.

Dim Sum

As a newbie dim summer myself, here’s my advice: Use a dim sum dinner service at Guangzhou as an easy excuse to expose your kids (and yourself) to a cuisine that, if you’re locked into the stereotypical Okie diet of meat and potatoes, will challenge and surprise you. Who knows, you might find your new favorite food.

Dim sum

Yeah. Judging by the experience of the kid who would eat only grilled cheese sandwiches and chocolate chip cookies the day before he was treated to a dim sum dinner, you just might.

Where: 4003 E. 11th Street
Call: (918) 835-7888
Dim sum hours: Saturday and Sunday, 10:30am-3pm
Other hours: Monday, Wednesday-Sunday, 10:30am-9pm; Closed Tuesdays

Guang Zhou Dim Sum on Urbanspoon

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12 Comments to Do Dim Sum: An Afternoon at Guangzhou

  1. Shane Bevel

    On January 28, 2011 at 5:27 pm


    WOOHOO! This place is a couple blocks from our house. We love it.

  2. Joe of Joe's Burger Search

    On January 28, 2011 at 7:29 pm


    Dim Sum Me!

  3. Brian S.

    On January 28, 2011 at 8:17 pm


    This was Tulsa’s first authentic Chinese restaurant. They go far beyond dim sum and have some dinner entrees you won’t find anywhere else (except possibly at Asian Cuisine at 51st and Yale). Here is my review, with lots of photos, of Guangzhou Dim Sum at their original location on Garnett.

  4. Michael C.

    On January 28, 2011 at 8:47 pm


    This looks absolutely amazing! We ate dim sum last year in Chinatown in San Francisco and have been craving it ever since. Must. Check. Out.

  5. TravelingSpork

    On January 30, 2011 at 11:56 pm


    Cool! Gotta check it out. Great pics, too.

  6. Tasha

    On February 1, 2011 at 9:58 pm


    For those of you who plan to try this place for the first time, I’d love to hear about your experiences – report back here in the comments and let me know what all you tried. Fun!

  7. Amy Kirk

    On February 13, 2011 at 6:27 pm


    My partner and I first started eating at this restaurant when they were in the Econo Lodge in east Tulsa….fell in love with it instantly. We have followed them to their current location and tell all of our friends about them. Their Crab Rangoons are to die for!!! Small, crisp and full of flavor. Nothing at any other Chinese restaurant in Tulsa compares. The menu is extensive and you will find some really unusual dishes on the menu. Love it!!!

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