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Dot Wo Chinese Seafood Restaurant (Closed)

64 E. 33rd St.
Edmond, OK

Dot Wo in Edmond

It is not often that a certain food seems to have magical properties that enable the partaker to be transported to the Middle Kingdom, but the Kung Pao Tofu at Dot Wo was one of the first Chinese dishes I tried that made me feel this way. The tofu soaks up the dark kung pao sauce giving Chinese food addicts an extra amount of flavor. Dot Wo in Edmond first offered this dish as a special and later added it to the menu, and as far as I know this is the only one of the metro's several Dot Wo restaurants that serves it. The large pieces of ginger cooked in the sauce also give it an extra flavor boost that I do not think is matched by the kung pao dishes in the city's other restaurants.

Kung pao tofu
Kung pao tofu is a special dish served only at the Edmond Dot Wo

Other dishes that started as a special have also been added to the menu, giving customers a greater choice than is found at most restaurants. While I appreciate the inventiveness of the chefs, to go beyond the most popular and well known dishes, it was after I made the leap to more traditional food from the "Chinese menu" that I really began to appreciate Dot Wo more than most suburban Chinese restaurants. The Dot Wo on Portland Avenue in Oklahoma City is one of the most popular places in the city for Chinese clientele, and it has the most extensive menu of authentic Chinese dishes of the Dot Wo group. The Edmond restaurant, though, offers several of the same items, and I think offers a good alternative.

Mixed vegetable clay pot with tofu
Mixed vegetable clay pot with tofu

The Mixed Vegetable Clay Pot is an example of the more authentic Chinese dishes that are served. This is a gigantic mixture of vegetables and tofu served in a clay pot that keeps it warm while you have time to savor each bite. While very few restaurants even serve clay pot dishes at all, this is among the better ones I have tried, with the vegetables providing a good assortment of American and Chinese varieties. The tofu is probably the most outstanding feature of the dish, with the texture being braised on the outside and not too soft on the inside.

Westlake Beef Soup is an example of some of the other more authentic dishes that are served. Although this was not among the favorites I have tried, it was an example of the menu items I did not expect to find at a suburban Chinese restaurant.

Bean cake clay pot with pork
Bean cake clay pot with pork

The Pork Bean Cake Pot is probably a more traditional clay pot dish than the mixed vegetables, with a little pork included for flavor (but mainly this is a vegetable dish). This is also my favorite among the ones I have tried. These dishes are identical to the ones served at the other Dot Wo Restaurants, with some being traditional Chinese dishes and others (such as the chicken thigh pot) being geared primarily toward American tastes. The difference in the restaurants, though, is that the Portland Avenue restaurant has a supplemental menu (the "real" Chinese menu) that offers additional clay pot dishes.

Hot and sour soup
Hot and sour soup

The Hot and Sour Soup is one of the best in Oklahoma (5 stars for sure!). Even though Dot Wo is probably not best known for its Szechuan dishes, a dinner of kung pao chicken or tofu with hot and sour soup is hard to beat when I want something spicy.

Dot Wo seems to be highly successful in presenting authentic Chinese cooking prepared in such a manner that you are getting the "real deal." They even go to the extent of offering banquet tables for large groups (this is available anytime if you call in the order ahead of time). Special banquet dinners are available that offer some of the more authentic Chinese cooking.

Some of the keys to maximizing the Dot Wo experience include asking for suggestions from the staff and even requesting items you would like even if you do not see them on the menu. The Edmond Dot Wo creates a special menu every six months or so, and these items remain available even after new specials are listed (although some of the previous specials may not be on the menu and you have to ask for them). I try to base my ratings strictly on the food, but the helpfulness of the staff at the Edmond Dot Wo is a large part of my having good experiences here with the food.

A weakness I have found with all of the Dot Wo Restaurants (not just the one in Edmond) is that they use MSG, and in sufficient amounts that it will really affect me physically. I am so used to going to Chinese restaurants that do not use MSG that I have forgotten to order food without it at Dot Wo, and I have regretted it afterward (although I cannot blame the restaurant if I do not remember to tell them to omit the MSG).

Still, I have had enough positive experiences to want to return. I have been going to the Edmond Dot Wo for a longer time than almost any other Chinese restaurant. Unlike most of the "old time" places, though, I still find things I enjoy even as I branch out and want more authentic Chinese food.

Even if your preference is for American favorites rather than the more traditional Chinese dishes, Dot Wo delivers some of the highest quality in Oklahoma. Customers will appreciate the fact that the food is healthy, flavorful, and without the "salty" taste that plagues many Chinese restaurants.

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Cuisine: Chinese
Cost: $$
Hours: Open Daily
Accessible: Yes
Additional Locations: 3101 N. Portland Ave., 10600 S. Pennsylvania Ave.
Tea: Jasmine (bags)
MSG: Yes
Smoking: No Smoking
Buffet: No

Most Recent Visit
Jul. 1, 2009

Number of Visits: 10+

Best Items
Clay Pot Dishes, Kung Pao Tofu, Hot and Sour Soup

Special Ratings
Kung Pao Tofu:
Kung Pao Chicken:
Bean Cake Clay Pot:
Mixed Vegetable Clay Pot:
Westlake Beef Soup:
Hot and Sour Soup:

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