Steve's Gastronomic Home Page

Kim Wah Restaurant

2925 W. Britton Rd.
Oklahoma City, OK
(405) 749-1413

Kim Wah Restaurant serves Vietnamese and Chinese food

Kim Wah has been operating since about 1995, and has attracted such a loyal clientele that it may be hard for us to imagine what things were like before Asian food became popular in the suburbs. Lido on Classen Blvd. was the original Vietnamese restaurant in the city, and Kim Wah was one of the first to replicate the food in the suburban areas. In fact, I understand that the owners of Kim Wah had their start at Lido, and brought Lido's commitment to quality and much of the menu with them in opening the new restaurant.

Kim Wah has concentrated on a few Vietnamese dishes, and prepares them very well (Lido has a much larger Vietnamese menu). Vermicelli noodle bowls have been available since Kim Wah opened, and pho was added later. Along with Vietnamese hot and sour soup, this is about the extent of the Vietnamese menu at Kim Wah. All of these, though, are just about the best in the city. For the vermicelli noodles and canh chua (Vietnamese hot and sour soup) I would say that Kim Wah probably is the best in the city. Lido, though, prepares vermicelli bowls that are very similar.

Kim Wah's Chinese buffet has been its "bread and butter" in bringing in customers, mainly because it is a good deal. Over the years, though, I have found other Chinese buffets to go down in quality, while Kim Wah's is still the same. I have mixed feelings about the buffet because it is American style Chinese food (sweet and sour pork, broccoli beef, etc.), but for a quick meal for those who are on a budget and have a time crunch it is good. The few times I have tried the buffet I thought the one at lunch was better quality. The dinner buffet, though, includes a Vietnamese noodle bowl with charbroiled chicken, so I can usually get the food I would have ordered anyway along with Chinese style hot and sour soup and other items that I enjoy. The main problem with the buffet is that most items have MSG (but this is only true of the Chinese food).

I hate to admit it, but sometimes the desserts on the buffet have been enough to make me give into the temptation to get "all you can eat." I still think that Kim Wah has one of the best Chinese buffets in the city, even though I much prefer the restaurant's food from the menu.

Chinese style hot and sour soup
Chinese style hot and sour soup

The Chinese style Hot and Sour Soup at Kim Wah is one of the best in OKC (and in my experience, one of the best anywhere). This is something I sometimes order even if the entrée is Vietnamese food. This is also one of the main things I have enjoyed about the buffet. Like most of the food from the buffet the hot and sour soup has MSG, but I think it is in very small amounts.

Vermicelli bowl with charbroiled chicken
Vermicelli bowl with charbroiled chicken

The "V2" vermicelli bowl, or Charbroiled Chicken on Vermicelli has been my family's favorite for years, and I think may be Kim Wah's signature dish. Vegetables, mint, and flavoring are on the bottom making this much more of a taste treat than it appears in the photo. The peanuts and carrots on top of the bowl are also essential to the flavor combination. The way the chicken is charbroiled brings out a unique flavor that I do not find in many Asian restaurants. There is much Vietnamese food that I like throughout the country, but I have to count this dish (particularly the version at Kim Wah) as my first exposure to Vietnamese food and still one of my favorites.

Vermicelli bowl with steamed vegetables
Vermicelli bowl with steamed vegetables

Vermicelli Bowl with Steamed Vegetables offers a vegetarian version of this dish, complete with all the mint and vegetables under the noodles that provide most of the flavor. I do not think it is quite as flavorful as the chicken version, but it was good for the years that I was trying to eat a vegetarian diet. Those who also do not eat fish, though, should know that the orange sauce that comes with it is a fish sauce and is not vegetarian (it is very good, though).

Personally I like to add hot sauce to the vermicelli bowls, as I think this completes the flavor experience of the dish. I think the vegetable bowl without hot sauce might be a little bland, but with the hot sauce I have been satisfied every time I have ordered it.

Vermicelli bowl with stir fried chicken and lemongrass
Vermicelli bowl with stir fried chicken and lemongrass

The Vermicelli Bowl with Stir Fried Chicken and Lemongrass, though, is the best of the noodle bowls I have tried at Kim Wah. In fact, I am not even aware of any other restaurants in the city that even serve chicken with lemongrass. I do not know if this chicken is cooked the same way as the charbroiled chicken noodle bowl, but it does not matter because it is still very good. All the other ingredients are the same, but the lemongrass gives an added flavor.

Beef steak pho
Vietnamese style noodle soup

Kim Wah also offers Pho with an excellent broth and two types of steak that can be cooked to order, but is probably recommended somewhere between rare and medium. Mint, limes, and sprouts are provided on a separate plate to be added as desired. The proliferation of pho restaurants in Oklahoma City seems to have coincided with the greater availability of fresh vegetables from throughout the world, with fresh mint such as the one served here being an essential ingredient to the success of a good version of the soup. Although I am still trying to eat pho at enough places to find out what constitutes a great rendition of the dish, I have had enough medicore versions to know that the one at Kim Wah is one of the better ones.

Vietnamese style hot and sour soup at Kim Wah
Vietnamese style hot and sour soup

Kim Wah has added another dish that is worth trying, the Vietnamese Style Hot and Sour Soup, or canh chua. This is a full meal of meat (your choice) with vegetables, cilantro, and of course a generous amount of chile. Unlike the pho and some other dishes, this one comes already made spicy, and of course that is part of the flavor mix of hot and sour soup. It has more of a clear broth than the dark brown base used in Chinese style hot and sour soup, and I think it is worth a shot if you like spicy food. This soup does not have okra, which I think the authentic version is supposed to have, but it is full of snow peas, bamboo shoots, and other vegetables. I enjoy the generous amount of pineapple and tomato for flavor, and there is really nothing missing that I think it should have (I am not a big okra fan anyway).

I have not explored all the available drinks, since I am usually satisfied with hot tea. I know beer is served, and I believe they have Vietnamese coffee.

The popularity of the buffet has been an important part of the restaurant's success, but the Vietnamese food is almost a "hidden gem" because it is not well known, and it is not very prominent on the menu. Despite the limited number of items, though, the Vietnamese food is some of the best in the city.

There are few restaurants where I feel as much at home as at Kim Wah, and this would make it an enjoyable place even if I did not have so much respect for the food. I am glad, though, that the food has not only remained excellent, but that they have added a few more choices over the years.

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Cuisine: Vietnamese & Chinese
Cost: $$
Hours: Open Daily
Accessible: Yes
Tea: Jasmine (bags)
MSG: Yes (Chinese food only)
Smoking: No Smoking
Alcohol: Beer
Buffet: Lunch & Dinner

Most Recent Visit
Feb. 8, 2011

Number of Visits: 10+

Best Items
Vermicelli Bowl with Chicken and Lemongrass, Pho, Vietnamese Hot and Sour Soup

Special Ratings
Vermicelli Bowl with Charbroiled Chicken:
Vermicelli Bowl with Chicken and Lemongrass:
Vermicelli Bowl with Steamed Vegetables:
Vietnamese Hot and Sour Soup:
Hot and Sour Soup: Chinese

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