Oklahoma City, OK
Fortune is a small family run restaurant in far northwest Oklahoma City that from the outside looks like most of its competitors. All the standard dishes are served, and the menu is pretty typical for Chinese restaurants. A good portion of the restaurant’s business is take-out, and if you dine in it will be easy on the budget. While Fortune may be everything that is expected in a suburban Chinese restaurant, close examination reveals quite a few features that are not normally found.
Upon entering the building one may notice the ample space that makes it possible to hold large family gatherings, and there are even large round Chinese style banquet tables. The new chairs, green plants, and clean environment invite a leisurely meal, or food can be served quickly enough for those who have a time constraint.
There is not a special Chinese menu such as would be found in the Asian District (Fung’s Kitchen, Grand House, etc.) although the chefs here certainly know how to prepare authentic Cantonese dishes. It is a matter of the customer base in the suburbs versus the central city, and the fact that the Americanized Chinese food and the traditional food take different ingredients, a different kitchen setup, and of course the expectation that if they prepared the authentic food there would be a certain number of customers who would order it.
I am sure that Fortune will not change the menu they have had since the restaurant opened in 1987 (under previous owners) and there is really no reason for it to do so. When I started going to Fortune around 2006 I got to know the manager Suni and her brother Wei Min who is one of the chefs and who was largely responsible for preparing the “Seasonal Specials” they had listed on a special menu board at the time. These were the same type of traditional dishes I had found in Seattle, and the ones at Fortune had a similar flavor. The Seasonal Specials lasted several years, but never caught on with customers enough that the restaurant wanted to continue it.
A few of the special dishes made their way to the menu and others can still be prepared by special request. The trick of looking at the menu is that you have to look at both menus (for some reason some of these dishes are on the take home menu but not the regular one). For any special requests you can always ask whether they are available or not.
I have included items in this review that I believe the restaurant can likely prepare for people, and for those who are interested it is worth exploring “beyond the menu.”
Several soups are listed on the menu, and lunch specials come with either a bowl of egg drop or hot and sour soup (the one I prefer is egg drop).
I like the fact that the Egg Drop Soup has a lot of flavor, and it seems to be better than at a lot of other restaurants.
Corn Soup is one of the ones you can order from the menu, and I think the one here is excellent.
They can also make special soups that would serve as a complete meal, such as the Chicken Soup with Rice Noodles, Shrimp, Dumplings, and Bok Choy shown in the photo. I think the bok choy is seasonal so this soup may vary in its ingredients. I was informed that this is one of the dishes customers can request as a special order because of the fact that it does not take a long time to prepare.
Dinners Ordered from the Menu
Although the Lettuce Wrap Chicken is listed as an appetizer, it is really a full meal. I think this is one of the better ones in OKC (I have tried some in other restaurants that did not live up to the ones here).
Crispy Tofu was originally served as a Seasonal Special and then was added to the menu under the “House Specialties” section (I think it is only on the take-out menu, though). This is a delicious dish in which the sauce is really the key that makes it so flavorful. I am not sure if the sauce is vegetarian, though (it has been some time since I have tried it).
I have asked the restaurant which menu items they consider to be authentic and they have given me this list:
- Crispy Tofu
- House Special Noodle Soup (in the “Noodle Special” section of the menu)
- Shredded Pork with Garlic Sauce
- Tofu Clay Pot (this is vegetarian)
- Lettuce Wrap Chicken
One menu item I have tried several times has been General Tso’s Chicken (mostly it has been from sampling it rather than getting a full order). I think this has a very good flavor and is not overly sweet, but fried and battered chicken in a sweet sauce is not traditional Chinese food.
Another item I have particularly enjoyed has been the Tomato Beef.
Not on the Menu but Available to Order
Tomato beef is one of the “House Specialties,” but they can make what I think is an even better dish and which is totally traditional in China, the Tomato and Egg (scrambled egg). Both the traditional version and the menu version have the same delicious sauce, which I think is probably the key to either of these dishes.
If the Hong Kong Tofu is on the menu I cannot find it, and I do not know if this is its correct name (but I think this was the name used on the Seasonal Specials menu). It is called stuffed tofu in many restaurants, and the one pictured is stuffed with shrimp (Suni told me it is traditionally stuffed with pork, so possibly you could order it that way). This one came with oyster sauce (you can also order it with white sauce, or just leave it up to the chef to decide). The tofu is steamed for ten minutes, so this dish ends up taking a little bit longer to prepare than most of the menu items. This is one of my favorite dishes that I have tried here.
Curry Chicken with Potatoes is a dish that is not on the menu, but I got it when I asked Wei Min to make a take-out dish that was traditional Chinese that he thought would be good. Since then it has been one of my top choices for take-out orders (this curry is less spicy than Thai or Indian curry, or it can be ordered with brown sauce which is not spicy).
Chicken and Tofu is another non-menu take-out dinner I had when I asked for something that was authentic. This has soft tofu and a white sauce. This version did not have any vegetables other than green onions because it was meant to be kept in the refrigerator for a couple of days so I could wait out one of Oklahoma’s famous ice storms.
The Chicken and Tofu with Vegetables is the same dish with vegetables added. The peas and carrots also keep pretty well in this version, and I thought the flavor of this dish was quite good.
I have collected this list of other items customers can special order with no advanced notice, and there are probably others. Of course customers would have to check with the restaurant about any of these:
- Chicken and Potatoes (like the chicken and curry but with brown sauce instead)
- Napa Beef (No. 211 on the menu) with bok choy instead of napa (when the bok choy is in season)
- Combination Tofu with Beef, Shrimp, and Chicken
- Chicken Soup with Dumplings (see the heading for “soups” in this article)
- Ginger Beef (although the ginger they can get here is not the “young ginger” that is available in China)
- Mi Fun, or Hong Kong style rice noodles. These are soft noodles lightly soaked in sauce so that they are more like the “dry” style served at Grand House and other restaurants. The typical version includes shrimp and chicken, although the meat can be prepared to order.
- Bean Curd and Vegetable Hot Pot is a dish I requested. This was much like the seafood hot pot on the menu but with the ingredients modified (and I found it to be very good).
- Citrus Chicken was offered as a Seasonal Special during summer 2006. This dish had a sauce made with orange juice and lemon, and while flavorful, was breaded and heavy on the meat with virtually no vegetables included. This was not quite what I would classify as traditional Chinese cooking, but it neverthess reflected Fortune’s effort to introduce the public to more “gourmet” Chinese cooking. It was also one of the dishes that convinced me to return to the restaurant to try other dishes (they have not specifically said that they can still prepare this dish but I thought I would put it on the list just in case).
Some Additional Details
I did not want to give this restaurant a rating because I normally do not order the regular menu items, and the ones I order are usually modified somewhat to suit my taste. One focus of my blog is on authentic Asian food, and I have been able to find it here.
For those who do order the regular menu items, though, they will find that the food is fresh and prepared when they are ordered. It is made with vegetable oil (which is not only healthy, but a lot of people find that it tastes better than the oils that many Chinese restaurants use).
This restaurant opened in 1987, and the current owners wanted to keep the menu items the restaurant had been serving since the beginning. Customers are happy about this, and there are a large number of people who have continued to come over the years. I am not a fan of American style Chinese food, but I at least know that the food available on the menu at Fortune is fresh and healthier than might be assumed. I do think some of the dishes contain MSG, though, unless you ask them to omit it (the special request items I have tried have also been made with no added MSG).
Fortune offers free delivery with an order of $12 or more for customers within a five mile radius. The restaurant is open every day of the year except Christmas, New Year, and July 4th. They serve beer, and the hot jasmine tea is very good. The service is very friendly, and I think they go out of their way (more than at most restaurants) to serve your meal the way you want it.
Prices change very infrequently, and when they do it has always stayed in the least expensive price category I have (which has been adjusted for inflation a couple of times since I did my first reviews in about 2005).
Hours: Open Daily
Smoking: No smoking
Most Recent Visit: Jan. 6, 2019
Number of Visits: 10+
Best Items: Crispy Tofu, Tomato and Egg, Chicken and Potatoes with Curry, Hong Kong Tofu, House Special Noodle Soup, Noodle Soup with Dumplings and Shrimp (can be special ordered), Other Non-Menu Authentic Chinese Dishes