The spice of life

Tulsa has become a smorgasboard of cultures and ethnicities. Here, we offer a guide to the myriad ways to eat, meet and enjoy.



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How much of a worldview can you actually get living in Tulsa? For those willing to venture beyond their neighborhood boundaries, to open their pantries to new foods, to expose their taste buds to new sensations and to take part in activities outside the usual, Tulsa has plenty to offer. You just have to know where to look. And the more you explore, the more you’ll learn that people of different backgrounds are eager to share information about their cultures and to invite others to experience their customs.

*Also read extended profiles on some of the friendly faces behind these cultural places: Rî Lé; Alma Martinez; Margaret Rzepczynski; Guldeep Singh; and Taylor and Vincent LaTouche.

ASIAN

Many members of Tulsa’s Asian community have roots beyond the borders of China and Japan. One of the oldest local groups of Asian descent in Tulsa is Vietnamese, having come here following the Vietnam War, while some of the newest refugees fled Burma/Myanmar and Malaysia to escape religious persecution. Tulsa is host to a growing Hmong population, too, arriving from the mountainous regions of Laos.

Restaurants

Tulsa’s Asian restaurants go beyond the typical Chinese buffets and Japanese knife-wielding chefs at your table.
At Korean Garden (12773 E. 41st St.), diners choose yook-gae-jang (soup with spicy beef strips), L.A. kalbi (prime short ribs) and ohsam bul-go-gi (spicy marinated calamari and pork).

If you can find Ichiban Teryaki Japanese at 7982 E. 41st St. (there’s no sign, windows are papered over and the hours and days they’re open vary), you’ll enjoy the beef and chicken combo, miso soup and sashimi.

Routinely voted Tulsa’s best Thai restaurant, Lanna Thai (7227 S. Memorial Drive) offers such faves as tom kha gai (tart and spicy chicken soup) and Yum Yum salad. Binh-Le Vietnamese (5903 E. 31st St.) is known for its bun cha gio, but spring rolls and peanut sauce are also favorites.

Asahi (7831 E. 71st St.) claims to have the “Best Sushi with the Lowest Price,” but it takes a group of four to tackle the Titanic Special, which includes lots of sushi rolls, soup, edamame and tako salad (that’s no misspelling — here, “tako” means “octopus”).

Shopping

You’re sure to see people of Asian ethnicities and other cultures grocery shopping at Nam Hai Oriental Food Market (1924 S. Garnett Road).

Ducks hang on hooks near the entry, right by the mooncakes — pastries made for the moon holiday. But the big draws are the well-stocked produce department and fish market. Expect to find whole rabbitfish, mackerel, milkfish, bonito, smelts, belt fish and grouper. The lobster, tilapia and catfish are so fresh, they’re swimming in the tanks.

Rice and noodles fill one whole aisle, and there are plenty of Asian spices. This “super” market is also part department store, with jewelry, bamboo stalks, chopsticks, clothing, party decorations, kimonos, steamers and incense.

Top sellers at the Asian Mart (12919 E. 31st St.) are (No. 1) rice, either sweet, jasmine or brown; (No. 2) produce, including watercress, baby dill, ngo gai (cilantro), lemongrass, banana leaves, fresh mint, yellow ginger, bok choy, dragon fruit and aloe leaves; and (No. 3) shrimp. Plenty of choices at the fish case, too: pompano, Argentine squid, milkfish and tuna. Great supply of woks, industrial-size steamers and rice cookers, too.

The Korean Oriental Food and Gift Market (12771 E. 41st St.) stocks a selection of rice and noodles, plus red ginseng energy drinks (the Korean equivalent of Red Bull). Among the Korean ice creams are muskmelon frozen pops, which taste like fresh honeydew on a stick.

Cultural

For a novel Asian culinary experience, plan on dim sum at Keo (3524 S. Peoria Ave.) for Sunday brunch. You’ll like the small, individual portions of food, served in steamer baskets or on small plates.

Fuji Japanese Cuisine and Sushi Bar offers sushi classes at its 8226 E. 71st St. location. You can create rice, maki (rolled) sushi, nigiri (fish on rice) sushi and sashimi (fish by itself) sushi. Also at Fuji: sake and wine tastings. One price includes a special five-course meal, two wine parings and two sake parings.

Dillon International, based in Tulsa, is one of the most respected international adoption agencies in the country. The agency was founded to meet the needs of homeless Korean orphans, and helped establish a model foster care program in Korea. The organization also includes adoption programs in China, Korea, Haiti, India, Hong Kong, Nepal, Ethiopia, Honduras and Russia.

Beginning Chinese language courses are offered at Tulsa Community College (918-595-7068), as employers are recognizing the need for employees with Chinese language and cultural skills.


HISPANIC

Tulsa’s Hispanic immigrants came in two waves, both for economic reasons. The first group came after the Mexican Revolution in 1910 to work in the mines and on the railroads. They settled in West Tulsa in an area, bounded by two railroads, called “The Y.”

The second wave of Mexican immigration came in the 1980s, following the NAFTA free-trade agreement.

The last census puts Tulsa’s Hispanic population at approximately 28,000, 75 percent of which is Mexican, the rest split among Puerto Rican, Cuban, Dominican, Central American and South American residents.

Shopping

There are no official borders for “Little Mexico,” but most agree that it’s located around East 21st Street and South Garnett Road. The sign at Supermercado Morelos (2119 S. Garnett Road) says it all — “Grocery, Meat Market, Bakery, Tacos” — and the loud Latin music piped into the parking lot provides the soundtrack. Inside, the store sells a huge amount of carnitas (fried pork). Meat selections include goat, beef, pork, lamb and rabbit. Conchas, bolillos and Guatemalan breads are a few of the homemade bakery items. And the chicharron (fried pork skin) is beyond big, much closer to huge.

Across Garnett at 21st is the hub of Hispanic commerce in Tulsa: Plaza Santa Cecilia, part mall/part community center. There, Carapan (2160 S. Garnett Road) sells ceremonial clothing — togs for christenings, first communions and Quinceañeras. Restaurants include Las Tortas (2160 S. Garnett Road) and Michoacano’s (2160 S. Garnett Road). Other shops feature toys, gift baskets, clothing, athletic footwear, boots and hats. There’s even a shoe-shine stall. At that same intersection, you can find a butcher, herb store and tortilleria with fresh, hot tortillas coming off the machine, as well as a billiard hall, where “carambola” (pool) is played.

Food

Tulsa has a ton of Mexican restaurants, from franchises to free-standing, one-of-a-kind eateries.

At El Rio Verde (38 N. Trenton Ave.), forget Tex-Mex; this is true Mexican fare. The top choice is the wet burrito, soaked with salsa, covered with cheese and topped with sour cream and guacamole.

The new La Flama Mexican Grill (6746 S. Memorial Drive, Suite 2) serves classic, upscale Mexican dishes, including authentic tacos from scratch, and it’s the only place in town to feature grilled cactus.

The Cancun (705 S. Lewis Ave.) burrito is legendary, but you have to get there early to claim one of the few tables.
For a variety of South American dishes, Mi Tierra (6703 E. 81st St.) offers pabellon and empanadas, representing Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Argentina, Ecuador and Brazil.

Events/cultural

The Hispanic community has access to a weekly Spanish-language newspaper, Hispano de Tulsa, plus two radio stations (Que Buena KXTD, 1530 AM, and La Preciosa, 101.5 FM) and a Hispanic television station, KXAP, also known as TeleTul.

Tulsa Community College operates the TCC Education Outreach Center (2201 S. Garnett Road), offering English as a Second Language classes, as well as Spanish language, computer and general education classes.

Further down the road, the Martin Regional Library (2601 S. Garnett Road) houses the Hispanic Resource Center, which offers bilingual and Spanish story times and Spanish-language books, DVDs, CDs, magazines and newspapers. Computers have Spanish-language software and keyboards. The center is a key resource for recent immigrants and an inviting destination for Tulsans to learn more about the Hispanic community.

For something with a beat, Flamenco TULSA (info@reflejosflamencos.com) offers dance lessons, guitar lessons, percussion lessons and dance performances. Almost weekly, a Latin dance party is going on somewhere in Tulsa. Monthly, the Latin Cine Club meets at Circle Cinema (10 S. Lewis Ave.) for popcorn and a Spanish-language film.

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The spice of life

Tulsa has become a smorgasboard of cultures and ethnicities. Here, we offer a guide to the myriad ways to eat, meet and enjoy.

Funny girl

Event planner, Cake Lady and pint-sized Vesuvius Karen Kantor.

Agenda: November

November’s can’t-miss events.
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November 2018

We’re serving up our new chef-inspired fondue and traditional brunch options like Alpine Benedict Cheese Fondue, French Toast Fondue, Avocado Fiesta Toast plus bottomless mimosas. Reserve...

Cost: Varies

Where:
The Melting Pot of Tulsa
300 Riverwalk Terrace #190
Jenks, OK  74037
View map »


Sponsor: The Melting Pot of Tulsa
Telephone: 918-299-8000
Contact Name: Alex Cooper
Website »

More information

Over the past thirteen years, the Williams Route 66 Marathon presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma has become a 26.2-mile party! You might find yourself asking "Is this a race or...

Cost: $110

Where:
Downtown Tulsa
Tulsa, OK  74066


Sponsor: Williams, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma
Telephone: 918-408-1208
Contact Name: Ally Lightle
Website »

More information

FlyingTee is fun for the whole family and on Sundays, kids eat free! *Limit one free meal from the kids’ menu with each purchase of an adult entrée. Not valid on brunches or holidays.

Cost: Free with purchase

Where:
FlyingTee
600 Riverwalk Terrace
Jenks, OK  74037
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Telephone: 918-528-7717
Website »

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When four lost New Englanders who enroll in Marty’s six-week-long community-center drama class begin to experiment with harmless games, hearts are quietly torn apart, and tiny wars of epic...

Cost: $20

Where:
Studio 308
308 S. Lansing Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74120
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Sponsor: American Theatre Company
Telephone: (918) 747-9494
Contact Name: Meghan Hurley
Website »

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Come see the ORU Mens Basketball team vs Ecclesia

Cost: $10-$20

Where:
Mabee Center
7777 South Lewis Ave
Tulsa
Tulsa, OK  74171
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Sponsor: https://mabeecenter.com/event/ecclesia1819m/
Telephone: 918-495-6000
Website »

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Come and Support ORU Women's Basketball as they jump into another exciting season. Join in on the fun and purchase your tickets today! All children ages 13 and under, accompanied by an adult, will...

Cost: $7

Where:
Mabee Center
7777 South Lewis Avenue
Tulsa, OK  74171
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We would like to invite our Tulsa neighbors to join us for our "Hope House Free Movie Night" in the auditorium Hope House events are open to the public, family friendly, events.  We will be...

Cost: Free

Where:
Hope House
4241 S 37th W Ave.
TULSA
TULSA, OK  74107
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Sponsor: Hope House
Telephone: 918-446-8176
Contact Name: Dorothy Brown

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Every Wednesday Live Event Trivia is at The Willows Family Ales - Show starts at 7 and is free to play! Movie scenes, Finish the Lyric, Classic Trivia, and more! The crew from T-Town Tacos will be...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Willows Family Ales
418 south peoria ave
tulsa, OK  74120
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Sponsor: The Willows Family Ales
Telephone: (918) 895-6798
Contact Name: Julian Morgan
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Local, Live Music at the The Willows Family Ales taproom EVERY Thursday at 7:30pm. Surprise food vendor to be announced SOON!! 11/1 ---- Eric Himan 11/8 ---- Wendy Nichol Hall 11/15---...

Cost: FREE!!

Where:
The Willows Family Ales
418 south peoria ave
418 South Peoria Ave
Tulsa, OK  74120
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Sponsor: The Willows Family Ales
Contact Name: Julian Morgan

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Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium (TASM) will celebrate Black Fly-day Weekend in place of the regular shopping holiday on Nov. 23 and 24.  The Museum plans to open their...

Cost: Free - $15

Where:
Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium
3624 North 74th East Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74115
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium
Telephone: 918-834-9900
Contact Name: Kevin
Website »

More information

Reconnect with family and friends in the garden illuminated with colorful lights. Make s'mores over fire pits, enjoy holiday music and take in the spirit of the season in our magical garden...

Cost: Tickets are $15 for ages 13+; $5 for ages 3-12, Children 2 and under are free.

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden

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Philbrook Festival is back and better than ever! Enjoy the most beautiful place in Oklahoma during the most wonderful time of the year. The Museum comes alive with festive holiday events, Santa,...

Cost: $5/Philbrook Members, $15/Public, Free/17 & Under

Where:
Philbrook Museum of Art
2727 S. Rockford Rd.
Tulsa
Tulsa, OK  74114
View map »


Sponsor: Philbrook Museum of Art
Telephone: 918-748-5300
Website »

More information

Philbrook Festival is back and better than ever! Enjoy the most beautiful place in Oklahoma during the most wonderful time of the year. The Museum comes alive with festive holiday events, Santa,...

Cost: $5/Philbrook Members, $15/Public, Free/17 & Under

Where:
Philbrook Museum of Art
2727 S. Rockford Rd.
Tulsa, OK  74114
View map »


Sponsor: Philbrook Museum of Art
Telephone: 918-748-5300
Website »

More information

Show More...
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Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium (TASM) will celebrate Black Fly-day Weekend in place of the regular shopping holiday on Nov. 23 and 24.  The Museum plans to open their...

Cost: Free - $15

Where:
Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium
3624 North 74th East Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74115
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium
Telephone: 918-834-9900
Contact Name: Kevin
Website »

More information

We’re serving up our new chef-inspired fondue and traditional brunch options like Alpine Benedict Cheese Fondue, French Toast Fondue, Avocado Fiesta Toast plus bottomless mimosas. Reserve...

Cost: Varies

Where:
The Melting Pot of Tulsa
300 Riverwalk Terrace #190
Jenks, OK  74037
View map »


Sponsor: The Melting Pot of Tulsa
Telephone: 918-299-8000
Contact Name: Alex Cooper
Website »

More information

Reconnect with family and friends in the garden illuminated with colorful lights. Make s'mores over fire pits, enjoy holiday music and take in the spirit of the season in our magical garden...

Cost: Tickets are $15 for ages 13+; $5 for ages 3-12, Children 2 and under are free.

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden

More information

Philbrook Festival is back and better than ever! Enjoy the most beautiful place in Oklahoma during the most wonderful time of the year. The Museum comes alive with festive holiday events,...

Cost: $5/Philbrook Members, $15/Public, Free/17 & Under

Where:
Philbrook Museum of Art
2727 S. Rockford Rd.
Tulsa, OK  74114
View map »


Sponsor: Philbrook Museum of Art
Telephone: 918-748-5300
Website »

More information

America’s LARGEST interactive comedy murder mystery dinner show is now playing at the Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa Broken Arrow! At The Dinner Detective, you’ll tackle a challenging crime while you...

Cost: 59.95

Where:
Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa- Broken Arrow
420 W Albany St.
Broken Arrow, OK  74012
View map »


Telephone: 866-496-0535
Contact Name: The Dinner Detective
Website »

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The Oklahoma Swing Syndicate (TOSS) hosts a Swing dance and lessons  The Oklahoma Swing Syndicate (TOSS) is the only UNESCO recognized dance organization in Oklahoma.  We are a 501c3...

Cost: $7

Where:
Community Center - South Minister Presby Church
3500 So Peoria
1/2 west of Peoria, on 35pl behind the church
Tulsa, OK  74102
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Sponsor: The Ok Swing Syndicate
Telephone: 918-450-691
Contact Name: Rita Robbins
Website »

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TULtalk


Episode 7: Elizabeth Frame Ellison, CEO of the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation

Elizabeth Frame Ellison discusses the brand-new Mother Road Market, Tulsa’s first food hall, located on historic Route 66.

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Charitable Events: November 2018

Fundraisers and fun happenings

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Video: Apple Blackberry Crumble Pie Recipe

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Oklahoma Caring Awards

The Oklahoma Caring Awards raised $76,000 for the Hospitality House of Tulsa.

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Santorini Night

A fundraiser for Emergency Infant Services, the event was presented by the Tulsa Greek Festival and kicked off Greek Week.

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