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Your favorites in SD County for an ethnic breakfast...

After reading yet another breakfast post for SD, it occurred to me that we could really benefit from, or at least I can, hearing a discussion of your favorite ethnic breakfast spots. Sure I can take an American breakfast from time to time, but honestly I find most offerings to be too worn out to get all excited about - seems like it's always the same tired old pancakes, waffles, bacon and eggs.

So what are your favorite spots and dishes for an ethnic breakfast out?

I'd personally kill for the chance to have a Japanese breakfast option anywhere in San Diego, but I don't expect one to be available anytime soon. So I know that most pho shops are open for breakfast, and so is Sam Woo. I've had my share of Pho, Congee, Chillaquiles or Menudo for breakfast, and of course there's always Dim Sum for brunch, but am I missing on any other obvious choices?

What are your favorite morning destination for an ethnic breakfast? And who does it particularly well to the point where the breakfast has become their specialty?

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  1. My fav breakfast is won ton soup at Sam Woo. Great deal for $3.75.

    1. In the Philippines, nothing really goes to waste and since rice is a staple at most meals, last evening's dinner carries over to the next morning's "almusal" or breakfast. Leftover rice is fried to a sticky consistency with garlic and salt and paired together with some type of "tapa" -thinly sliced, seasoned beef or "tocino" -sweet, marinated pork and served with fried egg. Add a Filipino version of chutney or pickles, usually chopped tomatoes and onion, on the side and you have breakfast. Together, this combo is known as Tapsilog, and yes...not for the faint of heart (pun intended!).

      San Diego has a couple of "point-point" places you can have this kind of breakfast fare, mostly congregated around Mira Mesa and National City. There's Conching's Cafe, Valerio's Bakeries, Point-Point Joint and Christy's Bakery...too many to name. This kind of food is meant to be eaten early and right before your basketball game, construction job or the plowing of the field...but whatever you do, don't eat this kind of breakfast then sit behind a computer.

      Homemade tapsilog is still the best because I have control over the salt and grease content.

      1. Las Cuatro Milpas is one of my favorite spots for breakfast..

        1 Reply
        1. re: Beach Chick

          Yes! See you there Sat. mornings for their outstanding white menudo. They run out after 9am. Darn people bringing their pots like its a gas station! :)

        2. Super Cocina for chilaquiles. Mmmmm.......

          1. I'm kind of new to SD, so does anyone know of any good places doing rice, eggs, and spam? Kind of a Hawaiian breakfast.

            1 Reply
            1. re: thirtyeyes

              I use to go to Da Kitchen in Mira Mesa, but that closed long ago. Da Kines Plate lunch in Liberty Station is the closest thing to familiar island-style plate lunch you'll find...however, check this out for more expert references in what you are looking for. I could never eat as much plate lunch as mmm-yoso.

            2. the Oaxacan style eggs at Super Cocina. hell, any of their breakfast items are usually good.

              10 Replies
              1. re: DougOLis

                Do you know what time Super Cocina opens on Sunday? I have been there a few times but never for breakfast so any other recommendations would be appreciated. If it is like the other meals, I imagine I can't go too wrong.

                1. re: sdaints

                  I'm not sure actually. I never go early enough that it's been too much of a concern for me. Maybe Josh or Kare_Raisu know better.

                  1. re: DougOLis

                    They are open everyday. Big hells yeah for the the chilaq-oax combo breakfast

                    1. re: kare_raisu

                      KR, care to compare Super Cocina's menudo vs. Las Cuatro Milpas'? I've sampled Super Cocina's menudo but never chowed down on a whole bowl yet, and didn't even know that LCM had a good menudo... Been aiming for a breakfast session at SC real soon, but was wondering if I should change my plans and go to the Barrio instead...

                      Extra points: what are eggs Oaxacan style?

                      1. re: cgfan

                        The Oaxacan eggs are scrambled eggs with cheese in a red chile sauce. They are frequently served at lunch, especially on Wednesday and Friday. Highly recommended.

                        1. re: Josh

                          Thanks Josh... So does that mean I'm SOL for tomorrow morning (Saturday) as far as Oax eggs goes?

                          1. re: cgfan

                            Sorry, don't know. It's not a menu item you can order, it's just a rotational dish. You might luck out and they'll have it.

                        2. re: cgfan

                          Super Cocina makes what would be called "Mole de Pancita" around the greater Mexico city area and is super similar to the menudo I had in cantina there in DF a week and a half ago. http://www.flickr.com/photos/xchilang...

                          Typically Mole de Pancita is epazote and ancho chile heavy and librillo [book tripe] is always present while nixtimalized corn is not included; wheras the Menudo Norteno or estilo nuevo Leon [the most common here in the states] is almost pure chile guajillo and typically features towel and honeycomb tripe and the nixtamalized corn.

                          Cuatro Milpas makes Sonoran white menudo which has no dried chile - chile serrano, garlic, and oregano and must have the pozole corn.

                          There are actually a couple of other regional variations as well notably in veracruz an yucatan.

                          CMs menudo is made only sat morning and have to get there early or they run out.

                          Lately I havent had the menudo at Sc because the tripe is cut into way to large pieces and its been on the greasier side.

                          Theres a place in Tj I need to take you for a great bowl.

                    2. re: sdaints

                      They open pretty early, at least 7am believe. I really like their huevos con chorizo.

                      1. re: sdaints

                        I think they open at 8:30 every day. Breakfast there is really good. Chilaquiles are amazing. I also like huevos salseados, which is eggs served with the sauce from any of the guisados on hand.

                    3. cgfan, I don't think this strictly fits the "ethnic" breakfast, but Mission Cup Cafe's "Chino-Latino" cooking influences their breakfast menu. I love their marinated grilled tofu and their breakfast tamales are pretty good too. For brunch/early lunch, their Double Happiness bowl (marinated grilled chicken and beef over brown rice) is very good.

                      Naked Cafe in Solana Beach has a very similar menu. So similar, in fact, that I wonder if they copied Mission Coffee Cup.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: daantaat

                        At one point, I thought Naked Cafe was owned or managed by the same people that owned/managed the Mission restaurants? I worked a block from Naked Cafe until early 2005, and it was my favorite place to have breakfast for lunch.

                        1. re: camilles

                          I have no idea. All I know is that Isabel Cruz ran/still runs Mission Coffee Cup and Isabel's Cantina in PB.

                      2. I finally tried a Japanese breakfast in San Francisco. I really wish I could get one here.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Josh

                          If you don't mind me asking, where did you find one in SF?

                          I've been trying forever to convince any of my "industry" friends to offer a J breakfast here, to no avail. However there is a long shot developing for one in Encinitas, but honestly I'm a bit doubtful...

                          I'm imagining that a J breakfast can be offered as a "special event", perhaps as seldom as once a month. I'm convinced there'd be enough takers to make it worthwhile, at least from the CH contingent.

                          I used to make one every morning, and on those days I'd feel great for the rest of the day. Something about having easily digestible high quality proteins [grilled fish, Natto, raw egg] to start the day to satisfy your hunger w/o feeling stuffed, giving you plenty of energy to make it through a long day.

                          Actually it was the longing for such a breakfast, one where you actually felt more energized after having eaten it, that inspired me to create this thread...

                          1. re: cgfan

                            It was at Hotel Nikko on Mason St. It's the first one I've had, so I don't know if it was "good", but we all enjoyed it. They had grilled salted salmon, pickled cucumber and daikon, umeboshi, miso, rice, seasoned nori, fish cake, and natto. The funny thing, to me, is it's served buffet style, and the other side of the counter is a traditional American breakfast buffet. Seeing them side-by-side like that really hammers home how unhealthy American breakfast is.

                            Please let me know if you ever manage to cajole anyone into doing one here. I'd love to have that again.

                            1. re: Josh

                              Never considered the Nikko - will have to take my Mom there when I'm up there next month...

                              My favorite one is at New Otani's Senbazuru in L.A., though since the new ownership and rebadging of the hotel I don't know if it's the same or even if they still offer it. They too had a choice between an American breakfast or a Japanese one, though there it was full-service with the calming presence of waitresses dressed in Kimono.

                              Yeah will probably announce here if I ever get a firm word that one will happen here...

                              1. re: cgfan

                                Check with Embassy Suites (there's one near the Convention Center and probably others around the county). The one in Anaheim, next to the 91 fwy served Japenese breakfast when last I was there.

                        2. My favorite ethnic breakfast is French: a two shot latte in a white cup and saucer. @ Wired, Bread & Cie, or Caffe Calabria.

                          1. Not sure if any of the restaurants around town do this for breakfast- but one of my favorite AM meals is Eritrean-style foul (pronounced "fool"), or twice-cooked and pureed broad beans. What sets this dish apart from it's Ethiopian, Sudanese, Yemeni or Egyptian counterparts is usually a bit of fresh diced tomato, some good olive oil, occasionally some fresh herbs and a dollop of yogurt or a crumbling of a a bean-fritter on top. Served with a fresh bread with a soft interior (not unlike a Vietnamese-style baguette) as your utensil and the the obligatory five small cups of coffee (roasted, pounded and steeped in front of you), it is a really tasty way to start the day. I found this at the Asmarina restaurant in Oakland at the prescribed time of day, but am pretty sure that you'd have to go to an Eritrean social club down here for a taste.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: SaltyRaisins

                              I'd love that recipe, SR, if you have one. (And/or the bean dish's name)

                              1. re: pickypicky

                                Here's a link to a simple and kinda funny Sudanese version (i.e. the necessary utensil) with some photos:


                                I would recommend swapping the sesame oil for good olive.

                                ...and a basic Wiki entry that covers the Eritrean version pretty well:


                                I'll post if I manage to find the real deal...enjoy!

                                1. re: SaltyRaisins

                                  Awesome! Thanks! LOVE the "smash with empty Pepsi bottle" part and will follow to the letter.