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Chinese in La Jolla

I'm posting this for my dad. He called me yesterday and told me he was eating at Panda Express because "there's no good Chinese food here". AH!

My dad loves his Chinese-American fare, but I want to try and expand his horizons. I'm looking for restaurants in or near La Jolla that will please his "simple" Chinese palate but will, hopefully, entice him to try something other than General Tsos...Any suggestions?

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  1. There aren't any decent Chinese restaurants in La Jolla or LJ/UTC. But Convoy is close enough and there's plenty of options for him there for americanized Chinese. Dumpling Inn and Spicy City are good places for him to start if he's afraid of the real stuff but they do have other more authentic offerings if he wants to get adventurous as well.

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    Spicy City
    4690 Convoy St, San Diego, CA

    Dumpling Inn
    4619 Convoy St Ste F, San Diego, CA 92111

    1 Reply
    1. re: mliew

      2nd mliew, which is probably why your dad is eating at Panda Express. If your dad is willing to head into "real" Chinese food, Ba Ren in the Clairemont Mesa area does very good Sichuan. Dumpling Inn is Northern Chinese food, which is different than the Chinese American stuff, which tends to be badly done Cantonese food.

      Another possibility is going to the take out counter at 99 Ranch if he can't get several people to go w/ him to share several dishes. Not the greatest Chinese food, but better than Panda Express.

      For the good stuff, he needs to head north into the San Gabriel Valley or even into Vegas.

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      Dumpling Inn
      4619 Convoy St Ste F, San Diego, CA 92111

    2. Your dad is right in a sense, but not because there are no good chinese american places around here. I guess the real question is how do you ween your dad off the standard american stuff and into things that are more exotic.? This depends on the foods your dad eats. Is he strictly a meat and potatoes guy? Does he enjoy seafood and veggies? If you go to a good chinese restaurant and blind fold him, he'll like what they have to offer. I find the biggest obstacle with people like this is them overcoming their fear of the unfamiliar, especially visually. First of all, there are ok chinese places in Sd, but nothing really good. My advice would be to take him to a shanghai style place like dumpling inn (ugh.) and order many different things. Order a couple things that he would be happy with and then order some things he's never tried before. The key is to not eat american style with one dish/person and do family style where you are sharing everything. Put some of the new stuff on his plate and hope that he'll give it a try. If he likes it great, keep doing the same thing each time, if not well, he's just one of the people that knows what he likes and likes what he knows. Good luck!

      3 Replies
      1. re: chezwhitey

        Thanks for the advice. He's not a picky eater in general, but he loves his Americanized Chinese food. He does rave about some ramen place he goes to by his house which is great to hear him say! ...I never pictured my dad eating a big bowl of ramen, especially with tofu in it!

        I told him about Dumpling Inn and he really liked the menu, so we'll see how he likes it. I'll tell him about the other places mention here as well :)

        I wish I could help him expand his Chinese food horizons but I'm in Norfolk, Virginia which has an even worse selection to choose from. I can live vicariously through him though :)

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        Dumpling Inn
        4619 Convoy St Ste F, San Diego, CA 92111

        1. re: krisrishere

          One thing you might want to mention to him about Dumpling Inn is that it can sometimes be a long wait to get a table. The place is tiny (I think they have about 8 tables) and fills up fast during peak hours.

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          Dumpling Inn
          4619 Convoy St Ste F, San Diego, CA 92111

          1. re: krisrishere

            If he likes ramen, send him to Yakyudori Ramen and Yakitori. It's on Convoy Ave., about 10-15 min away from UTC. Add an extra 5-10 min if he's coming out of the Village of LJ. Best ramen in SD!

        2. One of the best Chinese restaurants is in La Jolla...Mandarin House!! So good, and they have incredible lunch specials.

          1 Reply
          1. Tell him Panda Express IS good Chinese. It's just not authentic. It varies from shop to shop but some of them have much better wok chefs than an actual Chinese restaurant. Probably on account of how much practice they get.

            1. It's not Chinese, but I bet your pop would like it: Spice & Rice Thai Kitchen on Girard. It's not intimidating, and the food was surprisingly good.

              http://www.spiceandricethaikitchen.co...

              I have to disagree about the Mandarin House being good. We tried once, and never went back.

              3 Replies
              1. re: DipCone

                Spice and Rice is Americanized Thai, so perhaps this will expand the OP's dad's horizons..,

                  1. re: DipCone

                    Thanks! I'll mention it to him as well.