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San Diego Chinese - Dim Sum & Authentic Chinese

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Hello Chow Friends,

We'll be visiting San Diego in August. We're looking for some good Dim Sum and some Authentic Chinese (+ seafood). Can anyone help us out? We like Kirin Mandarin & Sun Sui Wah in Vancouver and Yank Sing in SF. I know SD can't compare, but we wouldn't mind something close.

Thanks,

Jim

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  1. The closest to what you're looking for is to head north to the San Gabriel Valley for good dim sum. Cantonese is not strong down here. If you really, really need dim sum, Pearl in Rancho Bernardo is supposed to be decent. Definitely skip Jasmine.

    1. You may wish to attempt another cuisune, SD is weak on dim sum. I'd suggest some excellent Mexican.

      1. Nothing can compare Asian/Dim Sum in Vancouver BC to here in SD...no way, Jose..

        1. If your cravings for something Chinese become too much to resist, I recommend Chin's Szechuan on Convoy for their special weekend brunch menu- some very decent breakfast fare with good cold star anise flavored meats, fresh oil cakes, decent scallion pancakes and very good congee/jook. Not dim sum, but a good alternative in any case.

          Cheers!

          1 Reply
          1. re: SaltyRaisins

            Chin's isn't bad, but it isn't Cantonese dim sum. My biggest neg about their food was that the hot soy milk came out w/ a skin on the top, indicating that it was had been sitting around and cooling off in the back, instead of being piping hot. I recall a similar issue w/ several other hot dishes. Some of their other dishes, like beef rolled in pancake, were very good.

          2. I had Sun Sui Wah a few weeks ago in vancouver and tried the fresh king crab. Wow! Yeah, you aren't going to get anything remotely close to those down here. I've had yank sing, didn't think it was very good, maybe a notch better than what you can get down here. Anyway, don't bother with the dim sum unless you want to make a half day trip to LA.

            1. Pearl in Rancho Bernardo is my recommendation.

              1. Has anyone mentioned Ba Ren yet? Its our local authentic Szechuan restaurant. Also, check out Kirk K's blog at http://mmm-yoso.typepad.com/, which has a wealth of information on local Chinese fare.

                2 Replies
                1. re: jmtreg

                  It's not that we're not mentioning the Chinese places in SD, it's just that since the OP is measuring against Vancouver and SF, they are going to be disappointed by everything that SD has to offer in comparison....

                  1. re: jmtreg

                    I did not bring up Ba Ren b/c the OP is looking for Cantonese. Seafood is typically associated w/ Cantonese food.

                  2. Emerald on Convoy has Dim Sum in the traditional wheeled carts pushed around by waitresses with very limited English. Dim Sum are OK. China Max, also on Convoy, has made to order Dim Sum that you order from a menu with Chinese/English titles under photos of each dish. You check off what you want on a check list and hand it to the waiter. Many good, and some excellent, dishes. The salty/spicy fried squid are really good. The egg custard tarts as a dessert are excellent.

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                    China Max Restaurant
                    4698 Convoy St Ste 101, San Diego, CA 92111

                    1. If you want Hong Kong style Cantonese in San Diego, China Max is your best bet. As others have indicated, you're not going to find anything here that matches the best of SFO and Vancouver. However, China Max, on a good day, can hold it's own...if you know what they do well and what they don't do particularly well. As with most restaurants, a lot depends on the day of the week, the time of day you visit, and who's cooking your dish. There is a lot of chef turnover, so none seem to be very consistent.

                      Jasmine has more variety in Dim Sum than China Max, but not better quality. Emerald is not very tasty IMO.

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                      China Max Restaurant
                      4698 Convoy St Ste 101, San Diego, CA 92111

                      1. I am surprised no one mentioned, besides the more obvious in Kearny Mesa, The Dumpling Inn.
                        Hands down the most authentic and legit dim sum in SD. The place is the size of a shoebox and the lines out the door on weekend mornings. Its in a tiny strip mall next to Emerald.
                        http://www.yelp.com/biz/dumpling-inn-...

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

                        Kearny's
                        8310 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, San Diego, CA 92111

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: hopheadsd

                          I don't recall Dumpling Inn having any of the items you would expect from typical dim sum. Dumplings/potstickers, yes. Dim sum, no.

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

                          1. re: shouzen

                            I am not certain what you meany by 'typical' as dumplings, bao, potstickers are very much part of a dim sum menu. There are definitely more robust dim sum menus out there, I just havent found many as good at what Dumplin Inn serves.

                            1. re: hopheadsd

                              I don't remember them having a variety of baos, but if you say they do, it's my mistake. Nevertheless, they are completely lacking in the baked products one would expect. I don't think you can reasonably call it a dim sum restaurant. Rather, some of their items can appear on dim sum menus.

                              I'm not saying it's not a decent place to eat, it's just misleading to call it dim sum.

                              1. re: shouzen

                                I agree with Shouzen in that it's definitely not dim sum.

                                I'd also say it's got the small portion for the money issue as a lot of times when I eat there I will have spent $20 per person and still feel a need to visit In-N-Out afterwards to get full.

                                I'd also say their XLB and Dumplings are only average. Even though they hand make the dough, I can make ones that taste better in the filling using the premade dough (well the dumplings at least, haven't tried XLB yet).

                                1. re: shouzen

                                  I agree. Dim Sim is much more than potstickers and dumplings. And I'm pretty sure the only "bao" they serve at Dumping Inn is Xiao Long Bao which is certainly not a bread type bao that one would expect at Dim Sum.

                                  1. re: shouzen

                                    Yes I agree. I suppose there really isnt a proper dim sum restaurant in town that I am aware of that fits all descriptions so far.

                                    Perhaps its time we need one :)

                                    1. re: hopheadsd

                                      Well there are plenty of Dim Sum restaurants in SD, just none that can match the quality to be found in cities such as LA, SF, Vancouver, etc.

                                      Are you volunteering to open one? :)

                              2. re: hopheadsd

                                I believe the OP is talking about dim sum in the sense of cantonese style dim sum. Dumpling inn is shanghai style food I guess.

                                1. re: chezwhitey

                                  The OP is looking for Cantonese. Dumpling Inn is Northern Chinese, which has more emphasis on noodles and dumplings vs Southern Chinese, which relies on rice for their carbs.
                                  And Dumpling Inn is definitely NOT a dim sum place, by any stretch of the imagination.

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