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China Max - San Diego

  • j

China Max runs an ad in the Reader every week; have any of you local chowhounds tried it? I think I remember one ad in the past which mentioned dim sum - I'm in the mood for chicken feet which we usually get at Jasmine but am always interested in new places. Please advise.

I will post a report if we go. Jaypea

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  1. Let us know how you like it if you go, we've been passing that place a couple of times a week, but the Holiday season has just been too busy for us to try....BTW I think I saw a coupon in the Reader.

    1 Reply
    1. re: KirkK

      Ver favorable review from Leslie James in Night and Day...she is very knowledgable...needs to be checked out by chowhounds immediatly

    2. We had lunch at China Max today. Their Dim Sum was excellent. Side note: Fake Name, were you there today? I think I saw someone that looked like your photo.

      Our menu was as follows:
      The small, whole, fried fish with garlic, and I regret I cannot remember the specific name of the fish. Delish.
      Steamed pork buns. Light and very fluffy.
      Curry chicken dumplings.
      Rice noodle crueller, a triumph of texture. To die.
      Sesame bbq pork bun. The lightest, flakiest crust, and the bbq pork was delicious.
      Chinese broccoli with Black Bean sauce.
      And for dessert, a sweet rice cake. I don't know how I finished this because by the time it came out, I was completely stuffed.

      The service was informative, welcoming, and friendly. Our server asked if we had dined there before, (No), and then explained their ordering system. He was accommodating and seemed excited about the food.

      We will go back.

      1 Reply
      1. The advantage of China Max dim sum is that they are largely made to order (with a few exceptions) in the kitchen as opposed to steam carts pushed around until they are sold out. The menu with pictures also helps in remembering what your favorite dim sum dishes might be. The garlic/pepper fried squid are good at China Max as are the egg custard tarts. I understand that fried chicken feet are mostly a delivery vehicle for seasoned breading and oil but, really, do you know where those feet have been scratching?

        1. My wife and I went there 2 weeks ago for the first time for lunch. Spring roll appetizers wer okay, small and nothing to write home about. We both had noodle entrees, mine the Singapore noodles and wife had chicken with mushrooms. Must admit both were about the worst chineses dishes we've ever had. Texture of the mushroom/noodlews was very slimy,
          Perhaps it;s supposed to be that way. My meal was pretty devoid of any distinguishing flovor except for mild curry. Other table nearby ordered dim dum, which looked a lot better than our meals.

          1. The name China Max makes me think of some place in an old shopping mall that serves fast food with a Chinese twist.

            2 Replies
              1. re: cstr

                Nothing. I have never been there. Just commenting on the name, which I find weird.
                (Unless it is run by a Chinese guy named Max)

            1. Swung by today after a trip to Ranch 99.

              Even by SD standards, this was pretty mediocre. Baked buns and baos were dry, egg tarts were dense and too sweet, turnip cakes were gummy and cold. The highlight was the probably the fried shrimp wrapped in seaweed, which was tasty but also bit too chewy. Same for the shrimp balls. Gai lan was ok, though.

              By the way, K Sandwiches down the street a bit on Convoy is pretty decent for banh mi. Not your traditional banh mi, sort of fusion-y but tasty nonetheless. (Also, the signage is a total rip off of "Lee's Sandwich")

              5 Replies
              1. re: ipsedixit

                My feelings about the place are much more in line with ipsedexit than Dagney/sandiegomike. I went once and decided never to return. I wonder why the stark divide between CHer opinions...

                1. re: shouzen

                  As we were leaving, we told the owner/manager what an awful meal we had.

                  He invited us back for dinner sometime when the si-fu was in the house and could make us a meal upon request. We politely declined.

                  The place just isn't very good. No two ways about it. Even the owner admitted as much.

                  1. re: shouzen

                    I don't know....But we had a wonderful meal and will go back. I have eaten at Jasmine and Emerald; both were woefully terrible (soggy pork buns!).

                    1. re: shouzen

                      I will concede that the quality of particular dishes may vary from day to day (and even at different times of the day) at China Max. I will also concede that you have to work your way through the dim sum menu to sort out the dishes that are above average. This, however, is true at many restaurants. One of the things that I like about China Max for dim sum is that compared to its competitors on Convoy the kitchen is clean (I've looked) and tables are covered in clean linen. The service is OK but head and shoulders above Jasmine or Emerald. It always comes down to "De gustibus non est disputandam." BTW, we're talking about San Diego here not Hong Kong, SF, or NYC. Small town rules apply here even if there are 3 million people in SD County.

                      1. re: sandiegomike

                        And that's what the owner basically said.

                        The dim sum and dinner menus are there to turn a quick buck on the Asian (i.e., Korean, Thai, etc.) clientele and lou-wei that happen to swing on by. Not serious cooking, nor does it pretend to be. I'd venture this is probably true of 95-99% of the Chinese restaurants in KM and in/around Convoy.