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Nov 25, 2012 03:48 PM

best chinese food san diego

Is there any great chinese food in san diego

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  1. best and great should not be used in the same sentence with Chinese and food.

    2 Replies
    1. re: pantani

      Spicy House. Kung Pao chicken, fish filet in garlic sauce, eggplant with potatoes and jalapenos (di san xian), and cumin beef are some of the dishes I like there.

      1. re: pantani

        best and great should not be used in the same sentence with Chinese and food.

        Do you mean in San Diego, or just generally?

        The former, I concur. The latter, not so much.

      2. It's all relative.

        The Chinese food in SD, in absolute terms, is really just god awful.

        But if you are looking for the best of the pitiful lot to choose from, this is what I would conjure up.

        Liang's Kitchen (Taiwanese)

        Minh Ky (Canto Chiu-Chow Noodles)

        Cam Ky (Canto roast duck and congee)

        Dede's and Spicy City (Sichuan, although the latter doesn't use Sichuan peppercorns, but the dry pots are worth a visit)

        Dumpling Inn (Northern Beijing fare, dumplings are passable, but the star is the beef noodle soup)

        1. No great Chinese in SD, but Rendezvous in Del Mar is probably the best, though not strictly traditional Chinese fare.

          Surprisingly, they were ranked number 5 on CNN Travel Guides list of 50 best Chinese Restaurants in the USA.

          14 Replies
          1. re: RhonelyInsanediego

            Note that Del Mar Rendezvous is participating in San Diego Restaurant Week. But I'm not sure that if you do the math it is a significant discount, or a saving at all.

            1. re: RhonelyInsanediego

              Cmon guys there's decent chinese food all over esp right here in N county:

              We have Spicy King in vista which has excellent reviews on yelp but there seem to some 1 stars in there becaue of the service but I think that can really depend on which servers you get.

              Then there is Overseas Chinese Restaurant in Carsbad and a Peking Garden in the area.

              In San Marcos there is Happy chang and Panda Garden with also excellent 4.5 average on Yelp.

              Then you have the chain of Chin's which is also very decent.

              And one of my personal fav Mandarin Garden in Mira mesa

              On Balboa ave you have Mandarin Wok Restaurant and also Taste of China. And nearby Convoy there's the well known China max, Emerald and Jasmine for dim sum.

              And I'm just barely scratching the service here.

              1. re: zoey67

                Just had take out at Mandarin Garden and even though it was decent/edible it is very americanized chinese food. Nothing wrong with this kind of food if you want it but the discussion here is about more authentic chinese food which you hardly will find in SD.

                1. re: honkman

                  The chef that used to cook at Mandarin Garden (when it was allegedly considered good on yelp) now works the line at Chef Chin (under guidance of the chef from shanghai). I think he is in line to head another Chef Chin somewhere in the near future.

                  1. re: honkman

                    I'm sorry but all this talk about "authentic" is just really relative and silly. Look at someone like Ming Tsai who's restaurants are ultra "Americanized". They're so revamped to Ming's interpenetration of chinese food and catered to western's palette and appeal to the masses but the important question is it good? yes and that's what counts in my book.

                    And read again the the question asked by the OP: he just wants great Chinese food, he didn't insists on anything about authentic.

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        Uh huh,you're totally right on the money. Blue ginger is so over rated and just yucky. All the awards and accolades below are all fake and fabricated.

                        In its first year, Blue Ginger received 3 stars from the Boston Globe, was named "Best New Restaurant" by Boston Magazine, was nominated by the James Beard Foundation as "Best New Restaurant 1998" and Esquire Magazine honored Ming as "Chef of the Year 1998."

                        In 2007, Blue Ginger received the prestigious Ivy Award from Restaurants & Institutions for its consistent achievement in meeting the highest standards for food, hospitality and service and in 2009, Ming and Blue Ginger won IFMA's Silver Plate Award in the Independent Restaurant category recognizing overall excellence in the industry.

                      2. re: zoey67

                        Yes, the OP said they want chinese food but as popular as americanized chinese food is, it's still labeled as western chinese or americanized chinese so if the OP didn't state just that or re clarify then it's safe to assume that the OP wants at the minimum chinese that at least tries to be authentic. As far as saying that as long as it's good it doesn't matter? According to that logic, all chinese restaurants should serve fried chicken wings and sweet and sour pork.

                        Look I grew up in nyc where they have authentic chinese but due to takeout they have a LOT of americanized chinese as well, and yet people in nyc realize the difference and specifically ask for just that. Everyone has their own tastes and preferences and some people may enjoy panda express and pf chang but to call it chinese is to be brutally honest, a insult to chinese people.

                        I'd love to delve into how I personally believe that butchered authentic food is destroying cultures and their history but that's not for this board.

                        1. re: zoey67

                          Just to be clear, I'm citing "authenticity" as a measure of how good it is. I'm merely mentioning it to segment what people know colloquially as "chinese food" into 2 sub-cuisines:
                          1) authentic Chinese food
                          2) americanized Chinese food.

                          The point is not to judge that one type of cuisine is superior to another, but merely to recognize that we are talking about two completely different types of food.

                          To give an example that perhaps you can understand, if we are talking about "American" restaurants, would you compare In-N-Out and Phil's BBQ in the same category? I think most people would agree that you would place In-N-Out in a "burgers" category and Phil's BBQ in a "BBQ" category because the cuisines are not related. I merely referred to authenticity to determine if we are talking about "burger" restaurants or "BBQ" restaurants.

                      3. re: zoey67


                        I'm not contesting your recommendations specifically, because I've never tried them.

                        I am, however, contesting your use of Yelp ratings to justify them.


                        Here's a nearly 5 star review of a Subway shop

                        4 star Burger King

                        4 star Wendy's

                        Have I made my point? :)

                        Yelp has its value within the context of the bigger picture, but to use it exclusively to justify a dining decision is, in my opinion, ill advised.

                        Mr Taster

                        1. re: Mr Taster

                          That subway link you gave only has 7 reviews so of course right of the bat me or anyone would take that with a grain of salt.

                          But then also maybe that particular subway is one of the better ones with good service and management.

                          Yelp users know what to look what for. The scathing bashing review from the user with less than 5 reviews who just sign on less than a month.

                          It's all with discretion but for the most part Yelp is very insightful, useful,humorous and informative. I love it.

                          Ok so if you don't like Yelp then what should we use then? only CH? not me...why not utilize both and others like Zagat or word of mouth?

                          IMO not using Yelp is your loss. Using Yelp does more good than not. There's no one perfect resource.

                          1. re: zoey67

                            There's no magic bullet. Those mostly meaningless "star" reviews are so arbitrary they can mean almost anything. Context, as you pointed out, is always what maters, and Chowhound is great because it provides just that. But there's also alternative weeklies, local blogs, etc.

                            Mr Taster

                            1. re: Mr Taster

                              Exactly. But it gives me a good feel or barometer before I go there what to expect that's all. Is it casual or formal. How is the service there. I like to look at the pics to see how the dining is laid out, what the outdoor patio looks like. The many photos other users post of their dish. What the food looks like.

                              As helpful as a board like CH, we don't have the options like yelp to post pics of what that chow mein looks like. Or the google map and directions how to get there. The address, phone #, etc.

                              1. re: zoey67

                                Actually, we can post photos. And we had a restaurant address database function but they killed it a few months ago for reasons unclear to all.

                                Mr Taster

                    1. Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot is a chain, but for what it is (Hot pot - Essentially a spicy Chinese version of Shabu Shabu), it is wickedly delish.

                      1. great - no

                        Authenticity to taste ratio - Chef Chin (


                        Authenticity to price ratio - Spicy City

                        Americanized to taste ratio - Del Mar Rendezvous