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Hong Kong BBQ & Dim Sum – Mira Mesa (San Diego), CA

Hong Kong BBQ & Dim Sum

Sis, nephews, and I decided to try out Hong Kong BBQ in Mira Mesa last week for an early dinner. I used to order their roast duck bbq plate a few years ago for my dog (I mean this as a compliment as he was old and a super finicky eater). Sis, who is a stuck up brat when it comes to roast duck, swore the roast duck at Hong Kong BBQ was better than Sam Woo’s roast duck. But that was a few years ago so we figured why not try out the restaurant for a sit down dinner this time around.

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VINH HUNG SUPERMARKET

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OLD  EDWARDS MOVIE THEATRE

The images of the steak, chicken, seafood used to be where the movie titles were displayed.

CC has a nice write up of Vinh Hung here.

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HONG KONG BBQ & DIM SUM SIGNAGE

You can either enter the restaurant from the supermarket entrance OR from the right side of the market where there’s a separate door to the restaurant.

The restaurant was 100% empty on this Tuesday evening. We tried to justify it by saying it was still early and maybe people wanted to eat later that day. Sounds better than ‘the food must be PRETTY bad huh’.

The decor is a bit out dated and sis found the aluminum foil and Christmas wrapping paper coverings (on windows) super weird. I told her to stop talking because she’s jinxing the food.

The main difference between this place and Sam Woo is the price (of all their dishes). Everything was priced significantly higher.

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CRISPY GREEN BEANS $9.95

I loved this dish as the beans were cooked perfectly.  There was a garlicky sweetness to the sauce that I really enjoyed.

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BBQ PORK ON RICE $8.95

I thought the portion size of this item was great but sis reminded me that the price is probably $2 bucks less at Sam Woo. The bbq pork, unfortunately, was pretty bad. Look at the color of the pork. It was a bit gray.

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The rim of the pork should be a nice red (from the marinade) but the middle should be a moist white. The slices here were dry and did not taste fresh at all. The gai lan (Chinese broccoli) tasted as if it was quickly re-boiled and served without a second thought on the plate.

Funny side note: sis and I were discussing this vegetable afterwards in car and I said the gai lan tasted off. She said noooo, it’s not gai lan, it was CHINESE BROCCOLI. Then I’d argue back and say noooo, it’s NOT Chinese broccoli, it’s GAI LAN. We went back and forth for a few minutes, repeating the same thing, over and over, to one another. We’re both so stupid in such ironic ways. Hopefully you get the humor in this argument.

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XO SAUCE DEEP FRIED TOFU $9.95

I originally wanted to order the regular stuffed tofu but the waiter highly recommended this dish. He said it wasn’t spicy so the kids could enjoy this dish as well. I wanted the sauce to be on the side (so tofu stays crispy) but the waiter said it wasn’t really possible.

I was pleasantly surprised how much I liked this fried tofu. The tofu comes in fried cubes and is tossed with a wonderful concoction of dried scallop, dried shrimp, garlic, green onions, and I think a bit of jalapenos (I think this is what the waiter explained to me in Chinese).

I always thought XO sauce meant there was liquor somehow incorporated in it. So the waiter’s explanation of the sauce that night really piqued my interest to research the sauce a bit more. Here’s what wiki says about XO sauce:

Developed in the 1980s in Hong Kong for Cantonese cuisine, XO sauce is made of roughly chopped dried seafoods, including scallops, dried fish and shrimp, and subsequently cooked with chili peppers, onions, and garlic. The name XO sauce comes from fine XO (extra-old) cognac, which is a popular Western liquor in Hong Kong and considered by many to be a chic product there. In addition the term XO is often used in the popular culture of Hong Kong to denote high quality, prestige, and luxury. In fact, XO sauce has been marketed in the same manner as the French liquor, using packaging of similar colour schemes. In Hong Kong English, XO is pronounced exactly the same.

Interesting right? This dish also re heated nicely in the oven the next day.

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WONTON SOUP $8.95

Sis loves wontons so she wanted to try this soup. It comes out with a handful of big shrimp wontons, gai lan, and chives.

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The wontons tasted alright with the mostly shrimp filling. The broth, on the other hand, tasted like barely seasoned warm water. It was a disappointment.

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ROAST DUCK ON RICE $8.95

Ahhh. Our pièce de résistance.

Or  plain ol’ piece de resistance (said Valley girl style) if you didn’t study French in High School because Spanish was way more useful. 

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Experienced ‘Roast Duck on Rice’ eaters will go straight for the duck breast portion of the plate. The breast portion here looked moist and had a nice gamey-duck taste to it. BUT, the duck in general just didn’t taste amazingly fresh. Sam Woo reheats their roast duck in the microwave but sis felt Sam Woo’s duck tasted better than what we were eating that night. The skin wasn’t crispy but I didn’t fault them too  much for that. I wish they served plum sauce with this dish.

Sis really wanted a Vietnamese iced coffee and wanted me to ask the waiter if it’s made fresh. She speaks Chinese decently but feels like an idiot when she has to use it at a restaurant. The waiter said ‘of course it’s made fresh’ so alright, let’s get one.

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VIETNAMESE ICED COFFEE $2.50

Let me tell you how I know when sis gets irate. She says ‘you BETTER yelp that it’s _________’ or ‘you should blog that it’s ____________’

THAT’S when you know a certain food/drink item infuriates/disappoints  her that it deserves mention in my blog. Thanks sis. Thanks for never reading blog but wanting a part in it when something is worth complaining about :)

The coffee didn’t taste of the creamy sweet condensed milk that Vietnamese iced coffee is known for. Sis said the coffee was incredibly weak and didn’t taste like the slow drip espresso version she loves so much. It was a waste of $2.50 for her.

The meal was about $60 after tax and tip. That’s quite a bit for dinner in Mira Mesa. Sis wanted to point out that she can have a full meal at Yakitori Yakyudori for the same price (with husband and kids) PLUS it includes a beer. So $60 for what we had that night was too much. Sam Woo has better ‘roast whatever’ over rice dishes but I don’t think they beat HK BBQ in the green beans and XO Fried Tofu department.

Hong Kong BBQ has great lunch specials so I suggest trying this place out if you’re in the area one afternoon. It’s a nice change of pace from visiting  Convoy (well, specifically grumpy Sam Woo).

I forgot to take pics of the menu but V had one on hand and took these for me just now:

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Thanks V –

Hong Kong BBQ
10550 Camino Ruiz
San Diego, CA 92126
858-408-4888

Open 7 days: 9a-9pm

15 thoughts on “Hong Kong BBQ & Dim Sum – Mira Mesa (San Diego), CA”

  1. Hi Faye, if you get a chance try out Sieu Sieu BBQ on Clairemont Mesa (same plaza as Rubio’s Test Kitchen). I LOVE their roast duck. The tofu with XO sauce sounds really yummy, I’d wanna try to make that at home :)

    1. Hi Jinxi,

      I haven’t tried Sieu Sieu! I’ve heard about it but never visited as I was told Sam Woo was better? I totally forgot about Sieu Sieu so thank you for the reminder. Sis and I have been craving roast duck lately so it’ll be great to try out a different restaurant (she’s never been either). Hope you get to make the XO sauce tofu and post about it! I’m wondering if i can buy pre made XO Sauce (that’s decent) from 99 Ranch or something.

  2. That tofu looks so good!! I tried to make XO sauce once but I left the scallops out as I did not have it on hand. Even without it, it was pretty delicious :)

    Too bad this place was hit or miss! SD needs more good Chinese places.

    My sister and bf are the same way whenever they realllyyyy don’t like something at a restaurant, they tell me I have to mention this on the blog or on Yelp. Soooo I guess we’re the designated blog/Yelp complainers? Haha.

    1. Hi J.S,

      Oh I bet your XO sauce was good! I wonder if it’s kinda (sorta…well, not really) like your chimi sauce – I think I’m just dreaming about the fragrance of both sauces right now. I never knew there were scallops in the sauce so it was a fun discover that night at dinner.

      I wish I had a go-to Chinese restaurant here in SD. I guess Golden Seafood is still the place for me but I know there are other Chinese restaurants out there that I have yet to try.

      My sister and your sister would be great together. Great at complaining but too lazy to write – we’re so lucky.

      Happy Thursday JS!

  3. The horror… Grey bbq pork… I like to go there for har gow, sui mei, and pan fried noodles. I usually go to Sam Woo for duck but I’ll have to try Sieu Sieu.

    That’s awesome the love between you and sis! Would be cool to watch you 2 hanging out having your debates. ;-)

    1. Hi Soo,

      I’ve been here in past for their dim sum but didn’t like it as much. I bet their pan fried noodles would be good though. I visited Sieu Sieu yesterday for lunch and thought they roast duck was pretty good.

      I love my sister despite her mean quirks :) Not many people see us together because we’re too much to handle. Shocker right.

  4. Ranch 99 sells the pre-made XO sauce in a container, in the same aisle with other sauces such as Black Bean Sauce, BBQ Sauce, etc. I only buy the ones with the brand Lee Kum Kee. Possibly H-Mart or Zion Market sell it too.

    1. Hi Jess,

      Thanks for the tip on where to locate the XO Sauce at 99 Ranch. I know EXACTLY what aisle you are talking about too. I don’t think I’ve ever seen XO sauce but then again, I was never looking for it. I’d be curious to see if the Korean markets sold it too – it would surprise me if they did but that’ll be a good treasure hunt on my next trip to H Mart and/or Zion.

      Hope you have a good week and thanks for visiting the blog :)

  5. Funny sister, wanting her disgruntlements conveyed through your blog and yelp reviews! BTW did you ever get her back for her prank? Thinking back on that post still makes me chuckle lol.

    There is a Sam Woo that I have been passing by for years, but never went into. I was curious to try but it always seemed so dead, so I just overlooked it. I’ve noticed that it also had BLEH reviews on Yelp. IDK I’ve just never been tempted to go in there. What would you recommend at Sam Woo’s?

    1. Hi Miss K,

      I have YET to prank her back. She’s been busy this summer so I haven’t had many chances to seek proper justice.

      Which Sam Woo have you seen? The one here in San Diego is always packed during peak times. They have cheap lunch deals (at least here in SD) but it’s cash only AND the service is notoriously wretched. My favorite item there is the Roast Duck. The one hanging by its neck in the deli area. You HAVE to get it when it just comes out – that’s the trick (well, I’m sure that applies to most foods right). But if you get it fresh and hot, oh my goodness, the roast duck is divine. Don’t order a plate of duck over rice (they don’t use the best duck IMO for that one) . Try to order 1/2 of a roast duck and pick out the duck you want them to cut for you (versus one that’s already been cut and might have been sitting there for a bit).

  6. I have been here a few times for lunch. It’s nothing mind blowing if you ask me. For lunch I will get a couple of things off the little dim sum menu for a cheap cheap lunch. Funny your sister definitely uses you as a mouthpiece to complain about the stuff she isn’t happy with, haha. Maybe they gave your sister coffee milk instead, that’s kind of what it looks like! Shaken milk :)

    1. Their dim sum was indeed cheap. I wonder if they have more dim sum variety now. I used to only order their non-dim-sum lunch specials.

      Yeah sis is incredibly vocal when it comes to voicing her complaints to ME. What a gift.

      I am curious about that Vietnamese iced coffee now. Perhaps it was coffee milk! That would so set off sis :)

  7. The best item here is the duck porridge. It is the best I’ve ever had.

    When you sit in the restaurant, you can see where the popcorn/snack purchase area was, and walking through the store, you can notice the footprint of all the theaters.

    Walking in the main door, turn left at that extra cash register and go down that hall- there are two Filipino grab and go places. The one on the left sells garlic fried peanuts that I can’t stop craving.

    1. Ohhhh we did see the porridge. I’ll have to try one next time if you say it’s the best you’ve ever had. Is there a certain one you can recommend (fish, beef, etc?).

      I haven’t been inside this market for some time. Sis commented on the Filipino fast food sign out front but we had no idea what was being offered. I’ve seen your posts on those garlic fried peanuts. Those sound pretty good right about now actually. Do they also sell the fried chicken skins?

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