Kirbie's Cravings

Chin’s Convoy- A second look

Chin’s Convoy
4433 Convoy St
San Diego, Ca 92078

A few weeks ago, I had a quick meal at Chin’s Convoy. I had a pretty good experience, and so I was surprised to hear negative reviews about Chin’s, which I heard from several sources. I decided to pay Chin’s another visit and try out more dishes to see if my first experience was a fluke.

We arrived for Saturday brunch, so we ordered both breakfast items as well as some regular menu items.

First to arrive was our salty soy milk. I was surprised that it had chili oil inside. I’m not used to it being spicy, or being cooked with chili oil. However, it tasted pretty good. It was only mildly spicy. The soy milk had pieces of fried cruller and soy bean curds. There were also some salty pickled vegetables at the bottom. I did think the bowl was a bit small. I think the Chin’s at Miramar serves a bigger bowl for around the same price.

We also ordered a sweet soy milk.

We also ordered a fried silk bun. The silk bun, is a white steamed bun that is slightly sweet. Inside, the bun is broken up into pieces that look like “threads.” You can order it steamed or fried. Since I usually eat it at home steamed, I opted to get the fried version at the restaurant.

There was a page of lunch specials, so we decided to try the spicy bean sauce fish.  I was surprised with what arrived. I expected black beans, a darker sauce. Instead this one was heavy on garlic and didn’t seem to have any beans. However, it was tasty. It just wasn’t what I expected. The fish was really tender and the sauce was flavorful. Since it was a lunch portion, it was a bit smaller than a normal portion.

We also ordered a pork spare rib noodle soup. The soup bowl was really big. The dish looked very similar to the beef noodle soup we ordered last time, except for the fact that the meat was pork spare ribs and the soup was slightly sweet, which is how pork spare rib soup usually is. It was a little confusing though because it looked so much like beef noodle soup. Everyone at the table preferred beef noodle soup to this one, but I think it is more of a taste preference, rather than preparation.

We also ordered the fried cruller wrapped in a sesame bun. I often find that the sesame bun is too dry so I like to just east the cruller by itself.  This version was really thin, but it wasn’t too dry.

Finally, we ordered a tea smoked duck. I enjoy the tea smoked duck at Chin’s on Miramar and was curious to try the version here. The version here was really good.  The duck had a heavy smoked flavor and the duck was fairly meaty. It was odd that the duck was served with little steam buns, which you usually see with peking duck where you can wrap slices of the peking duck and crispy skin in the wrappers. Tea duck is not sliced that way, and every piece had bones attached, so it was not as easy to wrap the duck meat with the steamed buns. So I ended up just eating the buns separately.

We ended the meal with wine brew soup served with sesame rice balls.  This tasted exactly like the one at Miramar. The broth was pretty sweet and I like the black sesame filled rice balls.

Like last time, we had really good service. Chin, the owner, was there as well and came by to say hi. He recognized Boyfriend and me. Baby Bro was so excited to meet Chin. I asked him for some recommendations and he told me to get the sauteed eel and the sauteed shrimp next time. He says the main chef is famous for those dishes.

All in all, I’m pretty satisfied with this Chin’s. I think I like the Miramar slightly more.  The portions are a bit bigger, prices a little less, and more dishes I like at Miramar, but this Chin’s is a bit less crowded and tastes pretty good. Plus the service has been really great. I made sure to take pictures of the menu this time as well:

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17 comments on “Chin’s Convoy- A second look”

  1. Thanks for the info. You have a nice mom. I’ll keep working on my recipe.

  2. Hmm, I actually don’t eat that much zong zi during the year. I think in general, it’s not very good for the stomach. Usually I get mine from my mom back home. The only ones I can think of that I like are some frozen ones at Ranch 99, not made by Ranch. They are a different brand. It’s a seafood zong zi made by I-Mei, or something like that. Those are pretty tasty and can be found in the frozen food aisles. Also there are instant glutinous rice mixes that Ranch sells which I enjoy. They come in little boxes, and you just add some water and stick it in the microwave.

  3. Have you found any zongi style glutinous rice in San Diego that you like? My stomach doesn’t like the stuff they sell at Ranch 99. They use to have great zongi at Hong Kong BBQ but they stopped serving it a few years ago. I make it myself but I haven’t gotten it as good as what they use to serve at Hong Kong BBQ.

  4. Hi Soo, Yeah the menu has a few Taiwanese style dishes, though I don’t think you’ll see too much of a difference. The chef isn’t Taiwanese and its not his specialty. He is actually more Shanghai style (if you ever visited the old Shanghai City, it would something similar to that.) For stuff like wonton soup and glutinous rice I think it will be similar to what you are used to at Sam Woo’s. A lot of chinese regions have dishes which are mutual/similar. I think wonton soup is pretty much the same at most chinese places. Glutinous rice, they may vary in the ingredients put inside from region to region. Let me know if you have other questions. =)

  5. The one on Miramar has a breakfast menu only in chinese. Though in the last year or so, they began providing a translation on the back, but the numbers don’t necessarily correspond to what is on the front. But yeah, the one here is English. And the staff at Chin’s has better English skills than most chinese restaurants as they do cater to a lot of Americans. I stopped chinese school at around 6, and can’t really read either. hehe. Been trying to get better with food terms though.

  6. I have a few questions for you about Chin’s. The menu has a bunch of dishes that are Taiwanese style. I’m use to Chinese style like at Sam Woo’s. Do you know what the differences are in dishes like won ton soup or glutinous rice?

  7. Thanks for posting the menus, Kirbie! I’ve wanted to find a good Chinese breakfast in SD for a long time. Heard about Chin’s, but had also heard that the breakfast menu might be in Chinese only. Unfortunately, Chinese school didn’t stick and I can’t read. I also don’t speak Mandarin, so I was thinking that perhaps my dreams of a good Chinese breakfast might be dashed by my childhood laziness at grasping the language!

  8. I really enjoyed the fish and the wine brew. Probably some of their best items. The food here isn’t as good as some of the places in SGV, but it’s good for San Diego standards. =)

  9. I was so worried when the salty soy milk came out with the chili oil. I was thinking “oh no, this is not good. the rumors are true that this place is bad” But it tasted pretty good!

  10. I’m a bit hesitant to eat chili oil as a breakfast item, but somehow this worked.

  11. Nice! I think I’ll visit here if I end up staying in San Diego for a few days during the summer. The fish and the wine blew look so good! Haven’t had either in a while now.

  12. I’m glad your visits weren’t flukes and that this Chin’s is shown to be a good place to eat. I think I can eat any kind of duck with those buns! I’ve never had salty chili soy milk and sound a bit odd yet I’m intrigued by it!

  13. The salty soy milk with chilies sounds really interesting. I have never had it that way, either. But I can see how that would be wonderful to try, especially on a cold day.

  14. Hi Sawyer- I’m happy to hear you like all the posts. I often get comments that I post so much..and I don’t know if people are happy or overwhelmed with that fact.
    Yes, an egg is usually dropped in at the end for wine brew soup. You can try making it yourself too! They sell wine brew at most chinese grocery stores. I did a post here:
    You just dump some of the wine brew into a pot, add water, lots of sugar, and you can add either small glutinous rice balls or ones with filling (to replicate the ones at this restaurant) You can buy ready made frozen glutinous rice balls at chinese grocery stores also. And you drop in a scrambled egg at the end.
    I also recently learned how to make my own rice brew from my mom! It’s pretty simple and tastes really good and you can use it to cook with or just eat on its own. (I hope to post on it soon)
    I’ve never tried it as a night out of town remedy. Heehee. I think maybe the homemade version my mom just made would taste great after night on the town. The usual version at restaurants I imagine is more of a dessert.

  15. there was so many times i visit, thinking the last time i saw your blog was the other day and am always greeted w/ so many posts. i love it! ever since i saw that wine brewed soup i’ve been very interested in trying it…i’ll have to mark this on my sd to do list…is it a nice remedy after a night out on the town or is it just good for dessert? is that egg in there i see?

  16. The versions I ate in Taiwan never had chili oil either. But I actually enjoyed this.

  17. Salty soy milk with chili oil in it? That is new to me. I have tried salty soy milk in Taiwan – they add green onions, fried shallots (e.g ingredients you would add into congee) in the soy milk but I’ve never seen chili oil version :O