Hello Nomsters! I hope you’re excited because today, I’m going to tell you about the 4 best Asian fusion restaurants in San Diego, California. Make sure you keep reading until the very end to learn more about these SoCal must-tries and see which dishes you need to get from each place!
I love Mexican fusion places because everything takes better in burrito and taco form! BOPJO, which means “feed me” in Korean, has a menu full of amazing Korean Mexican fusion items.
My 2 favorite items on the menu are the Korean California Burrito (French fries, avocado, fried egg, kimchi, bulgogi beef, and lettuce) and the Gangnam Dirty Nachos (bulgogi beef, kimchi, cheese, green onions, spicy aioli, gochujang sauce).
Some of the other items that I highly recommend include the kimchi quesadilla and Seoul tacos. They also recently rolled out some new items including Korean fried chicken and 2 dessert items: Quesa churros and a rainbow quesadilla!
The quesa churros are caramel filled churros rolled in grilled cheese and topped with powdered sugar and condensed milk, and the rainbow quesadilla is a dessert quesadilla filled with rainbow sprinkles, cheese and condensed milk.
CHIKO is a CHInese KOrean fusion restaurant located on Highway 101 in Encinitas. CHIKO started in DC and quickly grew popular through their delicious food and found its way to California. The menu is intentionally small so that they can focus on producing high quality food.
They have signature dishes such as their orange-ish chicken and soy-glazed chopped brisket; however, my favorite CHIKO menu item is the cumin lamb stir fry with wheat flour noodles. The dish is flavorful and spicy, and the lamb is perfectly tender.
The pork pot stickers from CHIKO are perhaps some of the best pot stickers I’ve had. I also highly recommend the half-a-cado salad (I don’t even like salad!). Keep an eye on their Instagram because they have daily family dinner specials that you don’t want to miss!
If you just can’t get enough CHIKO, they recently partnered with Helia Brewing Company in Vista, CA to do a pop-up on Friday and Saturday nights. At Helia, they have a separate, rotating menu that features items such as the bulgogi cheesesteak, cumin lamb burger, loaded Korean totchos, hoisin pork quesadilla, and more!
Located in the heart of Convoy, the souffle pancakes from Cake de Partie thrust them into popularity, with flavors such as ube, tiramisu, crème brulee, etc. If you have not had their souffle pancakes, you MUST go at once!! They are the softest, fluffiest, jiggliest pancakes you will ever have!
Although Cake de Partie is known for their desserts, they also have some amazing savory entrees as well! They have several fusion spaghettis (tom yum, carbonara, tom kha chicken, and basil crab), as well as several different fried chicken dishes, rice plates and salads.
The tom yum spaghetti is one of the most unique but delicious dishes I’ve had – before I tried it, I wasn’t sure how they were going to capture the tom yum flavor in a pasta dish, but they did an amazing job, and I could probably eat this dish every day and be so happy!
Last but definitely not least is Animae! Animae describes themselves as “eclectic West Coast cuisine layered with Asian influences”. It is definitely much more upscale and trendy and less casual than the other 3 but worth every penny.
Animae is part of Brian Malarkey’s restaurant group and features James Beard Award-winning chef Nate Appleman as the culinary director. Both their indoor and outdoor dining spaces are gorgeous, and the service is impeccable.
Their menu features fusion items such as lobster nuoc cham, waygu beef gyoza, coconut shrimp kaarage, and Singapore chili lobster noodles, as well as several Asian-inspired desserts. One of my favorite dishes is the tom yum mushrooms, which I never would have ordered had it not been for a recommendation since I’m usually more of a meat lover, but the dish was so unique and flavorful.
I am also a huge fan of the bao buns made with miso seaweed butter and sesame – they are simple but so buttery and soft and just melt in your mouth.
Written by Robin Tan — to see more from this wonderful Nom contributor, make sure to give her a follow on Instagram and check out her latest post for more SD eats: Sushi with a Side of Stars at Lumi Rooftop by Akira! We update Nomtastic Foods daily so make sure to check back soon for fresh new content coming your way. Until next time!