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Get ready to revel in the culinary and cultural wonders of this diverse and dynamic Kearny Mesa neighborhood, which boasts one of the largest pan-Asian business districts in the nation and has been officially designated the Convoy Asian Cultural District. Here's your guide to the community's top restaurants, shopping options and more!
Where: 4805 Convoy St, San Diego, CA 92111
Launched by friends with a shared love for great food and craft beer, Common Theory draws from its founders' Korean-Chinese-Mexican-American backgrounds and passion for providing a memorable dining experience. The restaurant also houses the "secret" Realm of the 52 Remedies, an immersive, Shanghai-inspired speakeasy that incorporates Chinese herbal remedies into its inventive cocktails and cuisine.
Where: 8199 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, Unit M, San Diego, CA 92111
This ramen restaurant's hand-made noodles helped earn it a prestigious Michelin plate award in 2021 — and the renowned food critic Andrew Zimmern tweeted after visiting Menya Ultra (which now also has locations in Hillcrest and Mira Mesa) that the "best tonkatsu ramen in America might just be in San Diego!"
Where: 4609 Convoy St, Unit A, San Diego, CA 92111
A Convoy institution since 1993, the capacious Jasmine specializes in Hong Kong-style dim sum, cooked on high-flame stoves to lend "wok-hei" ("breath of the wok) to the food, and brought fresh to your table via steam pushcarts.
Where: 4609 Convoy St, Unit F, San Diego, CA 92111
This fun place brings fresh sushi right to your table via a conveyer-belt system, with a pay-by-the-plate setup. (You can also order specialty items from the Kura menu.) Pick up enough plates and you'll win a prize dispensed by a gizmo above each table. And you can even get drinks delivered via robot!
Where: 7655 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, Unit 501, San Diego, CA 92111
This Convoy favorite touts its mission statement right on the menu: "All You Can Eat, All Day Every Day." The menu takes in a wide variety of barbecued meats as well as seafood and such specialties as Kabocha squash and Pamuchin salada. Definitely a place to bring your appetite.
Where: 8010 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, San Diego, CA 92111
Thai cuisine is another big part of the pan-Asian experience in the Convoy District, and Chaba Thai Kitchen is one of the favorites, offering such traditional favorites as Pad Thai along with a range of curries, noodle dishes and Thai desserts.
Where: 4170 Convoy St, San Diego, CA 92111
This haven for traditional Vietnamese food has been a Convoy District staple since 1992, winning numerous awards and "best of" designations along the way. The restaurant's selections of Pho (beef rice noodle soups) are a big draw, but the expansive menu offers lots of other specialties, including vegetarian dishes.
Where: 4764 Convoy St, Unit B, San Diego, CA 92111
The Convoy District's celebrated omakase-style sushi restaurant Hidden Fish (which earned a rave review in The New York Times) is behind this unique sister business — a sake lounge that also features small seafood bites. It's a great destination if you're looking for a whole new perspective on the pan-Asian experience.
Where: 4620 Convoy St, San Diego, CA 92111
If you're thinking dessert, save room for an indulgent stop at this fun place, part of a growing chain. Somi Somi specializes in Ah-Boong, a Korean dessert served in a fish-shaped waffle cone that's stuffed with your favorite filling and topped with soft-serve ice cream.
Where: 7655 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, San Diego, CA 92111
A full-size, full-service supermarket, Zion specializes in Korean ingredients, including fresh produce and meats, and offers numerous special weekly deals.
Where: 8151 Balboa Ave, San Diego, CA 92111
The Japanese-focused Marukai is actually three separate markets: One carrying groceries, Japanese foods, snacks, beverages and more; a second that features goods from Japanese furniture to electronics to kimonos; and a third that offers Japanese collectibles, plus unique foods and gift items.
Where: 4240 Kearny Mesa Rd, San Diego, CA 92111
Another Japanese-centered retail favorite, Marukai offers an extensive range of Japanese groceries, snacks, beverages and ingredients, plus fresh sushi, a noodle shop, gift items, and even a bookstore.
Where: 7330 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, San Diego, CA 92111
The Convoy District location of this large Chinese supermarket chain is a pan-Asian experience all its own, with authentic items and ingredients spanning multiple cultures, cuisines and traditions.
Where: 7655 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, Unit 322, San Diego, CA 92111
If you're into the Korean-pop experience (a current global obsession), you'll definitely want to check out this gift shop within the Zion Marketplace. The shop offers music, cards, posters, candies and more, all dedicated to your favorite K-Pop artists.
Where: 4689 Convoy St, San Diego, CA 92111
This shop is a showplace for the furniture designs of Taiwan-based Lagoon, whose creations center around the philosophy of "LOHAS," for "lifestyles of health and sustainability." The Convoy District store is now the company's flagship location.
A multi-day celebration that begins in January or February each year, Lunar New Year is a major event in China as well as other Asian cultures. The Convoy District's commemorations include a Lunar New Year Dumpling Party at the Taiwanese American Community Center, featuring dumpling-making (vegan-friendly options included), crafting and games. The Asian Business Association of San Diego also hosts a celebration, with delicious food and libations as well as entertainment.
A tradition in the Convoy District each December, "Convoy Nights: A Holiday Gathering" offers special performances and discounts throughout December — plus a self-guided tour of the community. Among Convoy Nights' producers is Social Artistry, an award-winning event production business and inaugural member of the San Diego Tourism Authority's Tourism Accelerator program.
If exploring all the wonders and fun of the Convoy District makes you want to break into song, this neighborhood has got you covered in a big way. You can get your song on at clubs and restaurants from Bobos Craft Beer & Mu Music Karaoke, to Melody Karaoke & Cafe, to Music Studio Jin and many more. The sprawling HIVE — a 20,000-square-foot restaurant, bar, nightclub and arcade — even offers 14 private karaoke rooms for rent.
With its wide variety of businesses and cultural attractions in a relatively compact area, the Convoy District is a great place to explore on foot. Regular walking tours are offered on request (email email@example.com to make a reservation). And if you have your heart set on seeing some art, be sure to embark on a self-guided tour of "Box Creations: A Utility Mural Box Project," a public-art collection sponsored by the Asian Business Association San Diego, the Convoy District, SDG&E and Cox Communications. The project is a series of murals painted on utility boxes throughout the neighborhood; the artworks liven up the district with vibrant imagery that draws upon and reflects the area's multicultural heritage.
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