China Max

A couple of coworkers and I went out to China Max for lunch yesterday. I had been to this place a few years back for dinner but never got around to returning, even though it was a great Hong Kong-style Chinese restaurant.

I had read from Mmm-yoso’s review that dim sum was available and that’s what I and one coworker ended up getting and sharing, along with an order of their Beef Chow Fun.  The other coworker ordered a spicy chicken off their “Recession” menu ($9 for the entrée plus rice and egg drop soup).  While that may sound a little steep for a “Recession” menu, this was not a skimpy sized lunch special.  A large plate with the chicken over crispy noodles appeared and you could see the pepper seeds in the sauce denoting that this was not spicy on an American scale.  I tried a piece and yup, it had a kick to it.  Also, the chicken was nice and moist.  I don’t know if it was worth the $9 but it sure beat Panda Express.

China Max does dim sum a little differently.  Instead of ordering off carts that pass your table, you have a picture menu (handy for people not familiar with dim sum or know what they like but don’t know the name of it) and a sheet where you check off what you want.  The waiter collects the sheet and then a few minutes later, dim sum starts appearing on your table.  A lot easier and simpler than the cart places, in my opinion.  The selection of dim sum at China Max is decent and a lot of the classics like shrimp har gow (shrimp dumpling) and char siu bao (steamed bbq pork bun) are on the menu.  The cost is based on the items which are marked Small, Medium, Large and Kitchen.  Small dishes were priced at $3.75, Medium at $4.something, Large at around $5.75 and Kitchen varied from $8-11, if memory serves me correctly.

We ordered:
– shrimp har gow
– char siu bao
– pork and shrimp shumai
– fried potstickers
– bbq pork cheung fun (bbq pork wrapped in a rice noodle topped with a sweetened soy sauce)
– pork spare ribs
– turnip cake
– egg custard tarts

This coupled with an order of beef chow fun ended up being quite a large order for 2 people and we ended up with leftovers.

Some of the dishes like the pork spare ribs were a little milder in flavor compared to the other dim sum restaurants I’d been too.  Most of the dishes were steamed so they were not heavy or oily.  The fried potstickers were quite light and had a good crispy skin and moist filling.  The pieces seemed to be a little bigger than what you get at Emerald or Jasmine.  I really enjoyed the bbq pork cheung fun; I think that was my favorite. The beef chow fun was also quite good.  Altogether, the meal ended up a little less than $40, not counting the spicy chicken dish.

The only downside is the service.  I guess it’s not really that different from other Chinese places I’ve been to but they aren’t attentive and it’s really hard to flag people down to get something as simple as a water or tea refill.

Overall, I was quite pleased with the food experience and would come back for the dim sum.  It was a lot quicker coming here for a workday lunch than it was going to a cart place.

I give China Max 3 NOMs.

China Max
4698 Convoy Street #C101
San Diego, CA 92111
China Max Seafood on Urbanspoon


2 Responses

  1. Sounds like you had a good lunch! China Max usually does a decent job, but is fairly inconsistant. What they do is Hong Kong Style Seafood….versus Cantonese…..and uses more subtle flavoring, depending on freshness, rather than sauces.

  2. It was! I guess I lucked out because the 2 times I’ve been there, it’s been good. 🙂

    I’m used to Panda Express so anything on Convoy is always better. Now if I could find a place near where I live in LA that didn’t require me having to drive out to SGV…

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