Emerald Chinese Seafood Restaurant

Emerald Chinese Seafood restaurant As mentioned previously, the Emerald Chinese Seafood Restaurant is one of the better Chinese restaurants in the San Diego area. This restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, but I will focus on dim sum. Please note, the Jasmine also has dim sum, but the price and quality of the food is just a smidgen better at the Emerald compared to the Jasmine.

Emerald Chinese Seafood restaurant

What is Dim Sum?

If you have never had dim sum, then you just have to give it a try. Bring friends who have done it before, or be recklessly adventurous and go with a pack of newbies.

Dim sum literally translate to "touch the heart" and it refers to the food being so tasty that it caresses your heart. Dim sum is like eating multiple plates of appetizers: it involves many small dishes of delights. Most are bite size though some can be divided and shared.

Dim sum dishes can be savory (like meats), sweet (like desserts), steamed, boiled, or deep fried. Most common are dumplings and buns which are filled with vegetables, pork, chicken, beef, or shrimp. Be advised: you may not be familiar with some dishes (such as chicken feet or pork entrails) but they are favorites among the Chinese.

Typically, black tea is served with the dim sum. Indeed, the whole experience of dim sum is called "yum cha" which translate to "drink tea". Yum cha (the entire event) and dim sum (the small dishes of food) are social gatherings when people eat, talk and celebrate.

Emerald Chinese Seafood restaurant

How does it Work?

Waitress will push carts around the restaurant and you pick and choose the dishes you want. She then stamps your punch card. At the end of your meal, the stamp marks are tallied and you get to see your final price. Not all dishes are the same price - you can check the prices on the menu, but often, people just order to their hearts content.


  1. To avoid line-ups, go earlier rather than later.
  2. Bring lots of friends and families so that you can sample many dishes.
  3. If you have a large table, consider ordering 2 of every dish so everyone can try a piece.
  4. Avoid ordering all deep fried dishes or all sweet dishes; get a mix of flavors and types.
  5. If you cannot find anything you like, you can order from the menu because the kitchen is open.
  6. Flag down a bus boys if you need anything above & beyond what is presented to you (a glass of water, more tea, a fork, or a item from the menu)
  7. Some waitresses encourage you to order more - they are paid a commission depending on how many dishes they sell - but don't be fooled to order more than you want..
  8. When the waitress is stamping your punch card, be sure that she does not accidentally give you 3 stamps when you have ordered only 2 items.

Emerald Chinese Seafood restaurant

The Establishment

The Emerald is very much a classic Chinese restaurant with large round tables well suited for groups of 10 people or more. Smaller square tables are also available for cozy companions.

The dining area is large and open - thus it can get quite loud and rowdy - this is typical of large Chinese families. There are some Chinese sculptures and decorations but nothing extraordinary. There are large water tanks which maintains fresh fish, lobsters, and other seafood. Bathrooms are acceptable.

Service is basic and acceptable. The ladies pushing food carts are not particularly responsive to special orders - their job is to cart the food around. If you want something special, you need to flag down a bus boy or the manager. You can find them running around serving tables somewhat randomly.

Location, Parking and Hours:

Pacific Gateway Plaza
3709 Convoy Street, Suite 101
San Diego, CA 92111
Phone: (858) 565-6888
                Hours of Operation:

There are a few parking spots outside in the parking lot but certainly not enough for the restaurant's capacity. Park in adjacent lots or street parking where available. Tip: go early!

see Emerald Chinese Seafood Restaurant menu

see map
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Emerald Chinese Seafood restaurant