Newly minted in the space vacated by dumpling house Great Wow when the six-month-old eatery relocated to Hillcrest back in February is Red Cate Hot Pot. Located at 3860 Convoy Street, the restaurant is just the latest entry in the Chinese hot pot craze that’s sweeping San Diego and concentrated in the Kearny Mesa area. Red Cate specializes in the signature hot pot of Chongqing, a city in Southwest China know for its spicy food. With ordering done via a choose-your-own-ingredients menu, the dish starts with a base of either spicy broth or bone soup, or half and half, that simmers in a central pot set into the dining tables. From there, you choose from a variety of meat, seafood, vegetables to cook in the broth; Red Cate offers a large selection of offal, including beef heart and tripe plus pork brain and kidney.
Another trendy food item, this one from Northern China, will be the focus of Steamy Piggy due at 4681 Convoy Street by the end of May. Handmade dumplings will be showcased in a glassed-in dumpling-making room as you first enter the restaurant; the entire space is currently undergoing a remodel, which will also open up its patio and add a living wall. According to its website, Steamy Piggy will use pasture-raised beef and pork and “free-range” chicken in its dumplings and source its vegetables from local farmer’s markets. The menu ranges from traditional meat dumplings with chives or cabbage and classic Chinese noodle dishes to fusion dishes including egg and cheese brunch dumplings, Nutella-filled dessert dumplings, mapo quinoa and scallion pancakes with eggs, pesto and mozzarella. We’re hearing that the eatery is waiting for its liquor license to be able to serve beer, wine and soju.