Restaurant Review: Steamy Piggy

Restaurant Review: Steamy Piggy
https://www.restaurantji.com/ca/san-diego/steamy-piggy-/

As a self-proclaimed little piggy, I can tell you that I absolutely love food. I love to cook, I love to eat, and I love to try new things. Admittedly though, life as a full-time student has had me neglecting the kitchen, and I’d be lying if I said I’ve touched the stove since Week 1. Thus when I had the opportunity to grab dinner with some old friends after a long week of classes, I knew we needed a place that could offer some top-tier grub. While I love trying out new spots, my belly was craving the delicious familiarity of a place I’ve dined before. Located off Convoy Street in the Convoy District, an area characterized by an abundance of Asian businesses, Steamy Piggy is an Asian fusion restaurant that stands out amongst its competitors. The restaurant offers some of the best dishes I’ve indulged in since moving to San Diego, and I always leave the establishment with every intention to come back. 

We headed to the restaurant around 8:45 p.m. on a Friday night, an experience that went surprisingly well provided how busy the area is typically. Convoy on a Friday night can generally be characterized by one word: Hell. The streets are bustling with people, the parking lots overflowing with cars, and the drivers of those cars are menaces that take ages to leave if they see you waiting for their spot. Steamy Piggy’s parking lot is a particularly rough one: awkwardly shaped, busy like no other, and small spots meant more for scooters than sedans. Luckily though, the odds were in our favor, and a spot opened up as we arrived. 

As expected, we had about a 30-40 minute wait, a period in which we used to take a stroll along Convoy and checked out the various other establishments located within the general vicinity. By the way, across the street, there is not one, not two, but three karaoke spots concentrated in a single plaza. After our leisurely walk, we received a message that our table was ready and quickly made our way back to the restaurant. 

When we walked in, we were greeted warmly by the host and informed that the menu could be viewed virtually using the QR code on the table. We received water and began to review the menu. Despite this being my third time dining with them, I still struggled with deciding what to order. The menu has an abundance of delicious options, from steamy piggy ramen to bulgogi fries and fried chicken baos, there are so many things to try. With each visit, I try to vary my selection and eat something new. On previous visits, I’d indulged in and thoroughly enjoyed the steamy piggy ramen, the bulgogi roll, and the beef chow fun; however, I had  lukewarm feelings about the soup dumplings and kawaii buns. 

When the waitress came to take our order, I opted to share bulgogi fries with the table, split a bulgogi roll with one of my friends, and delight in a fried chicken bao as well. While the bulgogi fries were fairly delicious and definitely beautiful, the bulgogi roll and chicken bao had my eyes rolling to the back of my head. The bulgogi roll takes a green onion pancake, piled with flavorful and tender bulgogi, then tops that with mozzarella cheese and cabbage. It’s absolute perfection and was a no-brainer when it came to ordering. The chicken bao was also phenomenal, consisting of a soft and fluffy steamed bun stuffed with chicken karaage, cabbage, cilantro, and some scrumptious sriracha mayo. I left feeling delightfully satisfied but not overly full, having gotten to try a variety of dishes in portions that were filling but not overwhelming. 

While the food itself was exceptional, I will concede that the service that night was far from fantastic. My other experiences at Steamy Piggy have always been pleasant, so I’d like to assume it was an off night for our waitress. I don’t mind unfriendliness and a lack of enthusiasm; I’ve worked as a server, and I’ve had those days. My criticisms of the service stemmed more from being rushed as we ate, a fact which took away some of the pleasure of indulging. We were initially greeted by a waitress that seemed quite grumpy, which was somewhat valid given that we arrived around 9 p.m. and got seated around 9:45 p.m. despite the fact that they were set to close at 10:30 p.m.. A few minutes after we had begun eating, our waitress came by to ask us if we were finished and needed a box. She dropped off the check by 10 p.m., and we were out the door by 10:03 p.m.. I absolutely understand the frustration of serving a table so close to closing, but, admittedly, it did put a damper on an otherwise exceptional meal. 

While I would recommend against visiting Steamy Piggy after 9 p.m., I fully encourage trying this gem out. Nothing beats eating on the outside patio area, which is absolutely adorable with aesthetic backdrops, outdoor heaters, and a neon pig sign that helps illuminate the space. In terms of what to order, I insist that you try the bulgogi roll, the chicken bao, and the bulgogi chow fun. But regardless where you sit, what you order, and who serves you, Steamy Piggy is worth checking out. 

Photo courtesy of Kirbie’s Cravings

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