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Someone described Lee’s Garden (4055 54th Street, Rolando, 619-583-8208) as an Asian wedding destination. I even wrote that down in my notes, “Asian wedding destination,” wondering exactly what that would mean for me as a non-Asian person not shopping for a wedding destination. When I finally got to check out Lee’s, I ended up sharing the dining room with a full-scale wedding party--cake, tuxedos, piped-in quasi-Chinese muzak and all. Nobody seemed to care, and I gather that this kind of thing happens all the time.

Ordering seemed difficult at first, but the seemingly endless menu broke down into variations on a theme and not every dish was a unique preparation. One could choose between salted shrimps, salted squid, salted lobster, spicy shrimp, spicy squid, spicy lobster, etc. I tried to go for a whole, steamed fish, but alas, they were sold out.

Instead, a starter plate of fried shrimp was more “fried” than “shrimp,” and otherwise unremarkable.

Salted squid was a big improvement, with the calamari chopped into manageable pieces and fried in a light, crispy batter. Calling it “salted” is not a joke. The dish had about a year’s supply of sodium chloride sprinkled on it. Anyone who likes extra-salty meals every now and again will be delighted by Lee’s salted fish options.

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An order of fried beef ribs reined in the saltiness, although only partially. Not an elegant dish by any means, the ribs were chewy and fun to gnaw. The best part was the pickled cabbage and carrots that came on the side. They were sharply tangy and spicy in all the right ways.

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I also managed to score a crazy--but tasty--beverage. It was a mixture of condensed milk, soda water, and egg; basically a sweet version of the Rocky Balboa breakfast.

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Everything was served with plenty of good, white rice and that’s about it. I wouldn’t call Lee’s Garden exceptional, but I would call it fun and inexpensive. Almost nothing on the menu was more than $10 and three people ate heartily for under $40 because the entree portions were shareable.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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