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Nov 22, 2009 10:01 AM

Dan Sung Sa - Oakland

This is my current favorite soju bang, or at least a toss-up with its smaller spinoff Kang Tong Degi.

The one great dish I've found so far is the spicy fried chicken wings, which except for the use of wings are similar to Chef Yu's gampoongi: super-crisp crunchy coating and a vinegary, spicy sauce. Messy and sticky (not a bad idea to bring some alcohol wipes) but perfect with soju and beer.

Kang Tong Degi
3702 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

Dan Sung Sa
2775 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

Chef Yu's
3919 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

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  1. Sounds great. Do they serve it with the pickled daikon the way other Korean fried chicken places do?

    Have you had the garlic soy fried chicken at O.B. Town, and if so how does this compare? Sounds saucier and spicier. And do they have other fried chicken on the menu, besides just the wings?

    Oriental B.B.Q. Chicken Town
    6101 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA

    14 Replies
    1. re: abstractpoet

      Yes, a dish of daikon pickes and a dish of jalapeños. I haven't had OBBQCT's.

      We've had another fried chicken dish at DSS that was soggy. The menu's confusing. We've seen other tables get a crisp-looking whole chicken that we want to try but haven't succeeded in ordering it.

      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        when my Korean friends aren't around, I like to use the pointing method.

        1. re: nicedragonboy

          Yeah, next time I see it go by, I'm going to find out.

        2. re: Robert Lauriston

          I believe the whole fried chicken is called "tong dak". Let us know if you try it.

          1. re: DezzerSF

            Yep, it is tong dak. Basically a cornish game hen, seasoned, dropped in the deep fryer (no flour / batter / breading). The one at DSS is good, the one at OBBQCT is better. Many, many a college night spent at that place in its previous incarnation as Koko's.

            1. re: david de berkeley

              Thanks, I'll order that next time and maybe give OBBQCT a second chance (loved the atmosphere there but had not very good food).

              1. re: david de berkeley

                Does the tong dak have some kind of sauce on it? Or is it just spices/seasoning? And is it double-fried the way that Korean fried chicken normally is?

                1. re: david de berkeley

                  I loved Koko's tong dak, is OBBQCT's just as good?

                  1. re: david de berkeley

                    Regular tong dak does not have any sauce. I have never made it before, but from what I remember in watching the folks at Koko's, I think all that is done is seasoning a whole cornish game hen with salt (maybe some other stuff) and dropping into the fryer, a la deep fried turkey. No flour or batter. You eat the chicken with salt mixes (I think the standard one is salt, pepper, chili powder, and sesame seed), pickled radish, and jalapeno (and plenty of soju).

                    Because it is not a fried chicken in the floured-and-fried sense, I don't think there is a double fry. I could be wrong on this point, but my gut says no.

                    Yang nyum tong dak is I think what Robert refers to, basically chicken pieces, floured (or battered), fried, and covered in a hot, sweet, sour sauce. Possible double fry, but something tells me a lot of places don't do this (like a lot of places don't do the two stage fry for potatos).

                    Re: Koko's v. OBBQCT, I haven't been to OBBQCT in more than a couple years, but when it first opened, I thought the chicken was comparable to Koko's. Maybe the tong dak is just as good at DSS, but I have a special Koko's bias =)

                    1. re: david de berkeley

                      Yes, I haven't had tong dak as good as Koko's. Somehow I thought it was rotisseried, then fried to order?

                      1. re: DezzerSF

                        Hmm, I'm pretty sure that the chicken was only fried, not rotisseried beforehand. Could be wrong, but I recall the ladies putting a couple uncooked chickens in the basket and dropping it in the oil.

                        I guess the two step method makes sense, in that you would rotisserie for moisture up front, fry for crsipiness at the end. On the other hand, it does not seem like it would take very long to fry a cornish game hen, so that you would be able to retain a lot of the moisture anyway. Interesting question.

                        1. re: david de berkeley

                          I"m sure it goes in raw. If they deep-fried a partially cooked whole bird, either the skin wouldn't get crisp and brown (which would defeat the purpose of frying it) or the meat would be overcooked.

                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                              Actually that's the method for a couple styles of Chinese fried chicken. The skin gets glossy smooth, brown and crunchy, but the meat is often overcooked for my taste.

              2. Dan Sang Sa is aka Porno Palace bar.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Mission

                  It's funny, I've been here twice now (as recent as last week!) for friends' birthdays, but I haven't had any of the food. I've only gone there to drink soju while the others ate. It's a pretty chill spot, but it can get crowded if you're with a large group.

                2. The other night we ordered the spicy fried chicken wings (described above), the spicy rice cakes "with everything" (which came with ramen, a hard-boiled egg, fish cakes, and potstickers -- though the potstickers seemed to be missing), and the "corn cheese". We saw the whole chicken on the menu, but weren't in the mood -- maybe next time.

                  I enjoyed the spicy chicken wings, though I found them to be excessively sticky (wish they gave us some moist towelettes!). I do think I prefer the soy sauce and garlic style of KFC, which I saw they also have on the menu here -- but I suspect might not be as good as OB Town's.

                  The rice cakes dish was tasty.

                  We ordered the "corn cheese" out of curiosity, since so many Yelpers had posted about it, both at this place and other soju bangs. As far as I can tell, there's no actual cheese in it at all. It's just kernels of corn (clearly the frozen variety) that they've cooked up with some sweetened condensed milk. So it's almost like a dessert. Sounds disgusting, but it was strangely addictive, and was a nice "cool" dish in contrast to the other spicy things we were eating.

                  All of it was sort of "low" food, but very comforting (though I'd never had any of it before) and great with a large bottle of cold OB Beer.

                  The place looks extremely sketchy from the outside, but we found the vibe inside to be quite pleasant, especially with the private booths. Wasn't really anybody else eating there at 6:30 when we went, though.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: abstractpoet

                    I was at Dan Sang Sa last night and loved it. We were considering the plain fried chicken wings, and the friendly waiter recommended we get the soy and garlic sauce on the side. The wings came deep brown and shatteringly crisp, hot out of the fryer. The sauce was so-so, compared to OBBQCT's, which in its hedonistic sweetness I find more addictive. But I was perfectly happy eating the wings plain. We also had beef and vegetables over rice in stone pot. This was perhaps even better than the wings, owing to a liberal dosing of oil throughout, which allowed the bottom of the rice to fry against the hot stone bowl surface. The mushrooms and zucchini and carrot shavings were savory with a hint of sweetness, and a fried egg topped it off. Really superb.

                  2. On National Fried Chicken Day, I met up with some friends at Dan Sung Sa, my first time here, for a quick and early dinner. At 5:55pm, the doors were open but the staff quickly told us that they were still setting up and would officially open at 6. No problem, we returned to the sidewalk and pondered these images.

                    As the first customers of the day, our order came out fast. The middle plate in the top row of banchan included slices of sausage. Cool, I could do my part for National Hot Dog Month as well.

                    Rice cakes (ddukbokki) with clear chewy noodles showed up first, drowned in a somewhat sweet ketchup-y tomato sauce. The sauce reminded of the red stuff on top of Taiwanese oyster pancakes that I dislike, and may be the reason that my dining companions were into it more than I.

                    Then a sizzling plate of kalbi (grilled beef short ribs), served LA-style with cross-cut bones. On my own, I probably would not have ordered kalbi at a non-barbecue specialist, but I’m glad we did. These were done beautifully with just the right amount of char, plenty of juiciness, beefy depth, and good balance of sweet, salt and savory. We theorized that being the first order of the day earned the kitchen’s full attention to grilling our food and not burning or drying out the ribs. (Wish I had a clearer photo than this one.)

                    And, finally, the oft-mentioned spicy chicken wings, battered and fried then doused with piquant red sauce. Both the drummettes and wing joints were included and some of the most gigantic pieces of wing we’d ever run across. Darker with more soy sauce influence in the spicy, sweet and sticky bath than other versions of yang nyeom tong dak, these also had more crunch to the outside and juicier flesh.

                    We were still the only customers in the house when we left after 7.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                      We've been the only customers in the house at 9. It tends to fill up after 10.

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        I can tell you that it felt odd to step into a soju bang which it's still light outside!