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Best dduk bokki in the East Bay?

So my sister, a lover of Korean food, is coming to visit from the East Coast and, having fond memories of the meal we enjoyed at Sura the last time she came, she has put in a request for a restaurant with good dduk bokki (spicy rice cakes). Any recommendations in the East Bay?

I saw a couple mentions of Cafe Espresso Experience in Berkeley, which seems like it might be a decent place to grab lunch -- bulgolgi sandwich + dduk bokki sounds like a winning combo.

But what about the usual contenders -- Ohgane, Sura, Sahn Maru. Do any of these serve up a credible version? Or is there another restaurant that would be better? Ideally, it would be someplace where the rest of the food is strong as well.

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Ohgane
3915 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94611

Cafe Espresso
2440 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, CA 94704

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  1. Oriental BBQ Chicken Town serves dduk bokki with cchol myun (chewy noodles) if that matters to you. I tried it at Ohgane's lunch buffet but don't remember liking it. Sahn Maru's was pretty good.

    You're more likely to find this dish at one of the Korean bar/restaurants like Kang Tong Degi (good) and Dang Sung Sa (haven't tried).

    I think the best I've had in the area is at Arang in SF, which will also serve it with cchol myun. Coco Bang's is good too. Playground's version was only okay.

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    Ohgane
    3915 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94611

    Kang Tong Degi
    3702 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

    Arang
    1506 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94115

    7 Replies
    1. re: DezzerSF

      Hmm, I do like the KFC at Oriental BBQ Chicken Town, and I've been meaning to try Dang Sung Sa's fried chicken too, so those seem like good options. How did you like the version at OB Town, DezzerSF?

      (I can't recall if I've even had dduk bokki before, so I'm deferring to the opinion of the 'hounds, at least until I have a chance to try a couple renditions myself.)

      1. re: abstractpoet

        OB's sauce was a tad too sweet, and they didn't add any onions or scallions to it, which was odd.

        I'd give Dan Sung Sa a shot. If you go, let us know if they have "Tong Dak", a chicken fried whole.

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        Dan Sung Sa
        2775 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

        1. re: DezzerSF

          I hope you report back as I'm a huge fan of dduk bokki. We don't really hang out at bars so not sure we'll hit up Oriental BBQ, Sang Sung Sa or Kang Tong Deigi, but will definitely look for it the next time we're at Sahn Maru. The version they sell to go at Koreana Plaza is terrible.

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          Koreana Plaza
          2328 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA

          1. re: cvhound

            FWIW, I didn't find the vibe at OB Town to be overly bar-like at all, at least if you go earlier in the evening -- there's plenty of table seating, and at like 6:00 pm you're likely to be one of the only customers in the whole restaurant. I can imagine that it might get a bit rowdier by like 9:00 or 10:00.

            I'll probably try to bring my sister to Dan Sung Sa, and in the meantime if I see dduk bokki on the menu elsewhere, I'm sure we'll give it shot either way!

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            Dan Sung Sa
            2775 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

            1. re: cvhound

              Just about any Korean restaurant will make it for you, but overall, restaurants don't put too much effort into it. It's just not their type of food... in Korea, you don't go to a restaurant for dduk bokki.

              Dduk Bokki is street and bar food. Get to a soju-bang/bar-restaurant. Porno Bar serves the best in Oakland. Get the largest plate that has EVERYTHING in it. Ramen noodles + hard boiled egg + fish cake + mandu.

              Venture out if you like good food. Don't hang out in bars? There's probably some asian fusion restaurant at Disneyland.

              1. re: Jumbo_Jack

                By Porno Bar you mean Dan Sung Sa, right?

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                Dan Sung Sa
                2775 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  I believe so, it's also known as Porno Palace.

      2. I thought Ohgane's was good but I'm no connoisseur. Generally I think they do the best job with spicy dishes.

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        Ohgane
        3915 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94611

        1. Ohgane's had it at their lunch buffet the last couple of times I've been there.

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          Ohgane
          3915 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94611

          1. A couple nights ago we had the dduk bokki "with everything" at Dan Sung Sa. $14.99. Came with ramen noodles, slices of fish cake, and hard-boiled egg, along with the rice cakes -- no pot stickers, though I think it was supposed to have those too.

            This was the first version I've had, so I don't have anything to compare it to, but I found the dish enjoyable. Liked the texture of the rice cakes and thought the sauce was tasty -- a hint of sweetness, but not excessively so. Went great with lots of cold OB beer.

            My 18-year-old sis enjoyed the vibe (all the movie posters, etc.) and especially got a kick out of the Korean hip hop they played all night (she's a fan).

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            Dan Sung Sa
            2775 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609