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Apr 2, 2010 06:05 PM

Chowhounders, we need you! (esp. East Bay)

Hello SF Bay Area!

My husband and I are moving to Oakland (where I grew up), after 10+ years of living in LA. My husband is Korean and I'm Chinese. We dine most nights in LA's sprawling Koreatown, and spend weekends eating Chinese food is the San Gabriel Valley. We desperately and quickly need to find our regular go-to Oakland/Emeryville/Berkeley, mom-and-pop, "ethnic" food joints.

Any asian recs would be greatly appreciated, as would Mexican, Mediterranean, Jamaican, etc. I've been promising my husband good food, please help me prove to him that we can eat as well in the Bay Area is we do in LA.

And if you have recs that we should try that would take us out of the East Bay, those are more than welcome as well.

Thanks so much for the jumpstart.

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  1. You can find lots of Korean options on Telegraph Ave. in Oakland, our modest Koreatown. When Korean-American friends come to visit, we always go to Sahnmaru, 4315 Telegraph. Try the black goat with sesame leaf stew.

    There are lots of Korean restaurants starting in mid-town on Telegraph and up to around 45th St. There's also a Korean grocery store around 29th.Our Koreatown is not as big as LA's Koreatown, but I'm sure your husband will find some good comfort food here.

    As you know, Oakland has its Chinatown downtown, but my neighbor who grew up in China likes Sichuan Fusion in the Ranch 99 Asian Market complex (3288 Pierce St., Richmond) best and says it's the most authentic she's had here.

    There are other Chinese restaurants at Ranch 99, plus take-out options in the market itself. For dim sum, I like Daimo ( in the Ranch 99 parking lot. They make their dim sum to order, so it's hot and fresh. Also try the Shanghai style dumplings and the noodle dishes.

    Welcome to the neighborhood!

    1. my favorite Korean is Ohgane, though I'm not sure how it compares to L.A. places (used to live there but never really tried Korean until I got here.)
      In Oakland's Fruitvale district you'll find tons of Mexican. In San Francisco, you can explore the Mission District (easily accessible by Bart - 16th St. & 24th St. stations) for more Mexican options, although there are not a lot of mexican "restaurants" in the City that compare with L.A.'s - they are more like taquerias. But there is a great Mayan restaurant, called Poc Chuc, and there are plenty of Salvadoran and Nicaraguan restaurants. I don't know enough about Chinese food to even venture a suggestion. You should also try Burmese food, which is available in San Francisco and in Alameda. I don't think Thai food is better here than in L.A. But overall, having lived in L.A., you will be very happy to find there is very good food here, in abundance - and if you ever go for higher-end type fare, I think the food is much better here.

      3915 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94611

      Poc Chuc
      2886 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

      1. For Chinese food in Oakland Chinatown, I like Shan Dong for awesome pork and vegetable buns, dumplings, and knife-cut noodles. Gum Wah is a great hole in the wall for roast duck wonton noodle soup (they also have good BBQ meats generally and do more than serviceable "Chinese tamales" during the season). Chef Lau's is my go-to spot for inexpensive but solid Cantonese.

        For dim sum, we go to East Ocean, in Alameda. Good and very consistent, if not mind-blowing.

        In Berkeley, there's Great China, which is run by Korean Chinese and is perhaps most well known for its Peking duck, which is amazing. Many threads here where 'hounds give suggestions for other dishes at Great China as well.

        In addition to the Korean places already mentioned, there are also a number of soju bang / Korean fried chicken joints that serve comforting (if unsophisticated fare). Oriental BBQ Chicken Town (OB Town, for short) and Dan Sung Sa are two to check out. My favorite sit-down place is Sura, which is on Telegraph as well.

        Best Thai food in the East Bay is Chai Thai. Champa Garden is noteworthy for Laotian.

        Champa Garden
        2102 8th Ave, Oakland, CA 94606

        4869 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

        Shan Dong Mandarin Restaurant
        328 10th St, Oakland, CA 94607

        Chef Lau's
        301 8th St, Oakland, CA 94607

        Great China Restaurant
        2115 Kittredge St, Berkeley, CA 94704

        Dan Sung Sa
        2775 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

        Gum Wah
        345 8th St, Oakland, CA 94607

        Chai Thai Noodles
        545 B International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94606

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

        1. Dim sum and Cantonese: Asian Pearl in Richmond
          Laotian: Green Papaya Deli in Oakland and That Luang in San Pablo
          Soon tofu: Pyungchang Tofu House

          Green Papaya Deli
          207 International Blvd (at 2nd ave, Oakland, CA

          Asian Pearl
          3288 Pierce St, Richmond, CA 94804

          1. Also, for Jamaican, I like Flavah Island Cafe in Berkeley. Great ackee and codfish, excellent braised oxtail, and the best house-brewed ginger beer I've ever had.

            Flavah Island Cafe
            2057 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA 94702

            1 Reply
            1. re: abstractpoet

              I haven't tried Flavah Island yet so I can't compare but I really like the oxtail and the jerk chicken at Yardie Jerk on San Pablo.

              Sketchy neighborhood and little ambiance but the food is really good.

              Yardie Jerk
              3301 San Pablo Ave, Oakland, CA 94608