As a child, Oakland was all about fairies and deep-dish pizza. As a grown woman, it’s less about folklore and more about the food.
And oh what a glorious food landscape it is!
Oakland may not have the hyped food scene of its neighbor across the Bay, but it is quickly building its own momentum. It is one of the most diverse cities in the U.S. and this translates to an endless variety of delicious food.
Here are some of my most memorable food experiences so far.
Friday Market in Old Oakland
This is one of my favorite farmer’s markets in the Bay. The produce is fresh and cheap, and there are plenty of food booths selling everything from tamales to homemade baked goods that serve as the perfect shopping fuel. The backdrop of the market is no dud either with the beautiful historic homes and tree-lined streets that make me nostalgic for my time in Boston. After I do my shopping, I like to sit in the center of the market with a homemade poptart (or two), listen to the live music and watch the mix of hipsters, businessman and Asian grandmas make their weekly purchases.
Brunch at Grand Lake
Let me preface this by saying: I’m usually adverse to brunch. The long lines, the overload of carbs that immediately makes me want to take a Rip Van Winkle-like nap afterwards and trying to justify the fact that waffles cost $15. That being said, if a friend is in town, I will gladly brave the brunch crowd in their honor. Especially if it’s a midday meal at Grand Lake Kitchen and that meal involves smoked salmon. Or their savory french toast. Honesty, you could close your eyes and point at anything and it would be divine.
Egg Tarts in Chinatown
I’ve mentioned my love for Chinese pastries before, where some clearly rank higher than others. Growing up amid Chinese bakeries, I’ve had my fair share of egg tarts and they are not all created equal. The egg tarts at Ruby King Bakery have the ideal ratio of flaky crust and creamy custard filling. It was love at first bite.
Tacos in Temescal
I’m currently in the midst of a very serious search for the best tacos in the East Bay and Chorita Linda’s fish tacos are pretty high on the list. They also have a spicy tofu that sounds a little weird, but it’s crazy good. I always get the aqua fresca (blackberry lime!) to wash it all down. Be forewarned that their tacos may seem small, but they sneak up on you.
Pre-Made Goodies in Koreatown
A good substitute for my favorite Korean market in SF, this huge market has everything my Korean-food obsessed taste buds desire. Giant vats of kimchee, an aisle dedicated to dry noodles and best of all a prepare food section with my beloved kimbap. It can get a bit crazy in there during peak hours, but the chaos is part of the experience. This isn’t Whole Foods after all.
Have you been to Oakland? What are your favorite places to eat? I would love recommendations!