One thing I learned very quickly in my first semester at Cal was that many UC Berkeley students are from Southern California. This fact was particularly comforting, because as I grew increasingly homesick for my favorite SoCal eats that I once took for granted, I had an army of fellow SoCal residents that could grieve with me.
Berkeley may have some deliciously authentic Indian and Thai food, but there are just some foods that cannot match up to SoCal standards. Here are 3 cuisines that I always have to eat when I go home for breaks because I know I won’t have a taste of them for several months to come.
1. Korean food
As a Korean-American who has lived in Southern California her entire life, I have been spoiled with an overabundance of legit Korean cuisine in Orange County and Koreatown. I had always heard about the dire lack of Korean food in Berkeley and Northern California, but could not believe it until I actually moved up here. Where was all the Korean food? And Korean supermarkets?! Although Oakland is thankfully only a bus ride away, nothing compares to the plethora of authentic Korean food in SoCal. My fellow Koreans from OC or LA County, hang in there — summer break is just around the corner.
2. Phở — like real phở
One of the go-to phở spots in Berkeley is Phở K & K on Telegraph. While their phở is not bad by any means, my taste buds couldn’t be satisfied because I had grown accustomed to eating phở in Westminster, a city that is home to one of the largest Vietnamese communities in the US.
3. Mexican food
It’s no doubt that SoCal has some of the best Mexican food, and I found myself missing its artfully mastered carne asada fries. Whenever I’m feeling Mexican food in Berkeley, I always head to La Burrita. Still, nothing can compare to the Mexican food that SoCal just does oh, so right.
Now don’t get me wrong — Berkeley has distinctly amazing food places of its own, like Cheese Board Pizza, Philz Coffee, and many other 1,000+ Yelp-reviewed establishments. This is just simply a SoCal girl at heart missing the good foods back home.
Ironically, I always find myself craving Berkeley eats when I’m home during breaks, such as Artichoke Basille’s Pizza, Thai Basil, Brazil Fresh Squeeze Café, and KoJa Kitchen. I guess this goes to show that the grass is always greener on the other side.