Most people know fried chicken as a beloved dish of the American South. However, Korea’s version of the crispy classic has been sweeping the chicken scene in recent years with its delectable sauces and refreshing pickled sides. Oriental BBQ Chicken Town (aka OBTOWN), located in Oakland along Telegraph and 61st Street, is a fun Korean pub that brings this aptly-hyped food craze to the East Bay. Beyond just chicken, the menu has its fair share of more traditional Korean dishes as well as alcoholic cocktails that complement its mouthwatering meats. After venturing to this bustling Korean fried chicken joint on multiple occasions with seasoned chicken-consuming undergrads, I have compiled a list of menu items that are among the favorites of OBTOWN regulars—myself included.

Gan Jang Chicken

"Gan jang" refers to soy sauce infused with garlic, a popular coating choice for the shop’s boneless fried chicken. The crispy shell that engulfs each piece of chicken absorbs the glaze immensely well, creating a tasty sensation reminiscent of roasted chicken steeped in marinade. It contains a hint of sweetness and for good reason: the savory taste of soy sauce becomes multi-dimensional, making this dish the perfect marriage of familiar and novel flavors. 

Yang Nyum Chicken

"Yang nyum," meaning "seasoned" in Korean, denotes a sweet and spicy sauce that is joined with crispy fried chicken to create a flavor combination that makes the taste buds tingle. To achieve this dual blend of sweet and spicy, red chili paste called gochujang is used alongside a sweet condiment like rice syrup or honey. This flavor profile is so intense and enticing that it's hard not to lick your fingers clean.

Spicy Rice Cakes

Chewy rice cakes swimming in a gochujang-based sauce are a staple in Korean street food. OBTOWN’s rendition cooks its rice cakes to optimal texture in a sauce that balances sugar with spice impeccably. A hard-boiled egg, fried dumplings, long strips of fish cake, and sliced cabbage provide delightful textural variety.

#SpoonTip: Add ramen—cooked to chewy perfection—for an even better dining experience.

Corn Cheese

Roasted corn kernels swirled into a sizzling pan of melted cheese checks all the boxes—from great taste to Instagram-worthy cheese pull photos. With the popping texture of corn kernels accenting the smoky creaminess of cheese, this menu item creates an irresistible mouthfeel that keeps customers coming back. It is the simplicity of this dish that makes it all the more delectable.


The sweetness and acidity of the sides that accompany every meal cleanse the palate in between mouthfuls of fried goodness. Bite-size cubes of pickled daikon radish and shredded cabbage salad drizzled with a sweet mayo-based dressing pair perfectly with heavier entrées. For those with low spice tolerance, fear not. The radish helps with alleviating spice, so you won't have to forgo another bite of that spicy chicken or rice cake.

#SpoonTip: Go during the shop’s lunch hours to enjoy a spread of more traditional Korean side dishes. Pan-fried meat patties, bean sprout salad, spiced garlic edamame, sautéed spam and chives, among others, grace the tabletop lineup.

The charm of this cozy Korean pub lies in more than just its addicting dishes. Furnished with TV screens projecting Korean music videos and wooden long tables with benches bathed in the dim warmth of string lights, the pub creates a fun ambience for customers to enjoy amidst their meal. Take a trip down to OBTOWN to experience the magic of the Korean fried chicken craze for yourself.