Talk of the Town: What do you love about Oakland’s food culture?

Note: Talk of the Town highlights Oakland residents talking about the Town (aka the city of Oakland).

Oakland is central to the Bay Area’s food culture – and is shaped by immigration and the ever changing socio-economic landscape. 

I asked Oakland natives, newcomers, and other Bay Area residents: “What do you love about Oakland food culture?”

Annie Vasishta

-Annie Vasishta, West Oakland 

From swapping food truck finds, pho the morning-after in Chinatown, taco trucks at any hour, to conversing about the changing landscape that is Oakland with local bartenders — I find myself always connecting, learning & finding joy with food & friends in the best town on this planet. 

-Annie Vasishta, West Oakland 

Sharon Wong

Sharon Wong

What I love about Oakland’s food culture is the variety! There are representative foods from around the world, and they’re authentic, delicious representatives! 

-Sharon Wong, San Francisco, frequent Oakland foodie traveler

Matt Griffin

I like Oakland’s food culture because everything is diverse. There are a lot of things I never thought I would try until I moved out here. It’s like Oakland opens you up to try new things. 

-Matt Griffin, West Oakland newcomer, by way of Louisiana 

Ciara Swan

Ciara Swan, East Oakland native, currently in Stockton

My favorite thing about Oakland’s food culture is the innovation with traditional dishes. Oakland is home to diverse groups and as a consumer, I am greeted with the familiarity of other cultures in any dish. If I’m craving soul food I can hit up Brenda’s, for brunch food-District, and for middle eastern- Shawarmaji. The possibilities are endless!

-Ciara Swan, East Oakland native, currently in Stockton

“What do you love about Oakland food culture?”

Share your thoughts and favorite spots in the comments.


Tyla is part of the Oakland Voices 2021 class of Community Correspondents. Talk of the Town highlights the voices of Oakland residents and Bay Area residents’ experiences in Oakland.

About Tyla Brown

Tyla Brown is an East Oakland native with an innate interest in systems, culture, people, and food. With a background in Political Science and UX Design, she combines policy and design to help organizations reimagine systems and design equitable programs. In her free time, Tyla has traveled to places like Belize, New Orleans, and Egypt to study Pan-African culinary traditions and write about them in her food blog. In all of her pursuits, she is energized by the opportunity to elevate the voices of others, and a hope to raise her daughter in a decolonial, equitable world. View all posts by Tyla Brown →

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