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Janelle Bitker

Where to Find the East Bay’s Most Succulent Chicken Wings

From Korean fried wings to wings drenched in Thai chili jam

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The East Bay may not seem like wings central at first, but the region is actually bursting with delicious options if you’re willing to stray away from the classic, hot sauce–drenched Buffalo variety. Instead, look for wings draped in Korean gochujang, Thai fish sauce, or Indian achar spice. In other words, the East Bay’s Asian wings tend to be its best wings, though there are also compelling options that draw on flavors from, say, Mexico, Afghanistan, and, of course, Nashville. Read on for 16 great wing spots in Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond, and beyond.

Looking for hot wings in SF? We got you.

A few of these restaurants offer seated, outdoor dining. However, their inclusion should not be taken as endorsement for sit-down dining, as there are still safety concerns. Studies indicate that COVID-19 infection rates are lower for outside activities, but the level of risk involved with outdoor dining is contingent on restaurants and their patrons following strict social distancing, face covering, and other safety guidelines.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Q's Halal Pizza

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12847 San Pablo Ave
Richmond, CA 94805
(510) 233-1920

Here’s a good rule of thumb: If a restaurant specializes in some non-Western take on pizza — if it serves Indian pizza or Mexican pizza, and so on — there’s a pretty good chance it also does a bang-up version of fried chicken wings. Take Q’s Halal Pizza, which serves some of the best pizza in Richmond, thanks in part to its kebab house–inspired topping combinations, like a pie with pepperoni, gyro meat, and red onions. But its succulent, well-seasoned wings are the real star, available in a spicy sauce-soaked version and, even better, one that’s just slathered with an intensely flavorful dry rub.

2. Gangnam Tofu Korean Cuisine

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11740 San Pablo Ave Suite C
El Cerrito, CA 94530
(510) 778-1144
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This El Cerrito mainstay excels in all forms of Korean fried chicken, from craggy, sauceless renditions that deliver an impressive crunch to soy-garlic popcorn chicken that’s nearly impossible to stop eating. It also serves wings — impeccably fried and available in spicy, sweet, and the sauceless “original” flavors.

Fried chicken topped with “Gangnam sauce” Noah Cho

3. Funky Elephant

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1313 Ninth Street #120
Berkeley, CA 94710
(510) 356-4855
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Funky Elephant’s so-called Party Wings do, indeed, taste like a party. Topped with fried Thai basil, these juicy, fish sauce–perfumed wings get tossed in an intensely spicy-sweet and funky chili jam. Non-spicy options are available for the kids (or for heat-sensitive adults).

Janelle Bitker

4. Bonchon

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2050 Berkeley Way
Berkeley, CA 94704
(510) 647-3714
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As Korea’s most famous stateside fried chicken chain, Bonchon serves double-fried wings brushed with spicy or soy garlic sauces. They’re sticky yet unusually light, and always come with pickled daikon on the side.

5. OB Town

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6101 Telegraph Ave
Oakland, CA 94609
(510) 595-5338
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Popular Korean pub OB Town offers several varieties of crunchy Korean fried chicken that will leave you with sticky fingers. For a change of pace, try the grilled wings, which are served under a blanket of gochujang-laced hot sauce.

6. Shiba Ramen

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5959 Shellmound St #10
Emeryville, CA 94608
(510) 985-8309
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The Emeryville Public Market food stall might be best known for its ramen, but its wings are secretly the restaurant’s must-order dish. A riff on Nagoya-style wings, Shiba’s crispy version comes coated in sesame seeds with a whisper of sweet soy sauce.

7. Rob Ben’s

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3627 San Pablo Ave
Emeryville, CA 94608
(510) 250-9636
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Oakland icon Marshawn Lynch’s Emeryville restaurant has a full menu of soul food classics, but given the NFL stars well-documented love of chicken wings, it should come as no surprise that they’d be a prominently featured menu item. These are plus-size Southern-style whole fried chicken wings, with the crunchy wing tips still attached — available as a four-, 10-, or even 20-piece dinner, hefty enough to satisfy the largest of appetites.

8. Hopscotch

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1915 San Pablo Ave
Oakland, CA 94612
(510) 788-6217
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Hopscotch’s buttermilk fried chicken is justifiably famous, but the Uptown hotspot also makes some tasty wings. These look like your typical, super-saucy Buffalo wings, served with a side of creamy blue cheese dressing — but they’re packed with umami thanks to spicy miso.

9. World Famous HotBoys

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1601 San Pablo Ave
Oakland, CA 94612

Best known for its scorching-hot Nashville hot chicken sandwiches, World Famous Hotboys also serves a whole slate of bone-in fried chicken, including whole wings that are especially large and succulent — and seasoned, of course, in the Nashville style, tossed in hot oil and spices to the heat level of your choosing.

10. Southern Cafe

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2000 MacArthur Blvd
Oakland, CA 94602
(510) 336-2013
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Southern Cafe’s Southern-style wings are all about the simple pleasures of craggy skin, juicy meat, and pure fatty flavor. During pre-pandemic times, the wings would be one of the quickest items to go during the restaurant’s popular all-you-can-eat Sunday brunch buffet.

11. Xingones at Fort Green

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736 Washington St
Oakland, CA 94607
(510) 593-2172
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Fried chicken and tacos — as well as fried chicken tacos — are the central themes at this popular permanent pop-up at the Fort Green sports bar in downtown Oakland. It’s also one of the city’s best spot for wings, which it serves in six different flavors: a crunchy dry-spice original as well as several saucier versions, from the sesame-seed-flecked El Koreana to the tolerance-testing Hella Hot.

12. Lucky Three Seven

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2868 Fruitvale Ave
Oakland, CA 94602
(510) 789-6343
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While East Oakland’s Lucky Three Seven is primarily a Filipino steam-table operation, it also fries up some fantastic chicken wings. Deemed the G-Fire Wings, they’re pleasingly crunchy with an assertive sweet soy sauce flavor.

13. Scends

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635 E 14th St
San Leandro, CA 94577
(510) 567-3955
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This classic soul food spot moved from Oakland to San Leandro in 2018, and regulars will tell you that not much has changed. The wings, in particular, remain extra-large, impeccably seasoned, and fried with the tips attached.

14. Maejoo

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185 Pelton Center Way
San Leandro, CA 94577
(510) 878-2756
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In past years, Maejoo built up a following for its homey Korean stews and barbecue dishes. Newly reopened during the pandemic, the restaurant now specializes almost exclusively in Korean fried chicken wings, which come in a fairly wild range of flavors — everything from Parmesan furikake to “cheddar-pixie dust.” Other snack-y menu items, like the cheesy bacon kimchi tater tots, keep to a similar theme.

15. Curry Pizza House - Dublin

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6599 Dublin Blvd ste g
Dublin, CA 94568
(925) 833-2400
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This Dublin strip mall spot brings Indian pizza to the Tri Valley suburbs — as well as seven different varieties of chicken wings, including many that feature Indian spice combinations. Yes, you can get your standard hot wings, but also fiery curry wings, wings marinated in a house-made achari sauce, and boneless tikka masala wings. Can’t decide? Get a 20-piece sampler platter with four different flavors of your choosing.

1. Q's Halal Pizza

12847 San Pablo Ave, Richmond, CA 94805

Here’s a good rule of thumb: If a restaurant specializes in some non-Western take on pizza — if it serves Indian pizza or Mexican pizza, and so on — there’s a pretty good chance it also does a bang-up version of fried chicken wings. Take Q’s Halal Pizza, which serves some of the best pizza in Richmond, thanks in part to its kebab house–inspired topping combinations, like a pie with pepperoni, gyro meat, and red onions. But its succulent, well-seasoned wings are the real star, available in a spicy sauce-soaked version and, even better, one that’s just slathered with an intensely flavorful dry rub.

12847 San Pablo Ave
Richmond, CA 94805

2. Gangnam Tofu Korean Cuisine

11740 San Pablo Ave Suite C, El Cerrito, CA 94530
Fried chicken topped with “Gangnam sauce” Noah Cho

This El Cerrito mainstay excels in all forms of Korean fried chicken, from craggy, sauceless renditions that deliver an impressive crunch to soy-garlic popcorn chicken that’s nearly impossible to stop eating. It also serves wings — impeccably fried and available in spicy, sweet, and the sauceless “original” flavors.

11740 San Pablo Ave Suite C
El Cerrito, CA 94530

3. Funky Elephant

1313 Ninth Street #120, Berkeley, CA 94710
Janelle Bitker

Funky Elephant’s so-called Party Wings do, indeed, taste like a party. Topped with fried Thai basil, these juicy, fish sauce–perfumed wings get tossed in an intensely spicy-sweet and funky chili jam. Non-spicy options are available for the kids (or for heat-sensitive adults).

1313 Ninth Street #120
Berkeley, CA 94710

4. Bonchon

2050 Berkeley Way, Berkeley, CA 94704

As Korea’s most famous stateside fried chicken chain, Bonchon serves double-fried wings brushed with spicy or soy garlic sauces. They’re sticky yet unusually light, and always come with pickled daikon on the side.

2050 Berkeley Way
Berkeley, CA 94704

5. OB Town

6101 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

Popular Korean pub OB Town offers several varieties of crunchy Korean fried chicken that will leave you with sticky fingers. For a change of pace, try the grilled wings, which are served under a blanket of gochujang-laced hot sauce.

6101 Telegraph Ave
Oakland, CA 94609

6. Shiba Ramen

5959 Shellmound St #10, Emeryville, CA 94608

The Emeryville Public Market food stall might be best known for its ramen, but its wings are secretly the restaurant’s must-order dish. A riff on Nagoya-style wings, Shiba’s crispy version comes coated in sesame seeds with a whisper of sweet soy sauce.

5959 Shellmound St #10
Emeryville, CA 94608

7. Rob Ben’s

3627 San Pablo Ave, Emeryville, CA 94608

Oakland icon Marshawn Lynch’s Emeryville restaurant has a full menu of soul food classics, but given the NFL stars well-documented love of chicken wings, it should come as no surprise that they’d be a prominently featured menu item. These are plus-size Southern-style whole fried chicken wings, with the crunchy wing tips still attached — available as a four-, 10-, or even 20-piece dinner, hefty enough to satisfy the largest of appetites.

3627 San Pablo Ave
Emeryville, CA 94608

8. Hopscotch

1915 San Pablo Ave, Oakland, CA 94612

Hopscotch’s buttermilk fried chicken is justifiably famous, but the Uptown hotspot also makes some tasty wings. These look like your typical, super-saucy Buffalo wings, served with a side of creamy blue cheese dressing — but they’re packed with umami thanks to spicy miso.

1915 San Pablo Ave
Oakland, CA 94612

9. World Famous HotBoys

1601 San Pablo Ave, Oakland, CA 94612

Best known for its scorching-hot Nashville hot chicken sandwiches, World Famous Hotboys also serves a whole slate of bone-in fried chicken, including whole wings that are especially large and succulent — and seasoned, of course, in the Nashville style, tossed in hot oil and spices to the heat level of your choosing.

1601 San Pablo Ave
Oakland, CA 94612

10. Southern Cafe

2000 MacArthur Blvd, Oakland, CA 94602

Southern Cafe’s Southern-style wings are all about the simple pleasures of craggy skin, juicy meat, and pure fatty flavor. During pre-pandemic times, the wings would be one of the quickest items to go during the restaurant’s popular all-you-can-eat Sunday brunch buffet.

2000 MacArthur Blvd
Oakland, CA 94602

11. Xingones at Fort Green

736 Washington St, Oakland, CA 94607

Fried chicken and tacos — as well as fried chicken tacos — are the central themes at this popular permanent pop-up at the Fort Green sports bar in downtown Oakland. It’s also one of the city’s best spot for wings, which it serves in six different flavors: a crunchy dry-spice original as well as several saucier versions, from the sesame-seed-flecked El Koreana to the tolerance-testing Hella Hot.

736 Washington St
Oakland, CA 94607

12. Lucky Three Seven

2868 Fruitvale Ave, Oakland, CA 94602

While East Oakland’s Lucky Three Seven is primarily a Filipino steam-table operation, it also fries up some fantastic chicken wings. Deemed the G-Fire Wings, they’re pleasingly crunchy with an assertive sweet soy sauce flavor.

2868 Fruitvale Ave
Oakland, CA 94602

13. Scends

635 E 14th St, San Leandro, CA 94577

This classic soul food spot moved from Oakland to San Leandro in 2018, and regulars will tell you that not much has changed. The wings, in particular, remain extra-large, impeccably seasoned, and fried with the tips attached.

635 E 14th St
San Leandro, CA 94577

14. Maejoo

185 Pelton Center Way, San Leandro, CA 94577

In past years, Maejoo built up a following for its homey Korean stews and barbecue dishes. Newly reopened during the pandemic, the restaurant now specializes almost exclusively in Korean fried chicken wings, which come in a fairly wild range of flavors — everything from Parmesan furikake to “cheddar-pixie dust.” Other snack-y menu items, like the cheesy bacon kimchi tater tots, keep to a similar theme.

185 Pelton Center Way
San Leandro, CA 94577

15. Curry Pizza House - Dublin

6599 Dublin Blvd ste g, Dublin, CA 94568

This Dublin strip mall spot brings Indian pizza to the Tri Valley suburbs — as well as seven different varieties of chicken wings, including many that feature Indian spice combinations. Yes, you can get your standard hot wings, but also fiery curry wings, wings marinated in a house-made achari sauce, and boneless tikka masala wings. Can’t decide? Get a 20-piece sampler platter with four different flavors of your choosing.

6599 Dublin Blvd ste g
Dublin, CA 94568

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