Best Seat In The House: Dan Sung Sa, Oakland
Chef Tu David Phu reveals his go-to for Korean fried chicken and soju.
May 9, 2019 ● 2 min read
By Richie Nakano | Photo via Dan Sung Sa
Chef Tu David Phu’s "can’t stop, won’t stop" approach to his career, rooted in an unflappable work ethic he attributes to his mama, landed him on the SF Chronicle’s "Rising Stars 2017" list, and in that same year he competed on Season 15 of Top Chef. Things have only ramped up for him since then. Between consulting gigs and his pop-ups in the East Bay, Phu usually wraps up his workday between 10pm and Midnight, when most kitchens are closing. Luckily, he’s got a go-to spot for after-hours sustenance and drinks: Dan Sung Sa in Oakland.
What the vibe is:
“I love Dan Sung Sa sbecause it doesn’t look like a restaurant. Outside it has this super sketchy underground strip club kind of vibe, and often times when you show up there you can’t even tell if it’s open. But then you open the front door and you’re in this super cool Korean restaurant that just happens to not have any windows. There’s graffiti everywhere, and it has a hardcore Oakland Bay Area kind of vibe. Spaces like this are hard to find. It’s engulfed with hip-hop vibes and feels super welcoming to me.”
What to order:
“The Korean chicken wings are smothered in spicy sauce, and they’re super crunchy. All of the portions are huge. Having grown up broke, I always gravitated towards places with big portions, and if you get food that’s actually good, it’s even better. I like that you can go in a big group, and that it’s not pretentious,” Phu says.
Where to sit:
“All of the tables are big booths and they feel private, with high backs, kind of like a karaoke bar. It’s super dope.”
What to drink:
“Their Soju selection is solid, and if you’re an industry person it’s a great place to get a drink after service.”
When to go:
“They’re open until 2am, and being in the industry those late hours are important. I like to eat late, like 9 or 10, or even later if I’m working.”