Snack Parade

Story and Illustration by Bri James

Can’t decide between pizza and poke? Koobideh or karaage? With a choose-your-own-adventure at these East Bay food halls, there’s no need. In our house, we call this sort of eating—where you get to share a little of a lot—a snack parade. So, grab a few of your favorite people and fret not about having to choose what to eat. Here’s a way to enjoy it all.


538 9th St, Oakland |

Established in 1917, Swan’s Tenth Street Market remained a vibrant community hub until its closure in 1984. After standing vacant for 15 years, the space was purchased in 1998 by East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation and restored to its current form, which now houses a dozen places to wine and dine (or lunch and breakfast).

To start: A half-dozen oysters from The Cook and Her Farmer or sopes from La Guerrera’s Kitchen    To drink: Vietnamese iced coffee from Souvenir Coffee Co. or something fresh-pressed from Planet Squeeze    To follow: Jerk Chicken Plate from T’Chaka or Tonkatsu Curry from Dela Curo Curry    To finish: A mini cupcake (or two) from Cupcakin’    To take home: Breakfast sausage from Taylor’s Sausage


1511 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley |

The aptly named Epicurious Garden brands itself a gourmet take-out destination inviting diners to enjoy al fresco eats in the hidden garden oasis that abuts the building where a half-dozen vendors serve up a full range of sweets and savories.

To start: Squid ink naan with a trio of sauces or curry deviled eggs from Tigerlily    To drink: Horchata or agua fresca from Mexicana To follow: Breakfast for lunch at Eggy’s Neighborhood Kitchen or the koobideh kebob plate from Darband    To finish: Take a jaunt around the corner for a cupcake at Love at First Bite


5959 Shellmound St, Emeryville |

Despite numerous iterations, ownership transitions, and disappearance of some long-time favorites, the Emeryville Public Market continues on, now with 18 unique eateries.

  To start: Arancini from Pizzeria Mercato or empanadas from Peruvian Paradita Eatery    To drink: Hong Kong Milk Tea from Baby Cafe or a mango lassi from Konarq    To follow: Baby back ribs and all the fixings from Pig in a Pickle or the Octopus Salad from Jayna Gyro    To finish: A chocolate-dipped cone or seasonal shake from Super Duper Burgers


18911 Lake Chabot Rd, Castro Valley |

Tucked just off the main drag with sunny outdoor seating and ample parking, the Lake Chabot Public Market is the perfect beginning, end, or midpoint to any day out.

 To start: Chicken karaage or takoyaki from Shumi Ramen    To follow: Bulgogi cheesesteak from Mama Cho’s BBQ or a poke bowl (with salmon, hamachi, albacore, shrimp, and scallops) from Poke Go    To finish: a scoop of Strawberry Poptart or Thai Tea Cookie Dough ice cream from Milk and Cookie Bar ♦


CREATE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE at other East Bay food halls like Alameda Marketplace, Castro Valley Marketplace, and Pleasanton’s Pacific Food Hall. Post with #eastbayfoodhallsnackparade to let us know what you loved.


Bri James is an illustrator who writes food stories and children’s literature. When she’s not filling up a notebook, you can find her in the garden or doing (sometimes unintentional) science experiments with her toddler. Drop Bri a line at