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April 25, 2007 2:31 PM   Subscribe

What's the deal with Jews and Chinese food? Just one gem from Jesse Brown, a legendary and entertaining contributor to CBC radio, print, and other media. Here's another one. Okay, one more. Did I mention he's the 121st Greatest Canadian of all Time?
posted by Turtles all the way down (48 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Am I supposed to respond with
1) outrage ("Maple-sucking Imus-clone!"),
or
2) adulation ("Tell it like it is, bro!").
Please advise.
posted by Dizzy at 2:40 PM on April 25, 2007


"His sweet and sour sauce be on us, and on our children!"

Matthew-San 27:25
posted by phaedon at 2:54 PM on April 25, 2007


I've seen at least 2 restaurants, in separate cities, called Shalom Hunan.
posted by chimaera at 2:55 PM on April 25, 2007


Ahhhh, the first sentence alone just reminded me of a favorite restaurant from my past... Chow's Kosherama Deli. It was within lunchtime driving distance from my job in Burbank in '87. I can't remember which came first (Chow or Kosherama), but if I recall... first there was a restaurant called The Kosherama. It was popular but it was bought out and turned into Chow's Chinese Restaurant. People kept coming in there lamenting the end of the first restaurant though. So the owner got the old recipes from the previous owner and they combined the two menus. And thus was born Chow's Kosherama. Served walnut chicken as well as tongue on rye. Went out of business in the early 90s I think. RIP.
posted by miss lynnster at 2:57 PM on April 25, 2007


I was expecting some sort of Jackie Mason "Let ME tell YOU about JEWS and Chinese FOOD! OY!" but that was actually great. Thanks.
posted by gwint at 3:00 PM on April 25, 2007


I just googled 'chinese jdate' and got a decent of number of hits.
posted by phaedon at 3:01 PM on April 25, 2007


Man, I didn't think anything could be drier than NPR, but...
posted by Ogre Lawless at 3:04 PM on April 25, 2007


I've seen at least 2 restaurants, in separate cities, called Shalom Hunan.

'Genghis Cohen' is a common one, too.
posted by Asparagirl at 3:11 PM on April 25, 2007


Ahh, safe treyf.
posted by porpoise at 3:13 PM on April 25, 2007


Am I supposed to respond with
1) outrage ("Maple-sucking Imus-clone!"),
or
2) adulation ("Tell it like it is, bro!").
Please advise.


Are you Jewish. Or. Are you a raving Chinese anti-Semite?

Or do you fear the unstoppable white juggernaut of Canadian cultural imperialism?

There are a number of ways to over-react to this one.

To play it safe you may want to burn the Canadian flag and throw stale bagels through the window of the Chinese Embassy cafeteria.
posted by tkchrist at 3:17 PM on April 25, 2007


tkchrist: you are a stone-cold killah. And my hoser brotha fo' life. Peace and love.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 3:19 PM on April 25, 2007


There's a Glatt Kosher restaurant a couple of blocks from my house. But then again my town is nicknamed "The Garden City" because there's a Rosenblum on every corner.
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:26 PM on April 25, 2007


Some of my best friends are stale bagels.
posted by Dizzy at 3:26 PM on April 25, 2007


Wait a minute: your mom pays you to give her backrubs?

Whooza whatnow?

Anyway, I thought this was great, very very TAL
posted by Deathalicious at 3:46 PM on April 25, 2007


I've never understood this fascination with an alleged link between Jews and Chinese food. EVERY small town in the US (and Canada) has a Chinese resto. Big cities have more. Chinese restos serve non-Chinese customers with a, um, vernacular version of what can only be very, very loosely called "Chinese food." Jews are no different from any ethnic group- at least, not any different from any urban ethnic group. There are Chinese restos sprinkled throughout black and Hispanic neighbourhoods, in the Polish/Mexican/"hillbilly" area I grew up in in NW Indiana... the fact that Jews like Chinese food is no different, and no more demanding of analysis, than the fact that "everybody" likes "Chinese food."

Jewish culture is discursive, scholarly, literate, and very much (in good and bad ways) fascinated with itself. I wish the author had noticed that there are Halal Chinese restos too, but I've not seen, and won't likely see, a lot of introspection on why Muslims love Chinese food. They do, but most don't bother writing about it.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 3:46 PM on April 25, 2007


As a jew who's spent every Christmas Eve at a Chinese restaurant, I find this very unsurprising. At least 75% of the takeout menus in my home are Asian-related.
posted by ninjew at 4:06 PM on April 25, 2007


What's with Comp Sci majors and Chinese food. HMM?
posted by delmoi at 4:20 PM on April 25, 2007


What's up with emo fans and anorexia? Ah yes, emorexia.
posted by phaedon at 4:28 PM on April 25, 2007


ethnomethodologist,
Why do you abbreviate the word restaurant but not other even longer words like introspection (introsp) or neighborhood (neigh)?

Around my way the stereotype was that Jews went and got Chinese food on Christmas and this started because Chinese restaurants were open on Christmas, because Chinese people, like the Jews do not give a shit about Christmas.
posted by Divine_Wino at 4:31 PM on April 25, 2007


some of my best friends are Chinese
posted by Postroad at 4:37 PM on April 25, 2007


I wish the author had noticed that there are Halal Chinese restos too

I hope you didn't mean me, dude, because that is way beyond the energies I would expend for a post. I just thought Jesse Brown was funny and worth sharing...
posted by Turtles all the way down at 4:42 PM on April 25, 2007


Any author of a sentence beginning Jewish culture is had better be prepared for some disputation, ethnomethodologist.

As it happens, I find your ignorance on this question substantial, but most likely harmless. Next time, though, do me a favor and ask an actual hebe? Any one of us'll tell you of our longstanding affinity for Chinese food.
posted by adamgreenfield at 5:02 PM on April 25, 2007


the fact that Jews like Chinese food is no different, and no more demanding of analysis, than the fact that "everybody" likes "Chinese food."

Yeah, even I like Chinese food. On the other hand, I am Jewish.

Hmmm, the plot thickens.
posted by grouse at 5:19 PM on April 25, 2007


"Hey! You've got MATZO on my KUNG PAO!"

"Well, you've got KUNG PAO on my MATZO!"

"Hao Chi!"

"Oy! This is freakin' geshmak!"

posted by miss lynnster at 5:27 PM on April 25, 2007


[Not fond of Chinese food. Not Jewish.]
posted by miss lynnster at 5:28 PM on April 25, 2007


[Not fond of Chinese food. Not Jewish.]

ditto. Thesis proved. QED.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 5:34 PM on April 25, 2007


Jewish culture is discursive, scholarly, literate, and very much (in good and bad ways) fascinated with itself.

They also like Chinese food.
posted by jason's_planet at 5:41 PM on April 25, 2007


. . .maybe b/c of the Jewish-Shanghai connection?
posted by j-urb at 5:46 PM on April 25, 2007


Ogre Lawless: "Man, I didn't think anything could be drier than NPR, but..."

Dude, both this and NPR are sweet and wonderful things as far as I can see.
posted by MrBobaFett at 5:59 PM on April 25, 2007




I figured everyone likes Chinese food, at least in North America. There are so many of these restaurants in the area I live, even though there is no significant demographic with Chinese ancestry here (the biggest local demographic are French Canadian Roman Catholics.)

The popularity of this food is due in large part on the willingness of those operating these restaurants to cater to local tastes and preferences, resulting in massive popularity but also in a bastardization of the original Chinese cuisine.
posted by bhouston at 7:26 PM on April 25, 2007


Some years ago, I fact-checked Jesse Brown's articles. Does that make me a fact-checker to the legendary?
posted by bicyclefish at 7:46 PM on April 25, 2007


I prefer thai food or japanese food. To me, Chinese food is bland. Dripping with too much oyster/fish sauce. Too many overcooked veggies. Too much msg. Too many fried noodles. Not enough yummy spices. I like my veggies crunchy & fresh, not soft & drowning in sauce.

Chinese food tries so very hard, but doesn't give me enough natural flavor that I want. That probably makes no sense to anyone but me.
posted by miss lynnster at 7:49 PM on April 25, 2007


Oh and no one mentions that it's CHEAP?
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 7:58 PM on April 25, 2007


OMG, the elephant in the room, I can't believe AV went there....
posted by rob511 at 8:25 PM on April 25, 2007


HI I'M ON METAFILTER AND I COULD OVERTHINK A PLATE OF GENERAL TSO'S CHICKEN.
posted by gwint at 8:28 PM on April 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


The video game story was terrible. Such a wonderful premise, such hack execution.
posted by voltairemodern at 8:28 PM on April 25, 2007


Jewish culture is discursive, scholarly, literate, and very much (in good and bad ways) fascinated with itself.

With Blood-of-Baby-Christians, you get eggroll. Twenty Minutes. Okay. Bye-bye.
posted by horsewithnoname at 8:35 PM on April 25, 2007


I prefer thai food or japanese food. To me, Chinese food is bland. Dripping with too much oyster/fish sauce. Too many overcooked veggies. Too much msg. Too many fried noodles. Not enough yummy spices. I like my veggies crunchy & fresh, not soft & drowning in sauce.

Totally agree. Thinking back, I only really liked "Chinese food" till I started eating other Asian food. Then I never went back and never wanted to go back. Of course, as others have said, real Chinese food is nothing like this. But authentic Thai and Japanese food can be had all over North America and it's damn good.

now, what's this about a comic?
posted by dreamsign at 1:12 AM on April 26, 2007


Fond of Chinese food. Not Jewish.

Then again, I'm Chinese.

Sheriously, folks, of the Jewish people I know in my life, they have all, at some point, marvelled to me about the wonders of Chinese food. Even more so than the rest of the populace. And I face the dilemma of whether to tell them that what they term Chinese food erm... isn't really that Chinese.
posted by electriccynic at 1:59 AM on April 26, 2007


It shitted the garbo that the bikie chucked his bikkie outside the resto.

I love Australianisms. Even if 'resto' wasn't (I've never heard that one before, unlike the others).

What were we talking about again?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:04 AM on April 26, 2007


Fond of Chinese food. Not Jewish... Then again, I'm Chinese.

But the question is: do you like Jewish food?

I only really liked "Chinese food" till I started eating other Asian food. Then I never went back and never wanted to go back. Of course, as others have said, real Chinese food is nothing like this.

Living in Europe, I really miss Chinese-American food. And Italian-American food. So what if they aren't really "Chinese" or "Italian?" Still good food in my opinion. Authenticity does not equal taste.
posted by grouse at 3:58 AM on April 26, 2007


Pikesville is a suburb northwest of Baltimore City, long known for its large Jewish population, including many Russian immigrants. One of the best and most popular restaurants in Pikesville is the venerable Mr. Chan's, a nicely appointed and inexpensive American Chinese restaurant with a vegetarian-friendly menu.

Mr. Chan's closes for only two holidays out of the year: Passover and Yom Kippur.

If you stand outside Mr. Chan's and look across Reisterstown Road, you will see Suburban House, another popular and long-running Pikesville institution. Suburban House, though not kosher, is a classic Jewish delicatessen, serving up knishes, blintzes, potato pancakes and outstanding matzo ball soup.

Suburban House does not close during Passover.
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:06 AM on April 26, 2007


As I understand it, the Chinese were the only other non-Christian people to own restaurants. All others closed on Sunday and Christian holidays. Thus began the tradition of Jews eating Chinese food on Sundays.

Also, it is quipped that the Chinese are the only people who have never persecuted the Jews.
posted by zorro astor at 9:26 AM on April 26, 2007


Gevalt. This type of shit is on, like, the Allan Sherman records I listened to in my grandparents' basement when I was a little kid. They were and are hilarious, but c'mon. Again with the Chinese food?

::Thinks about making Allan Sherman FPP::
posted by kosem at 9:37 AM on April 26, 2007


Well, for what it's worth, Chinese food can be good for Christian holidays too.
posted by miss lynnster at 9:47 AM on April 26, 2007


Again with the Chinese food?

Yeah, that was my reaction too, but it was redeemed at the end by the story of the rabbi who only eats at kosher Chinese places—you will sometimes see him in non-kosher ones, but that's because he's looking for a minyan. That made it all worthwhile (and should put to rest any ignorant doubts about the particular affinity involved).
posted by languagehat at 10:11 AM on April 26, 2007


adamgreenfield- why are you assuming that I'm not Jewish?
posted by ethnomethodologist at 5:13 PM on April 26, 2007


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