It's beginning to smell a lot like Mongolian beef
December 25, 2014 5:48 PM   Subscribe

 
All I can add is that today's hot and sour soup and sesame chicken was delicious.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:11 PM on December 25, 2014 [5 favorites]


A friend of mine, since departed, once wrote an article about the American Jewish relationship with Chinese food. He suggested the lede "Kvetching Tiger, Schlepping Dragon." I always thought it was a huge mistake that the editors chose something else.
posted by slkinsey at 6:17 PM on December 25, 2014 [28 favorites]


I promised my Catholic girlfriend Jewish Christmas this year, which in our tradition is Chinese food and a movie. We saw "Whiplash" and ate shrimp and pea leaves.
posted by Jode at 6:23 PM on December 25, 2014 [4 favorites]


I will admit that there is a non-trivial number of my friends on facebook who have checked in from a certain Chinese place in Ramsey.
posted by mikelieman at 6:24 PM on December 25, 2014


Tamales for Christmas are all fine and good, but I could really go for some Queen Chicken and Firecracker Shrimp from Genghis Cohen.
posted by infinitewindow at 6:28 PM on December 25, 2014 [4 favorites]


I'm reminded of the Seinfeld episode where they try to eat at the Chinese restaurant.
posted by Renoroc at 6:39 PM on December 25, 2014


The War On Jewish Christmas
posted by The Whelk at 6:48 PM on December 25, 2014 [4 favorites]


I'm not even remotely Jewish, but I'm totally smitten by the idea of a pastrami eggroll.
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:51 PM on December 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm not even remotely Jewish, but I'm totally smitten by the idea of a pastrami eggroll.

I am Jewish, and that's a uniquely horrifying thought. Although not as uniquely horrifying as the pastrami Bloody Mary available from the deli near my parents' home (featuring a pastrami-wrapped pickle spear and pastrami-flavored salt on the rim).
posted by thomas j wise at 7:09 PM on December 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm Chinese and we always have Chinese food at Christmas. Turkey + Chinese broccoli, how can you go wrong?
posted by wuwei at 7:20 PM on December 25, 2014 [17 favorites]


I'm not even remotely Jewish, but I'm totally smitten by the idea of a pastrami eggroll.

I'm not Jewish either, but I can tell you that the (somewhat similar) Reuben Roll—that's a reuben sandwich made into an egg roll which you dunk in thousand island dressing—is more delicious than you are imagining.
posted by Zephyrial at 7:22 PM on December 25, 2014 [9 favorites]


I'm Chinese and we always have Chinese food at Christmas.

I am detecting a lack of symmetry.

that's a reuben sandwich made into an egg roll which you dunk in thousand island dressing

I would totally eat that.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:29 PM on December 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


I would eat it too, but I can't imagine why either of us is admitting it in public.
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:33 PM on December 25, 2014 [17 favorites]


a reuben sandwich made into an egg roll which you dunk in thousand island dressing—is more delicious than you are imagining.

I would eat the hell out of that, and I am not ashamed.

(I've also got that post-drinking ravenous thing going on, so.)
posted by kalimac at 7:39 PM on December 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


pastrami Bloody Mary

Yeah, totally NOT smitten by the idea of that hellish brew.
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:42 PM on December 25, 2014


I'm pretty sure I would eat the vast majority of foods in egg roll form.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:17 PM on December 25, 2014 [4 favorites]


My Catholic cousin and her husband have Chinese food every Christmas. I'm pretty sure they got the idea from A Christmas Story.
posted by dirigibleman at 8:38 PM on December 25, 2014


Even in Seattle, there are certain Chinese restaurants with a majority Jewish xmas clientele. I have no idea where they all come from, as three or four good-sized restaurants would serve more than the combined membership of all synagogues from Olympia to Bellingham.
I believe Shanghai Garden in the International District starts taking xmas reservations on Nov. 1st. If you go, get Barley Green Hand-Shaven Noodles. I personally prefer Seven-Stars Pepper, 2nd floor at Jackson St and 12th Ave (just under the freeway from the International District). Standouts are Sliced Omasa with Szechuan Hot Oil, Cumin Lamb and of course Dan-Dan Noodles (they make theirs with sesame paste, not peanut butter). Whatever you do, avoid Seattle Center's vegetarian Bamboo Garden, Seattle's only certified kosher restaurant. It is the worst Asian food in the Pacific Northwest.
posted by Dreidl at 8:57 PM on December 25, 2014 [12 favorites]


Lies. Bamboo Garden may not be good Chinese but it's good American Chinese.
posted by R343L at 9:41 PM on December 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


And down on MLK in the south end of Seattle, life appears to go on much as normal on Christmas (though the grocery store might have closed a bit early last night). I was ever so happy to have a Xmas eve dinner of goat curry and fried wontons.
posted by wotsac at 10:01 PM on December 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm not even remotely Jewish, but I'm totally smitten by the idea of a pastrami eggroll.

When people in China find out out the amazing gloriousness of the pastrami fried rice at the glatt kosher Chinese place in Piscataway, NJ, they're going to switch over en masse and the barbecue pork industry will implode.

That said, everything else at that restaurant is crap.

In other news: I learned from my Facebook feed that at least some of my Muslim friends also go out for Chinese on Christmas!
posted by escabeche at 10:11 PM on December 25, 2014


Jewmas is my favorite version of Christmas. So much tastier and less stressful than the alternatives.
posted by Jacqueline at 12:07 AM on December 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


This paper is great and its analysis is great. I was prepared to nitpick it because of the cutsey "safe trief" idea: part of the point of Chinese food is that it need not be trief (the authors get this). But there is a lot of trenchant analysis of what Chinese food meant to the first Jewish immigrants who started exploring it, and also to those who inherited their restaurants.

I've actually been thinking a lot this Christmas about why some of my friends are making such a concerted effort to Eat Chinese Food on Christmas this year (and post it to social media, and ironically point out that it's a cliche but still fun, etc) even though we didn't grow up doing this, but rather we heard about it when we got older, mostly because it's a conversational touchstone as something that New York Jews do. Basically, a stereotype rather than a grew-up-with-it tradition (which, maybe it is for you).

I mean, yes, Chinese food's popularity is easily explained by the fact that most restaurants serving western cuisine are closed on Christmas, and theres not much to do in the evening, but there are tons of nights that aren't christmas where people just stay in and cook, or eat something ethnic besides Chinese (indian comes to mind first). Why do my friends seem so keen on adopting this tradition that they've been told over and over is a Jewish cliche but that we didn't actually do growing up?

I think it ties in to the authenticity-focused elements in our current culture: eating Chinese food on christmas is supposed to hark back to what our great-grandparents on the Lower East Side might have have done on December 25th (I don't think they had indian food as an option). But it's more than that: we want a way to ritually celebrate December 25th. Yes, we have hanukah for wintertime festivities. But, akin to Jode's "Jewish Christmas" above, we want our own social and cultural obligations on this special day, just like everyone around us has.

The notion that eating anything aside from Eastern European food is powerful enough to move one out of the shtetl and in to the modern world is still relevant. For a previous generation, Chinese food filled that role, but nowadays we have to be a little more adventurous, since most foods that can be kosher-ified have been: sushi, Italian (without meat), steakhouse fare, even french haute cuisine (though that's much harder).

Anyway, I had Korean barbecue this year and it was amazing.
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 12:55 AM on December 26, 2014 [7 favorites]


For more than 50 years, my extended family's traditional Christmas (well, actually Christmas Eve) meal has always been pulled-pork bbq.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:44 AM on December 26, 2014


My Catholic self and my Jewish wife decided to be a little daring and go with Indian takeout and Sons of Anarchy.
posted by jonmc at 6:11 AM on December 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


For more than 50 years, my extended family's traditional Christmas (well, actually Christmas Eve) meal has always been pulled-pork bbq.

I wish my kids appreciated good BBQ. They even seemed jaded from the chicken parmesan I whipped up for dinner last night. Full disclosure: I had Chinese food for lunch yesterday.
posted by mikelieman at 6:22 AM on December 26, 2014


The (somewhat similar) Reuben Roll is more delicious than you are imagining.

I certainly hope so.
posted by layceepee at 8:51 AM on December 26, 2014


So, my Jewish friend and her husband and son are out of town, or we would have had Chinese food for Christmas Eve. We have made a lot of jokes about it.

Yesterday, however, on the way home from visiting, we saw that there was an Indian restaurant open! So, instead of cooking chili and cornbread, we had that. It was sooo tasty. I kind of want that to be our new tradition. No dishes, and more time to play with new toys.
posted by annsunny at 10:23 AM on December 26, 2014


Chinese restaurant sign thanks Jews for eating there on Christmas (inspired by a David Mamet cartoon.)
posted by homunculus at 2:02 PM on December 26, 2014


My boyfriend's family always talks about how happy I must be that they welcome me, a New York Jewish girl, into their Southern home to celebrate a proper Christmas dinner with ham and beans and casserole each year, and while I love spending time with them, sometimes I want to say that I miss my own rich cultural tradition of moo goo gai pan.
posted by Yoko Ono's Advice Column at 2:55 PM on December 26, 2014 [3 favorites]


My boyfriend and I have started a tradition of ordering waaaay too much indian food on xmas eve, and then munching away at it for the next 2 days, while we hang out and watch movies. it's awesome!
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 9:18 PM on December 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


I am not Jewish, but since my divorce, I have enjoyed Chinese food on my Christmas Eve or Christmas night dinner, which I alternate according to whose turn it is to have the kids for those times. I have always enjoyed the movie at home or the theatre, along with Chinese food and the relative quiet.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 6:40 PM on December 27, 2014


I enjoyed the article very much -particularly since my husband and I are waaaay too lazy to keep kosher but we keep a 'safe Freud' kitchen.
posted by bq at 7:23 AM on December 28, 2014


Thanks autocorrect
posted by bq at 8:22 AM on December 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


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