Holiday Entertaining

A Jewish Tradition: 8 Chinese Takeout-Inspired Recipes for Christmas Day

December 19, 2012

While brisket, latkes and doughnuts are traditionally eaten during Hanukkah, Chinese food is the unspoken equivalent on Christmas.

For those of you who are wondering: Why is eating Chinese food on Christmas a Jewish tradition? The simple answer: Chinese restaurants are usually the only ones open for business. This means slick tangles of lo mein, piles of bulging dumplings, and, of course, sticky-salty-sweet kung pao chicken. It’s a feast of a different order -- but a feast worthy of celebration.

We rounded up a medley of (lucky number) 8 classic Chinese American and even Chinese-Jewish recipes from around the web for you here to partake in this cross-cultural culinary experience in the comfort of your own home.

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My Mother's Famous Chinese Egg Rolls by Steamy Kitchen

My Mother's Famous Chinese Egg Rolls


Shredded Pork and Chinese Celery Lo Mein by thirschfeld

Shredded Pork and Chinese Celery Lo Mein


Sesame Beef and Broccoli from Appetite for China

Sesame Beef and Broccoli


Gong Bao Ji Ding (Gong Bao Chicken) by FrancesRenHuang

Gong Bao Chicken


Kung Pao Shrimp from Appetite for China

Kung Pao Shrimp


Matzoh-Crusted General Gau's Tofu from Serious Eats



Chinese Almond Cookies from Simply Recipes

Chinese Almond Cookies by Simply Recipes


Red Bean Rugelach from Serious Eats

Red Bean Rugelach

For more of Appetite for China's recipes, check out her brand new cookbook devoted to the topic: The Chinese Take-Out Cookbook.

Alternatively, if you're in NYC and curious to try some of Chichi Wang's Chinese-Jewish dishes on Christmas Eve, she will be at the helm of the kitchen at the Queens Kickshaw in Astoria serving up dinner and noshes for Woks and Lox, the second annual Jewish and Chinese Christmas celebration. Grab a ticket here.

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Bevi
  • edr
  • healthierkitchen
  • hardlikearmour
  • Kenzi Wilbur
    Kenzi Wilbur
I'm a daring cook, a novice baker and a fearless eater.


Bevi December 20, 2012 has a great sweet and sour shrimp in its data
Base. It can be modified for chicken as well as pork or firm tofu.
edr December 20, 2012
A pork recipe...for Jews on Christmas? really?
Kenzi W. December 20, 2012
These recipes are for all who'd like to partake, regardless of religion. Just like the latkes and doughnuts we post come December aren't meant for just one audience, neither are these!
edr December 20, 2012
Well, when latkes are specifically prohibited by the religion you're citing in the title, let me know.
RC T. December 31, 2012
If you talk about "Jewish tradition" in your title, you should at least select recipes that observant Jews can eat; pork and shrimp are both prohibited. I know that, and I'm not even Jewish. A better example than the one you gave would be if you wrote about vegan recipes for Christmas - and then gave recipes with honey or eggs in the ingredients.
Bevi December 20, 2012
edamame2003 posted a great beef dish that I have made several times, adding cashews for a little crunch:
healthierkitchen December 19, 2012
I also like monkeymom's mapo tofu
hardlikearmour December 19, 2012
Mrslarkin's scallion pancakes are also and excellent Chinese dish for making at home:
veronicachan December 19, 2012
Agreed! I especially love that she used pork fat from braised pork belly in her recipe.