There’s an old joke about Jews and Chinese food: “If it’s 5770 on the Jewish calendar and 4707 on the Chinese calendar, the difference is 1063 years or the amount of time that Jews lived without Chinese food” or something along those lines. I’m sure you get the point.
I have my own Jews and Chinese food line. My parents live in Hunters Run, a country club community in Palm Beach County Florida. There are 1600 family units. I break them down like this: 1596 Jewish units and 4 Chinese units to make dinner for everyone on Sunday night.
I wonder…where did the tradition of Jews eating Chinese food for dinner on Sunday night come from? Growing up, it seemed like every Sunday we went to August Moon in the Americana Shopping Center on Northern Blvd., at least until we discovered Bruce Ho’s, also on Northern Blvd., just closer to home. And we’d always see people we knew when we went there. If we didn’t go out, we’d bring in from Tea Village on Middle Neck Road, which always had a good crowd waiting for take out on Sundays. I hope all my GN friends are having serious Chinese food flashbacks right about now.
From 1987 thru 1992, Linda and I (and eventually Allie) lived on the upper west side of Manhattan. On Broadway between 96th and 104th were several really good Chinese food restaurants. My kingdom for Beef with 4 Flavors from Hunan Garden. During these years, Chinese food was a regular part of my diet, just not necessarily on Sundays.
However, all good things must come to an end and end they did when we moved to NJ. Yes, there are Chinese food restaurants in NJ and some of them are good but they do not reach the level of NYC Chinese food dining in quality or the quantity of quality restaurants.
I was reading the paper earlier today. Thursday is the day the Star Ledger publishes recent house sales. There were probably 8 – 10 houses sold in the Millburn/Short Hills area, at least half of those were sold to families with Asian sounding names. You’d think with the way things are going, they’d find some way to increase the quality of Chinese food dining in the area or am I reading this all wrong. Are Chinese people moving to where the Jews live just to be closer to corned beef on rye with spicey brown mustard, potato latkes and a Dr. Brown’s Black Cherry soda? If tradition dictates that Jews ate Chinese food on Sunday nights, what were the Chinese people eating? Hebrew National hot dogs with sauer kraut, a potato knish and Celray soda or an egg cream (which has no eggs or cream so don’t get me started on that one). If we like wonton soup do they like matzoh ball soup? Do Chinese people use chopsticks when eating kasha varnishkes? That’s a stupid question but I just wanted to throw kasha varnishkes in there because the name always makes me giggle.
Anyway, all this talk of food has made me hungry so I’m going to stop now. To any of my new neighbors who happen to be Chinese, just let me say I’m usually free for dinner on Sunday nights. I’ll even bring some rugelach for dessert.