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Dec 8, 2007 04:25 PM

REAL Chinese- anywhere???

I guess I should begin this by explaining that I converted (orthodox) just 2 weeks ago- I decided once the conversion was finished I would become more observant culinarily. My problem is Chinese food- real Chinese food- in my previous life I lived in China, frequented Chinatown, Vietnamese, dim sum - you name it. The Chinese food so far here in the NYC area doesn't really resemble Chinese food at all- is there anywhere on the east coast that does more traditional kosher Chinese food? I'm starting to think that I'm going to have to start making my own Chinese food- as there are few dairy ingredients most dishes can be adapted-, still I would love to find somewhere- any ideas? I'm willing to travel for it :)

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  1. 99% of the non-kosher Chinese restaurants in the US aren't serving "real" Chinese food, so don't hold your breath on a kosher version. With that being said, there are some decent kosher Chinese places out there. Shalom China in Boston is pretty good, and I seem to remember someone touting a place in Brooklyn.

    1. Travel into NJ and go to Veggie Heaven in Teaneck (15 minutes from the city). It is 100% Kosher. It is a Chinese vegetarian restaurant, but they also serve Japanese dishes and sushi/sashimi (vegetarian). They are so creative with the dishes, and the food is just fantastic. I love the tofu with three kinds of mushroom. I would also highly recommend their scallion pancakes and dim sum. Full of flavor and texture, I think you will be very pleased. I have not had the pleasure of living in China, but a few of my friends who have lived in China love this place. Teaneck is also a great place for you to find other Kosher culinary options, as many of the residents keep Kosher there.

      Veggie Heaven
      473 Cedar Ln, Teaneck, NJ

      1. BS"D

        I don't know about the east coast. There was a restaurant in Cedarhurst, Annie Chan's that had a very passable pseudo Char Siu Bao made with veal. Not too much real Chinese around. Out here in sunnu California, you can get authentic Cantonese cuisine by coming to my house, if you're invited. Other than that, I don't know where you could go. Often, you can get 1 or 2 decent, relatively authentic dishes in a kosher Chinese restaurant, but the menu as a whole is lacking in authenticity. It varies, but I often find things like broccoli beef to be the best things on the menu- relatively simple dishes it's almost impossible to get wrong. But remember, oyster sauce isn't kosher, not everyone holds by fermented dried black beans, it'a almost impossible to find kosher hoisin (I haven't found it yet), chili pastes must be made onesself as I haven't run across any certified product, and even kosher straw mushrooms are hard to come by. IF you wanted to do more esoteric but seasonal things like lo han Jai fermented bean curd is a problem. And even dark soy and mushroom soy are not available. Bottom line is that the most authentic things on the menue are simple items not requiring anything more than vegetables meat, soy, maybe some ginger and spices, and cornstarch,

        4 Replies
        1. re: ganeden

          I have a chof-K certified hoisin sauce from the Joyce Chen brand. I doubt it's particularly authentic, but I suppose I don't know the difference.

          In Chinatown, there's a vegan restaurant called Buddha Bodhai, under the certification of Rabbi Israel Steinberg. I've eaten there, but know that not everybody holds by his hashgacha. (Note that like any of the non-Jewish-owned restaurants that are open on Shabbos, they can't get certification from any of the major players like the OU, OK, etc. because those hechshers will not certify a restaurant open on Shabbos, no matter who owns it.) From reviews, and from the fact that the majority of the people there when I visited were Chinese, it seems pretty authentic to me, and the food was fabulous. Their website is here:

          As far as I know, there IS no kosher Vietnamese out there, but I'd love to try some.

          1. re: GilaB

            I would also recommend Buddha Bodai. Most authentic I have had. They do have a few of the typical American Chinese dishes like Sesame and general tzo "chicken". Best time to go is during dim sum (before 3:30PM) They have wonderful dim sum. Whenever I have been to Buddha Bodai, we are one of the only non Chinese tables. They also have a location in Queens that has a small parking lot...

              1. re: shoelace

                According to, it's at 42-96 Main Street, in Flushing. Their phone number is (718) 939-1188.

        2. Thanks soooo much- they are all great suggestions, I'm working on my own version of Char Siu Bao made with veal- also going to do a coconut variety. The dim sum is a little more labor intensive so the vegetarian option is a great suggestion! I also want to work on a sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves- I can't add the sausage but I think it might be passable with veal and chicken added. Thanks again!

          3 Replies
          1. re: Sandinyc


            Yes, my wife makes joong on occasion- she uses rehydrated doongu, and we don't add meat because she likes them pareve, but there's enough kosher sausage available that one can probably find something acceptable for joong..

            1. re: ganeden

              The dish I'm trying to recreate is Lo Mai Gai- I've never been a fan of joong- even with the sausage, I've always found joong to be bland in comparison to Lo Mai Gai, I think its really possible to do this dish well kosher, some fatty veal, chicken and mushrooms should make for a nice enough filling.

              1. re: Sandinyc


                Asid from the lop chong, nothing that couldn't be kosher (or a have a kosher substitute), so lo mai gai is a good way to go. And there are plenty of kosher sausages out there to add flavor, even if they're not quite lop chong. Go for it!

          2. Philadelphia has a couple of excellent kosher vegetarian Chinese restaurants in its Chinatown area, just northeast of the Convention Center downtown. They have, I believe, Conservative certification. Delicious food.
            Cherry Street Vegetarian, and I am not remembering the name of the other. We have enjoyed a couple of banquet style meals for family simchas, as well as dinners.
            Can't wait to go back! p.j.

            1 Reply
            1. re: p.j.

              Singapore is wonderful...also vegetarian conservative hashgaha...I believe they still have a phillie location