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REAL Chinese- anywhere???

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Sandinyc Dec 8, 2007 04:25 PM

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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    DeisCane RE: Sandinyc Dec 8, 2007 04:55 PM

    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. kimie RE: Sandinyc Dec 8, 2007 06:02 PM

      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

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        ganeden RE: Sandinyc Dec 8, 2007 06:02 PM

        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
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          GilaB RE: ganeden Dec 8, 2007 07:53 PM

          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: http://chinatownvegetarian.com

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

          1. re: GilaB
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            hindyg RE: GilaB Dec 9, 2007 09:17 AM

            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: hindyg
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              shoelace RE: hindyg Dec 9, 2007 08:21 PM

              where is the one in queens?

              1. re: shoelace
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                GilaB RE: shoelace Dec 9, 2007 09:13 PM

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

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          Sandinyc RE: Sandinyc Dec 9, 2007 09:57 AM

          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
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            ganeden RE: Sandinyc Dec 9, 2007 02:47 PM

            BS"D

            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
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              Sandinyc RE: ganeden Dec 9, 2007 04:25 PM

              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
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                ganeden RE: Sandinyc Dec 10, 2007 05:16 AM

                BS"D

                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!

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            p.j. RE: Sandinyc Dec 12, 2007 11:50 AM

            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.
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              hindyg RE: p.j. Dec 12, 2007 03:01 PM

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

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              koshergirl RE: Sandinyc Dec 14, 2007 12:19 AM

              Since I've never had authentic Chinese food I can't claim that this is the real deal but if you want to head out to the west coast to Seattle we have a orthodox supervised vegan Chinese restaurant here called Bamboo Garden. (I believe that they have a website you can look it up) It is one of my favorite restaurant and the food is amazing. I frequently see Asian families eating there among other nonJews.

              1 Reply
              1. re: koshergirl
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                ganeden RE: koshergirl Dec 14, 2007 08:47 AM

                BS"D

                There are several supervised vegan Chinese restaurants throughout the country, but even though they're patronized by authentic Chinese people, they're not really authentic Chinese restaurants the way we normally think about them, due to the fact that they're vegan- which means that the ownership, and often the patrons as well, are Buddhist or Taoist, and often uphold their religious customs strictly. Which often means no garlic or onions, including scallions, in the food, as well as perhaps other spices. The food may well be excellent, but in my experience, it often is far blander than regional Chinese cuisines typically are, and the range of textures available is often decreased due to the lack of meat textures, which are only approximated by various bean curd concoctions. So here again, typical stir-fried, steamed or braised fresh vegetable dishes are probably more authentic than "mock meat" dishes, except for traditional vegetarian dishes such as Lo Han Jai.

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