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Apr 10, 2013 06:44 PM

Only in the Bay Area: eavesdropping @ the Ferry Bldg Tuesday market

I was sitting outside @ the Ferry Building on Tuesday, a middle-aged Jew happily eating pork ramen w/ an egg, from the Hapa Ramen truck.

Two young Asian men sat down at the communal table, bearing sandwiches from Wise Sons.

One said to the other, "what makes these Jewish?" The other replied, "I don't know. Maybe they're kosher?"

The first one then said, looking to answer his own question, "I think pastrami is Jewish." (pause) "But," he continued, "not corned beef. The Irish eat corned beef."

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  1. Heh! Although sooner or later every non-Jew in New York has some version of that conversation, while eating somewhere like the 2nd Ave Deli. "What are matzoh balls, anyway? Is that like the Jewish version of communion?" I still don't know the answer to that question, actually.

    Recently at work, I asked one of the supervisors if any of his guys were Jewish or Muslim, since I was selecting food for a company function.

    "Beats me, why?"

    "In case some of the food needs to be kosher or halal or something."

    He paused for a moment before asking, "What the hell does that mean?"

    1. My all time favorite from years ago was a mom furiously spitwashing her young sons face while exclaiming "Let me tell you Mr. 'I like to lick the wheels of my stroller', I just don't get it!"

      1. I wouldn't say there's anything about that interaction which is "only in the Bay Area".

        1. Sue,
          How were you certain the middle-aged ramen eater was Jewish? I am quite curious as to how you knew.

          14 Replies
          1. re: Tripeler

            I am curious about your curiosity!

            1. re: dunstable

              I am assuming the ramen-eater Sue saw was a stranger, and I wondered how she would assume the person was Jewish. Me? I could guess, but wouldn't know for sure. But maybe it is not that important, because most all of the Jewish people I know do not keep kosher except two, who are vegetarians anyway.

              Concerning Hypberbowler's comment below, I think the restriction against pork isn't just on the Sabbath, but rather a 24/7 thing. Also, dairy in ramen is highly unusual except for the addition of butter in Hokkaido-style miso ramen.

            2. re: Tripeler

              More or less the same way she knows she's middle-aged and that she was enjoying her lunch.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                These two things are easily observed, but being Jewish is not easily observed, at least not these days. Unless the ramennosher was wearing the same button I saw on a woman years ago at Just Desserts at Church and Market proclaiming "Yes, I am a Zionist!"

                  1. re: mariacarmen

                    Thank you so much! I now understand that I completely misread her post. (Hangs head in shame, exits left...)

                    1. re: Tripeler

                      I'm only now circling back to read all the comments. Apologies for a sentence that wasn't the clearest communication in the world (no need for shame--or exits in any direction!).

                      I actually hesitated re posting in the first place, since it wasn't a food/restaurant tip/comment. But the overheard conversation had made me smile and so wanted to share, and thought it could be fun to mix things up a bit. Little did I know.....

                      And that'll teach me--now whenever any of you reads my posts, you'll think of me as that "middle-aged Jewish woman"!

                      1. re: sundeck sue

                        I was wondering how you stopped from giggling.

                        1. re: sundeck sue

                          well the funniest thing to me was that Tripeler (and sundeck sue's right, no need for shame!) in decrying assumptions, assumed that "middle-aged Jew" could only be a man!

                          Tripeler, not giving you sh*t - just giggling at it all! coulda been me making these little mistakes, any day.

                            1. re: sundeck sue

                              I thought using first person was a pretty good clue you were describing yourself.

                    2. re: Tripeler

                      (psst! i think she was referring to herself!)

                      1. re: mariacarmen

                        Two additional clues--- not eating pork on the sabbath and not putting dairy into the ramen :-)

                      2. re: Tripeler

                        I *think* Sue was referring to herself.

                        EDIT: oops, this was already covered.

                      3. The original comment has been removed