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    Sino-Judaic cuisine: pastrami eggrolls and Chinese hot dogs

    By Jennifer 8. Lee | December 18, 2007

    I have a City Room post today on pastrami eggrolls and Chinese hot dogs (beef frankfurter in egg roll skin), seen below, which is found in  New York City.

    Pastrami eggroll and Chinese hot dog

    This of course segues into the age-old quesiton of why Jews love Chinese food so much –  a relationship that has been the subject of many a stand-up comedian’s joke, YouTube video and academic papers.

    One paper, by Hanna Miller, even goes as far to say that Chinese food is the ethnic cuisine of the American Jew (subscription only, blah), arguing that they identify more with Chinese food than the Eastern European food of their immigrant ancestors. And two sociologists, Gaye Tuchman and Harry G. Levine, investigated the historical and cultural reasons for the Jewish Chinese culinary axis in their 1992 paper Safe Treyf [pdf].

    So why is it that chow mein is the chosen food of the chosen people? Among the theories posited:

    To be honest, when I tried it, I found the Chinese hot dog from Eden Wok  too thick and doughy. It paled in comparison with the Chinese hot dog at Chai Peking in Atlanta (Item No. 105 for $2.50), which was positively yummy.

    Chai Peking’s hot dog has a nice twist: the hot dog is wrapped in pastrami before it is fried in wonton skin. Chai Peking, which is the only glatt kosher Chinese restaurant for a 700-mile radius, takes takeout and delivery to an extreme level. People have flown in on private planes or driven two hours each way across multiple state borders to get Chai Peking takeout.

    But to top it all off, Chai Peking does delivery by FedEx. It flash-freezes the dishes, packs them in dry ice and ships them off across the southeastern United States. To anywhere, really, but most of their delivery customers are in the Southeast.

    And we thought New York City was the delivery capital of the United States.

    Stayed tuned for my thoughts on …Philly Cheesesteak rolls

    Topics: Chinese Food, Jews & Chinese Food, Quirky | No Comments »

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