Yes, we ate Chinese food today. Well, to be more precise I would call it Kosher Vegan Pan-Asian food, because while the restaurant is located in Manhattan's Chinatown precinct, the eatery serves vegan sushi and other dishes that could be considered Thai or Indian or something else.

There is this hackneyed (or beloved?) stereotype or mantra, take your pick, that Jews eat Chinese food and see movies on Christmas Day. Are you familiar with the cute-sweet cartoon parody "Christmastime For the Jews"? Look it up. Featuring the unmistakable vocals of legendary pop singer Darlene Love (who sang lots of hits in the 1960s and still sounds great when she performs live!), it has clay-figure Jewish people feasting on Chinese food and enjoying themselves, while Christians do their family and religious rituals.

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And my social media feeds have been bombarded the past few days with articles about "The History of Why Jews Eat Chinese Food on Christmas" and other stories of a similar fashion. 

In New York City, to be frank, there are many people who are NOT celebrating Christmas. In addition to the Jews, there are the Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs and Wiccans (did I leave anyone out?) who are most likely not observing this holiday, even if it is a Federal holiday and therefore banks and public schools are closed, most government agencies and offices are closed, and lots of businesses are either closed or have limited open hours. So certain ethnic restaurants, particularly Asian cuisines (but also kosher, Turkish and Afghani eateries, to name but a few) are typically open. And many do a brisk business.

On Christmas Eve my husband, two daughters and I went to eat Indian food at a restaurant in Brooklyn's Park Slope neighborhood. We ate vegetarian dishes and there was a steady stream of customers, possibly Jewish but who knows what else, who were eating at this place. And today we went with my close friend S and her daughter R to a well-known Chinatown restaurant, on Mulberry Street.

First we actually went to my absolute favorite Manhattan restaurant, another kosher vegan Asian eatery on Mott Street. But the manager told me the wait would be at least an hour, so I gave him a wan smile, a nod of the head, and we walked over to the place on Mulberry Street. It is a bigger space, and we waited about 20 minutes to be seated.

We were seated at a large round table with a Lazy Susan, and who can resist spinning a Lazy Susan? We ordered a variety of dim sum plates-- two types of Congee (rice porridge), different types of dumplings, buns, sticky rice, and so on. Halfway through our meal a modern Orthodox man and his two young daughters were seated at the inside portion of our table, and they were wide-eyed, surveying the food we received and ate. The trio ate more mundane dishes, but they did get portions of veggie sushi to share.

There were other obviously Jewish families here, as well as non-obvious Jewish families, but also Asian people and others who were not Jewish but just wanted to be out and eating Asian vegan food on December 25th. And overall we noticed that Chinatown was quite busy with people, including many tourists speaking a panoply of languages. 

New York City is also hoppin', no matter what day it is.

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