Why Do Jews Eat Chinese Food on Christmas?

The story isn't just about the lo mein and dumplings.



It’s a bit of cliche with a whole lot of truth behind it: Jews love eating Chinese food on Christmas and Christmas Eve.


The story of why Jews in America stereotypically enjoy Chinese food on Christmas began, like so many American Jewish stories, on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.


Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe and Chinese immigrants were two non-Christian immigrant groups living side by side in nearby Manhattan neighborhoods.


And while it’s true that Chinese restaurants were likely the only option open for Jews on a holiday like Christmas, Adam Chandler points out in this article from The Atlantic that the Jews and Chinese were linked by their otherness on Christmas; neither had yet assimilated into American culture or celebrated the holiday.