Latest News:  

English>>Life & Culture

Chinese food in Jewish world, kosher or not?

(CRI Online)

15:15, May 15, 2013

A waiter serves religious Jewish customers in Sheyan, a Chinese food restaurant owned by an Israeli boss in Jerusalem, on Sunday, May 5, 2013. [Photo: / Wang Qian]

Restaurants featuring Chinese food in foreign countries have always been judged whether their dishes keep the original Chinese style or not, but in the Jewish state of Israel, restaurant owners have another thing to consider - Kosher or not.

Kosher foods are those that conform to the regulations of Jewish dietary law. The most commonly known rule is that typical Jews don't eat pork. Most seafood is also forbidden unless it has both fins and scales.

"You can't ask for everything," said Ma Peizhen, a co-owner of a Chinese restaurant in Tel Aviv, "you have to choose what kind of customers you want to keep."

Coming from Hong Kong, Ma has lived in Israel and operated restaurants here for over 30 years. Her current restaurant "Hayam Hasini" was opened 13 years ago near the Tel Aviv beach, featuring seafood.

Ma tries to keep the Chinese flavor as possible. All the chefs in her restaurant are from the Chinese mainland. "Chefs from here or Hong Kong just can't make the flavor right." She also brings ingredients like broad bean paste from China to keep the original flavor. But she admitted that Jewish people prefer the alleged Chinese food adapted to the local taste.

"Jews like food with strong flavors, and they prefer it sweeter." Only three restaurants in Tel Aviv are owned by Chinese. There are several Chinese food restaurants with Jewish owners, to Ma, their food is not Chinese food at all, but they are more acceptable by locals.

Ma said most Jewish people don't really know what Chinese food is. In their opinions, Chinese food is greasy and unhealthy. But with more Jewish people traveling or doing business in China, some come to her restaurant specially to order more original Chinese food.

Many Jewish businessmen bring their Chinese partners to the restaurant and recommend the food to their friends who also do business with Chinese people, but they never come here with their families. Maybe because it's not kosher, said Ma.

To save her business, Ma began to contact with travel agencies like she used to do in Haifa years ago. Currently group tourists take around 40 percent of her business, another 30 percent are Jews, and the rest are diplomats, companies and Koreans working in Tel Aviv. They also offer business lunch for people working around. Although Ma doesn't want to change the original Chinese style, they have to change the flavors a little bit according to different customers.

The chefs can tell where the customers come from only by the dishes they order, said Ma. Jewish people only order certain dishes, so as Koreans and so on. For Chinese tourists, she always asks from which provinces they come and tells the chefs to cook according to the flavors they prefer.

Sangpagk Lee, a Korean who has worked in Tel Aviv for three years, come to Ma's restaurant every two or three months. Lee said there's no Korean restaurant in Tel Aviv, so many Koreans choose Chinese restaurants and the food here makes them satisfied. "We do not care they change it or not. The food is tasty for us, that's why we come here."

In another Chinese restaurant in west Jerusalem, the story is totally different. Owned by a Jewish boss who can speak fluent mandarin Chinese, the kosher restaurant "Sheyan" is described on its website as "a captivating merge between Jerusalem's eclectic atmosphere and China's traditional cuisine".

【1】 【2】

We recommend:

Tough way to get to school in Hunan province

Top 10 attractive Chinese cities for foreigners 2012

31 abandoned scenic spots in the world

Hot dances of basketball babies

Glamourous elderly ladies in Qipaos

Top 20 sexiest women in the world 2013

Wow, women's underwear rugby

Dream girls of post-70 generation in China

Who is the most beautiful post-90s stars

Email|Print|Comments(Editor:LiXiang、Ye Xin)

Leave your comment0 comments

  1. Name


Selections for you

  1. Troops in long-distance maneuver drill

  2. Int'l Maritime Defense Exhibition Asia

  3. Traditional Carabao Festival kicks off

  4. Photo Story: Survivors of the earthquake

  5. 'Sea view' of Chinese cities after rainstorms

  6. Father arrested for 'torturing' teen daughter

  7. Angelina Jolie has double mastectomy

  8. Huge birdcages displayed for green life

  9. No Wonderland any more

  10. 8th Shenzhen Int'l Brand Underwear Fair

Most Popular


  1. People with depression show disrupted brain 'clock'
  2. iPad obsession hurting child's development
  3. Positive signs in Europe hard won
  4. Who do psychiatrists turn to for therapy?
  5. Park-Obama summit cements alliance
  6. Disclosure delays help fuel online rumors
  7. Yuan appreciation nears limit: experts
  8. Renaming 'Arab Spring' cannot hide prejudice
  9. Negative forecast leads Rio Tinto to lay-off
  10. Suffer the children, suffer the country

What’s happening in China

Maserati limousine wreck over car parts quality claim

  1. Police bust $7.8 million fake condom ring
  2. China pilot program to better protect minors
  3. $161 mln for SW China disaster management only
  4. Rorket send to probe high-altitude atmosphere
  5. Beijing cracking down on illegal barbecues