From Lok­shen to Lo Mein: The Jew­ish Love Affair With Chi­nese Food

Don­ald Siegel
  • Review
By – October 17, 2011
Both the Jews and the Chi­nese have long culi­nary tra­di­tions. Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ties exist­ed in Chi­na dur­ing the Mid­dle Ages, so it is not sur­pris­ing that Jews devel­oped an inter­est in the local cui­sine. Don­ald Siegel, a pro­fes­sor of earth sci­ences at Syra­cuse Uni­ver­si­ty who loves Chi­nese food, has writ­ten a cook­book that offers a wealth of kosher Chi­nese recipes. He begins with an intro­duc­tion to Chi­nese cui­sine, explain­ing the region­al vari­a­tions and the evo­lu­tion of cook­ing dur­ing the Chow Dynasty. He dis­cuss­es the Jew­ish expe­ri­ence in Chi­na and the Amer­i­can-Jew­ish-Chi­nese con­nec­tion before pro­ceed­ing to Chi­nese cook­ing tech­niques. The recipes include soups, appe­tiz­ers (dim sum), noo­dle and rice dish­es, and entrees. Meat, fish, poul­try, and veg­e­tar­i­an dish­es con­form­ing to the rules of kashrut will please any cook who wants to add Chi­nese food to his/​her reper­toire. Chick­en soup, ants climb­ing a tree, and steamed fish with gin­ger and scal­lions are a few exam­ples. Infor­ma­tion about kosher Chi­nese prod­ucts and a brief expla­na­tion of kashrut will aid non-Jews and those unfa­mil­iar with the tra­di­tion. This book would be a won­der­ful addi­tion to any kosher cook’s library.
Bar­bara M. Bibel is a librar­i­an at the Oak­land Pub­lic Library in Oak­land, CA; and at Con­gre­ga­tion Netiv­ot Shalom, Berke­ley, CA.

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