As my brother and I got older, we graduated from KFC to sushi for Christmas. Nothing traditional about that. Japanese people in general, like to eat something special on Christmas; it could be paella, it could be tandoori chicken. Don’t believe me? Check out this survey I saw in a Japanese magazine!
Like I mentioned yesterday, the number one food Japanese people want to eat on Christmas day is fried chicken, followed by: #2 Roast beef, #3 Pizza, #4 Fried potatoes, #5 Sushi, #6 Tandoori chicken, and finally, #20. Garlic toast. Pretty random, isn’t it? As a Japanese person who has been living in America most of my adult life, I don’t understand this list either. By the same token, as a foreigner living in America for over 20 years, I don’t understand why people eat the same food on Thanksgiving and Christmas, which are both within a month of each other.
My husband is Jewish, so this year, we decided to go for a traditional Jewish Christmas dinner, Chinese food. This year, we were in New York City on Christmas day, so we hopped in a taxi to my favorite Chinese joint, Congee Village restaurant. Turns out our plans weren’t all that unique. When we arrived, we were told the wait would be 45 minutes, but after converting ‘hostess’ time to real time, our wait turned out to be an hour and a half.
I asked my husband what I thought was an obvious question: Did you grow up eating Chinese on Christmas? Surprisingly, his reply was a simple “no”. While he knows the stereotype, Jewish people eating Chinese food on Christmas was something he never experienced first hand; only on tv. But then again, he doesn’t like spicy mustard, so maybe he’s not completely in line with all the Jewish customs. It must be a tradition as there’s even a 1992 study of Jewish people and Chinese food by sociologists! Plus, the Chinese Restaurant Association officially thanked Jewish people for their patronage on that special day of the year! It must be true…I saw it on Facebook!
Maybe my husband’s Christmas tradition is tainted by the fact that he prefers anything to Asian food. As for me, I hope this Chinese food on Christmas tradition will continue because I love those ultra-rare occasions when my husband enjoys Asian food with me. At least I can eat well ONE day out of the year! Happy holidays!