14 September 2011

Pastrami Egg Rolls and the Jewish Love of Chinese Food

Pastrami Egg Rolls and the Jewish Love of Chinese Food, by By Josh Ozersky (Time, 14 September 2011)

The scene was a freakish one at RedFarm the other night. The tiny modern Chinese restaurant, which opened a few weeks ago in Manhattan, was a veritable who's who of the food media. Rachael Ray was at a table next to mine; Top Chef's Gail Simmons was sitting next to me with RestaurantGirl.com's Danyelle Freeman; Ace of Cakes star Duff Goldman was a couple of tables away. And circulating freely about the room, making small talk and working the crowd, was neither the chef, the brilliant Joe Ng, nor the owner, Jeffrey Chodorow, but instead a portly, bespectacled Chinese-food nerd named Ed "Eddie Glasses" Schoenfeld, who had put the restaurant concept together. Ng, who lets his cooking do the talking, is essentially a silent partner.

Now, if you're wondering how a Jewish guy from Brooklyn has come to be the public face of a Chinese restaurant, then you probably aren't Jewish. The connection between Jews and Chinese food is so well established that it's been commented on in academic papers and mused about by Chinese and Jewish thinkers alike. There was even a Gilmore Girls episode about it, and what more proof can you need than that? Eddie Glasses is merely the most extreme expression of the trend, a Jewish guy who made himself, by sheer geekery, a Chinese-food guru.
Link: Pastrami Egg Rolls and the Jewish Love of Chinese Food