Everyone knows that on Christmas there are only a few things for Jews to do:
Go to your friends house and watch them open presents under their tree
Have brunch with your family who celebrates Christmas – maybe get some presents??
Eat Chinese food and go to the Movies
No matter what you decide to do this Christmas, you should 100% consider doing #3 – it is the best. This list can help you find some of the best places to eat Chinese food on Christmas in Chicago (and the suburbs…maybe). Looking for more kosher options? Check out this list of kosher restaurants serving Chinese food!
This recommendation came from Jake Einhorn – a super kid I took on Camp Chi’s Pacific North West (PNW) trip in 2013. (They grow up so fast!) While this picture above shoes some very not kosher crispy pork, you can try the 554–BBQ Pork with Rice and Eggs. You know, you could get it without the pork and it would just be rice and eggs – which seems like it could be kosher style, at least. This place is popular after White Sox games and can even be sought out after a Bulls or Blackhawks game at the United Center.
Phoenix Restaurant – 2131 S Archer Ave
Got a big family with a bigger appetite? The family that recommended this restaurant can give you a run for your money, thanks Lynne and Sarah Petty! If you think you have it in you, grab a banquet table at Phoenix Restaurant in Chinatown and make plans to stay for a while. You might want to consider wearing that Buddy the Elf onesie you got for Chanukah because you can end up eating a lot here. They serve dim sum all day – but with a limited menu. Don’t like dim sum? Don’t worry – they have an epic menu that will feed carnivores and vegetarians alike.
Two words – soup dumplings. Thank you Laura Elkayam from Silverstein Base Hillel: Base LOOPfor this River North recommendation (even if unconfirmed if she has eaten there…) While they may have their haters, Imperial La Mian is a great option if grabbing an Uber or the Red Line down to Chinatown is doing too much on Christmas. Convenient, especially if you happen to be working on Christmas for some reason. Imperial La Mian offers lunch and dinner and might impress your intern that you had over winter break that is spending Christmas with you too because they didn’t have a place to stay where they could easily get to work, you are the best cousin ever btw. Check it out and check @ChiCityFoodie out who took that epic photo.
Really, why did Shaily Hakimianand Hilary Primack never just send a message to ChiTribe’s Facebook about Joy Yee’s before? A quick look on Instagram shows endless Bubble Tea, Bubble Waffles and tasty food galore. In fact, it might be difficult to continue reading this because you might be ordering a Lyft right now to take you there. See you at Belmont to transfer to the Purple Line. Joy Yee’s has a cult following and you can take your friend who won’t eat fried foods but loves ice cream, it will all work out at Joy Yee’s.
Where to start? Bone-in lamb or the cumin soup and lamb dumplings, why not both?! This place fulfills your greatest dreams, and it is BYOB. Now, this recommendation comes from Robert Lipman who was a student at The University of Chicago and now lives in Columbus, but he says that when he lived in Chicago it was one of his favorite spots, #UChicagoDiaspora. Pro-tip – ask for the Chinese menu with English translations to get the best experience here.
Peking Duck on Christmas, it just sound sweet to the ears. Sun Wah BBQ is the place to grab a group of friends and order a duck. Then, they will serve it to you Bubba Gump style – duck soup, duck buns, duck rice, duck noodles, fried duck, roast duck, anything you can think – and it is delicious. James Beard names Sun Wah a classic in January of 2018. You have to see it to believe it, make a reservation and let us know how it goes!
Thanks to Jon Danzig for recommending Lao Sze Chuan on his birthday! (Happy birthday!) Grab the Dan Dan noodles and up the spice! The best part of this place is that there is a location in the Nordstrom building on Michigan Avenue . You know, Lao Sze Chuan is perfect for shopping – or even better – returning. Get your Nordstrom rewards and soak it in after with some authentic Chinese food right downtown.
So you went to the Nordstrom building but there was a wait for Lao Sze Chuan – no worries just grab a sample and make a decision quick at Panda Express. A two entree plate with Orange Chicken, Beijing Beef and Mixed Veggies on the side (aren’t you on a diet?) Perfect when shopping or if you are heading to an event at the Spertus Institute there is one right off the red line at Harrison and State, you’re welcome.
Jade Court may be a place that you should run to on Christmas – or maybe avoid forever. Phil Vettel thinks this may be one of the best Chinese restaurants in Chicago. Pictured above – the Typhoon Lobster is just one of the menu items that may make your mouth water. You can try their flash fried eggplant, peking duck and the holy grail – KING CRAB could leave you feeling jolly. Thanks to Elizabeth Gossage of Bridges 613 for this tip!
Chi-Tung – 9560 S Kedzie
For all our south siders, you don’t have to travel far for this Chi-Tung. A huge menu with huge tables for huge groups. Sit down at the hibachi and go nuts. WTTW’s Check Please had a go at this one and their conversation about it was…interesting. This recommendation came from Lauren Borrowdale who throws a pretty sweet Christmukkah party!
Cai Dim-Sum is your elegant hangover brunch aesthetic. Tea, dumplings, soup – if you get dressed up after partying all Christmas Eve, then Cai Dim-Sum is for you. Right in the heart of Chinatown, you are definitely taking an Uber there, not an Uber Pool this time. This recommendation comes from someone with a good eye, Jason Finch. Catch him there with Ela, they have an incredible wedding photography business in Chicago,Studio Finch.
Where to eat Chinese food when you visit China around 100 days a year? Daniel Meer suggests Chengdu Impression on the North Side for your Sichuan fantasies – and he isn’t the only one. When Timeout asked Chicago chefs where they order takeout, Split-Rail chef and owner, Zoe Schor, called out Chengdu Impression’s pan-fried dumplings, scallion pancakes and dry chili chicken – she said the chicken is “so dope.”
Wait – Picante does not sound Chinese! Well, on Christmas Day this year Picante, is transforming into a ChiTribe Chinese Food and Chillvenue. Housed in a former Jewish Funeral Home, Picante usually serves up Mexican food and drinks and offers a sweet patio during the summer. You can stop by and, grab Chinese food, hang out with a movie and even get a free drink with your ticket.
Whether you eat with friends, family or order in by yourself – we wish you a very Jewish Christmas from all of us at ChiTribe!