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Eat and Drink

Chinese food for Christmas in New York City

For plenty of New Yorkers, Christmas day means a Chinese food feast.

Chinese cuisine on Christmas is a long-loved Jewish tradition, and there are plenty of theories as to why, some of which the Atlantic rounded up.

While many restaurants are closed on the holiday, Chinese restaurants (and movie theaters, another part of the tradition) are often open. There's little-to-no dairy in Chinese food, which theoretically can make it easier to keep kosher, at least if you don't order pork or shellfish.

And as Jennifer 8. Lee, producer of "The Search for General Tso" noted to the Atlantic, Jews and Chinese immigrants made up the largest block of non-Christian immigrants on Manhattan's Lower East Side — where today you can still take a meandering walk along Grand Street and watch Chinese restaurant storefronts give way to kosher bakeries.

But Jewish or not, Chinese food is a fine option for anyone who doesn't feel like cooking or perhaps isn't making a trip home for the holidays this year.

Here's a selection of restaurants that are open on either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day to fuel your holiday, whether you celebrate or not. Be sure to check back for more.

Kings County Imperial

This Chinese food favorite, known for its authentic
Photo Credit: Levi Miller

This Chinese food favorite, known for its authentic regional flavors, is a good choice for a Christmas dinner because there's no set menu and there are two locations -- Williamsburg for Brooklynites and the Lower East Side for Manhattanites. From dim sum to noodles, stir fry to fried rice and everything in between, Kings County Imperial is offering a feast for those who come in from noon to 10 p.m. It's also open Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. (20 Skillman Ave. in Williamsburg, 718-610-2000;168 1/2 Delancy St. in Manhattan, 212-475-0244;

Mile End Deli

Mile End Deli is promising a Christmas feast
Photo Credit: Mile End Deli

Mile End Deli is promising a Christmas feast on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. For $75 per person and $35 per child, guests can count on a full menu including garlic cucumber salad, smoked whitefish Rangoon, brisket bao, hot and sour soup, Schmaltzed chow fun, General Tso's Chicken, egg custard, pineapple and fortune cookies and more. (97 Hoyt St., 646-617-3188,

Pinch Chinese

Pinch has a three-course prix-fixe menu all about
Photo Credit: Pinch Chinese

Pinch has a three-course prix-fixe menu all about Chinese comfort food. For $75, choose from soup dumplings, charred octopus, house special shrimp, or spicy wontons to start; peking duck, cha shao pork ribs, Creekstone Farms prime ribeye with black pepper, or eight treasures with pea shoots and garlic for the main course; and a "chef's selection" of desserts. The eatery, which has an extensive natural wine program, has pairing add-ons, including the "sommelier pairing" at $88 per person,  including sparkling or white wine, merlot, and an Italian sweet wine or cocktail; and the "wine director pairing" at $120 per person, which includes a glass of champagne, reserve red wine, and reserve dessert wine and Amaro. (177 Prince St., 212-328-7880,


Choose from an a la carte menu or
Photo Credit: Geoff Lung

Choose from an a la carte menu or one of three special prix-fixe menus fit for the size of your family. All three prix-fixes include champagne-glazed vine tomatoes and DaDong's "SuBuNi" Roast Duck (pictured) served with sugar, pancakes, crispy sesame buns, and special sauce. A family-style menu for two ($76 per person) has squid ink soup, baked Chilean bass, and 'nata' egg custards for dessert and the family-style menu for four ($78 per person) will include dishes like cherry foie gras, a roasted rack of lamb, and glazed caramel apples. The 'Premium' family-style menu for four to six ($598 total) includes lion's head, crispy prawns, seared cauliflower with red chili and more. (3 Bryant Park, 212-355-9600,


The Standard's Narcissa is planning a Chinese dinner
Photo Credit: Chris Leaman

The Standard's Narcissa is planning a Chinese dinner featuring five courses for $88 per person with dishes like General Tso's cauliflower, Hong Kong-style pork belly and, for those who want some Italian thrown in there, spaghetti carbonara. There will be an a la carte menu available also. (25 Cooper Sq., 212-228-3344,


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