The time-honored Jewish holiday tradition of eating Chinese food on Christmas Eve lives on at these top urban restaurants

Din Tai Fung Soup Dumplings
Photo courtesy of Din Tai Fung

Growing up Jewish in New York City, my childhood was devoid of tree trimming, caroling, and Christmas cookie decorating. However, every Christmas Eve, when the streets were quiet and the holiday lights glowed from many a quiet storefront and apartment window, my family made its annual pilgrimage to our local Chinese restaurant, which was bustling with action. The December 24 tradition of dining on Chinese food has long been popular among American Jews from coast to coast, and it continues today at these beloved Chinese eateries in many cities across the West. So if you’re not setting out a plate of cookies for Santa, settle into one of these restaurants for an unbeatable holiday feast.

San Tung, San Francisco

This Chinese outpost in the avenues has long drawn crowds for its dry-fried chicken wings, black bean noodles, and more. If the wait is long, take heart that San Tung #2, right next door, has essentially the same menu.

R&G Lounge, San Francisco

Peking duck, salt and pepper crab, and more Cantonese favorites await at this much-loved Chinatown classic.

Kung Pao Kosher Comedy, San Francisco

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For something completely different, order up a serving of Jewish comedy with your chow mein at this dinner theater experience now in its 27th year.

Yang Chow, Los Angeles

A Los Angeles area favorite for over 40 years, this Mandarin-Szechuan eatery satisfies Christmas Eve diners in three locations with its decidedly unkosher slippery shrimp, pork fried rice, and more.

Sichuan Impression, Los Angeles and San Gabriel Valley

The San Gabriel Valley has a thriving Chinese cuisine scene and this spot stands out for its tea-smoked pork ribs, cold noodles, and other authentic Szechuan dishes. You can also dine at its West L.A. and Tustin locations.

Din Tai Fung, Los Angeles, Santa Clara, Seattle

Diners around the world clamor for the Taiwanese powerhouse‘s soup dumplings and other delights. This Christmas Eve, you can too at locations in L.A., Silicon Valley, and Seattle. And here’s a little holiday bonus, ICYMI: a new U.S. outpost is opening in Vegas next year.

Xi’an Noodles, Seattle

There might be no better way to spend Christmas Eve (or any evening, for that matter) than slurping up a plate of Xi’an’s hand-pulled noodles in this cozy U District spot

Harbor City Restaurant, Seattle

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Sunday traditions #dimsum

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Sure, they’re known for their dim sum, but this Seattle Chinatown eatery stays open late to turn out hot pot, egg foo-young, and more classic dishes.

Duck House Chinese Restaurant, Portland

A Szechuan-focused menu turns out dan dan noodles, xiao long bao, and more tasties that have kept Portland diners coming back again and again.

Master Kong, Portland

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This tiny spot in the Mt. Tabor area features the flavors of Northern China and has drawn accolades for its deftly handmade dumplings, beef brisket noodles, and jianbing.

HK BBQ Master, Richmond, B.C.

Richmond, B.C., a town by the Vancouver area airport, is known for having some of the best Chinese food outside of the motherland. This spot featuring (you guessed it) sumptuous barbecued meats has long been a hit among locals and visitors alike.

Super Star Asian Cuisine, Denver

Excellent dim sum, served all day at this Denver West hotspot—need we say more?

China Chili, Phoenix

All your Cantonese and Szechuan favorites, from orange chicken to Mongolian beef to peking duck, done super well: that’s what’s on tap for your holiday meal.

New Asian BBQ, Las Vegas

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New Asian BBQ.

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By day, it’s all about the dim sum. But come evening time, this spot serves up some of the best seafood and Cantonese barbecue in town.

Din Ho Chinese BBQ, Austin

Diners can opt for a more authentic menu or an Americanized one at this Austin eatery. No matter which menu you peep, their barbecued pork is not to be missed.