Were there other reasons why Jews preferred Chinese restaurants to, let’s say, American or Italian restaurants?
Chinese restaurant owners, unlike any other restaurant owners, did not discriminate. They did not care whether they served blacks, Jews or space aliens. They treated all their customers the same. This was unique at a time when a Jewish person could be turned away at the door of a restaurant. Imagine Groucho Marx showing up at Delmonico’s! But the Chinese restaurant owners didn’t care, and they were open 365 days a year. This included Christmas and Easter and all the Christian holidays and on Sundays, so you could get the food any time you wanted. How did Chinese food become “safe treyf”? One hurdle for Jews to get over was that Chinese food was filled with non-kosher ingredients like pork and shellfish. Some just held their nose and ate it, and I think after World War II, maybe in the late 1950s, there evolved this humorous concept of “safe treyf.” Obviously, treyf is forbidden but “safe treyf” means it’s forbidden but OK. If you can’t see the pork in the wonton soup stock, well, it’s
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