When did large numbers of American Jews begin eating Chinese food?
When Jews first came to the United States, they kept close to their Jewish Eastern European traditions. The tenement districts of the Lower East Side were their world. They did not leave that world either physically or culturally. Observant East European Jews did not go out to restaurants because they did not know if the restaurant owners who claimed they kept kosher really kept kosher. But the sons and daughters of those immigrants, the first generation to be born in the United States, were a different story. They decided to become Americans and began to do things that Americans did. And one of the things that Americans did at that time was eat Chinese food. Eating Chinese in the 1920s and the 1930s was a very urban, sophisticated thing to do. It was cool, but it was also cheap, so they could afford it. 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 d