Bintel Blog

What’s Missing From Jewish Life in Israel? Decent Chinese Food

By Daniel Treiman

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Reuters reports:

Asian restaurants across the country went on a one-day spring roll strike on Tuesday in protest over government plans to rid kitchens of foreign chefs, and said sushi and noodles would be the next items off the menu.

The restaurants are angry at the state’s plans to purge Japanese, Chinese and Thai eateries of Asian cooks and replace them with Israelis as part of a broader program to cut the number of foreigners working in Israel.

The Ethnic Restaurant Organization said the country’s 300 Asian restaurants refused to serve spring or egg rolls - among their most popular dishes — on Tuesday, and planned a follow-up strike in two weeks for sushi and noodles.

“Today there is no egg roll and in two weeks time there will be no sushi and noodles,” Arnon Volosky, head of the organization, told Reuters.

But Jewschool’s “Rooftopper Rav” rants that Asian food in Israel already sucks:

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. On a purely culinary level this is absurd. Israel’s Asian food already tends toward the awful. So awful, in fact, that senior Chinese Embassy official Xuan Chan broke with diplomatic protocol a few years ago and publicly called Israeli Chinese restaurants “disgusting.” (Thai, Chinese, and to a lesser extent Japanese food in Israel seems to mean sauteed meat and veggies or noodles with either a fluorescent pink or yellow sugary sauce dumped on top. Sushi is definitely better, but could be better.) If Asian chefs are currently cooking in Israel’s Asian restaurants– which I’m skeptical about, at least in half of the Asian places I’ve been to– they’re cooking to perceived local tastes, not to Asian standards. I’m doubtful that Israeli chefs would do better. I’m also somewhat skeptical that there are 900 (the number of Asian chef permits currently issued by the government) Israelis who’d be thrilled to jump into an Asian cooking job retraining program, should the government dream one up, which is also highly unlikely, but who knows.


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