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For the team at DGS Delicatessen, and many Jews, it’s tradition to spend Christmas eating Chinese food. Chef Barry Koslow has long frequented Peking Gourmet in Falls Church when the holiday rolls around. “It just seems to be the Jewish thing to do,” Koslow says. “They say it’s one of their busiest days of the year. And it’s all Jews.”
Now, DGS Delicatessen is putting its own twist on the tradition with a Christmas eve feast that combines Jewish deli and Chinese staples. The $37 dinner starts with Reuben egg rolls (stuffed with corned beef and sauerkraut) with a spicy Russian dressing sauce and matzo ball egg drop soup. The second course: pastrami lo mein plus kung pao chicken livers with celery and cashews. And the meal concludes with confit “peking” duck served with hoisin sauce, scallions, and gribenes (fried chicken skin), as well as kasha fried rice.
“I might be crazy, but I think there’s a lot of similarities in Chinese food and Jewish food,” Koslow says. “Take the pork out and the soy sauce…On the whole, you have this food that can be sweet or it can be salty and usually kind of fatty and rich. That’s kind of where they meet.”
The Chinese banquet will be available on Dec. 24 only from 5 to 9:30 p.m. The restaurant will not be open on Christmas day. “None of our staff is Jewish,” co-owner Nick Wiseman explains. “It’s cruel and unusual to make anyone who’s not Jewish work on Christmas.”
But if you miss the meal, all hope to try the dishes is not necessarily lost. “If people overwhelmingly love something, typically it’ll return in some shape or form, either as a special or on the happy hour menu,” Koslow says. “You never know.”