While many families will be enjoying turkey and mashed potatoes at home this Christmas, many others—particularly here in L.A.—will have visions of egg rolls dancing in their heads instead. Eating Chinese food on Christmas has been a tradition in the Jewish community for at least 100 years—Supreme Court justice Elena Kagan and director Stephen Spielberg have referred to it, SNL’s made fun of it, and college students write papers about it. Rabbi Joshua Eli Plaut, author of the book A Kosher Christmas, explains that the tradition began back in the early 19th century, when Chinese and Jewish immigrants lived near each other on New York City’s very crowded Lower East Side, and Chinese restaurants proliferated in the neighborhood. Nowadays, since most other restaurants are closed on Christmas Day, Christians and the non-affiliated alike have followed their lead.
To save you the trouble of calling around, here are spots from the Westside to the San Gabriel Valley that will be open on Christmas Day.
Atlantic Seafood & Dim Sum Restaurant lives up to its name with a massive menu of dim sum from steamed dumplings to fried dumplings to congee and even dessert dim sum, which is available from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on holidays. 500 N. Atlantic Blvd., Suite 200, Monterey Park; (626) 872-0388.
Los Feliz standby Chi Dynasty is all booked up for Christmas Day, but you still may be able to snag a table—and some of their yummy Beijing duck, Mongolian beef, and Chardonnay shrimp—on a first come, first served basis. They’re open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. 1813 Hillhurst Ave., Los Feliz; (323) 667-3388.
Dim sum spot Elite Restaurant has a massive menu that includes two types of duck—not to mention jellyfish. They’re open till 9 p.m. as usual on Christmas Day. 700 S. Atlantic Blvd. Monterey Park; (626) 282-9998.
Fu’s Palace has an eye-catching roofline and, even better, a full liquor bar. Families love this cozy, reliable spot for Mandarin and Szechwan faves. 8751 W. Pico Blvd., Pico-Robertson; (310) 271-7887.
Open till midnight on Christmas Day, Full Moon House has a special place on its menu for chef’s recommendations like sauteéd pork stomach with special sauce, cumin sliced lamb, and Hong Kong-style clams. 960 Hill St., Chinatown; (213) 537-0792.
Appropriately named for the occasion, Genghis Cohen will be open from noon to 10 p.m., and it’s perfect for those looking for NYC-style Chinese food—and that classic feel with lots of red lanterns hanging from the ceiling. They’re already booking up, so time is of the essence. 740 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax; (323) 653-0640.
Hop Woo BBQ & Seafood has a menu as long as Ulysses and portions that last you two more meals. They recommend booking a table in advance: “That day, we are very very busy.” 11110 W. Olympic Blvd., Sawtelle; (310) 575-3668.
Joss Cuisine, famous for their Peking duck, Maine lobster, and mustard prawns, will be open from noon to 10 p.m. on Christmas Day. Make a reservation if you still can; it’s popular and bound to be busy. 9919 Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills; (310) 277-3888.
Lunasia Dim Sum House has is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., serving dishes like mushroom dumplings with truffle, supreme beef balls, and a sticky rice wrap. 239 E. Colorado Blvd, Pasadena; (626) 793-8822.
Mandarette Café, one of Beverly Grove’s best-loved Chinese hangouts, recommends reservations on Christmas Day. If you can snag a table, keep in mind that their most requested dishes are their strawberry shrimp and lemon chicken. 8386 Beverly Blvd., Beverly Grove; (323) 655-6115.
WP24 Wolfgang Puck’s Chinese restaurant on the 24th floor at the Ritz Carlton hotel downtown is closed Christmas day, but Nest at WP24, its chic lounge, is open from 5 to 10 p.m. Make reservations—the prawn toast, Peking duck, chili dan dan dumplings, rice and sale and pepper shrimp have a very loyal following. Ritz Carlton, 900 W. Olympic Blvd., downtown; (213) 743-8824.
A Chinatown institution for 35 years, Plum Tree Inn serves specialties including Beijing duck, spicy crispy prawns, and Lion’s Head (braised meatballs served with Chinese cabbage) from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Christmas Day. 913 N. Broadway, Chinatown; (213) 613-1819.
Once called “the most ambitious Chinese restaurant to open in Los Angeles in a decade” by the late Jonathan Gold, Shanghai No. 1 Seafood Village is business as usual on Christmas Day. Try the house specialties. Note: they close between lunch and dinner, from 3 to 5:30 p.m. 250 W. Valley Blvd, San Gabriel; (626) 282-1777.
The universally beloved Sichuan Impression—which now has a location on the Westside as well as in Alhambra—open the usual hours on Christmas Day. Gorge on cold noodles and tea-smoked ribs. Note: they close between lunch and dinner, from 2:45 to 5 p.m. 1900 W. Valley Blvd., Alhambra; (626) 283-4622 | 11057 Santa Monica Blvd., Westwood; (310) 444-7171.
Yang Chow is serving Mandarin and Szechuan cuisine—shrimp toast, cold sesame noodles, and their famous Slippery Shrimp—till 9:30 p.m. for those looking for an earlier dinner. 819 N. Broadway, Chinatown; (213) 625-0811.
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