Call it jealousy over decorated pine trees or disappointment at the lack of a Jewish equivalent of that creepy Elf on the Shelf, but over the decades Jews have created their own non-commercial, non-religious tradition of dining out in the spirit of A Christmas Story.
Because nothing beats kvetching about holiday commercialism over plate of orange chicken and fried rice. To honor this grand Jewish tradition -- and give other families that accidentally scorch the holiday ham beyond recognition a place to go -- we've compiled a helpful list of local Chinese food restaurants that will welcome Jews and gentiles alike on Christmas Day:
- Lychee Inn at 1138 E. Baseline Road in Tempe is open from noon-10 p.m on Saturday, December 25. Specialties include spicy house chicken, sizzling rice dishes and a fried banana dessert. Call 480-838-5959.
- Tottie's Asian Fusion at 7901 E Thomas Rd. in Scottsdale is known for their Tottie Rolls -- crisp pork-filled egg rolls wrapped in romaine lettuce. In addition to the standard sweet & sour pork or garlic chicken, Tottie's also offers Vietnamese and Thai dishes. Open 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Call 480-970-0633.
Flo's Chinese Cuisineat 15027 N. Thompson Peak Pkwy. in Scottsdale is open for dinner from 4-9 p.m. on Christmas Day.
- Satisfy your handmade pasta cravings at Chandler's popular China Magic Noodle House on Dobson from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
- Not sure what you want to eat? Lin's Grand Buffet at 7406 W. McDowell Rd. (623-846-2631) and the brand new Lin's at 3955 E Baseline Rd. in Phoenix will be dishing up dozens of Chinese favorites, plus sushi and Mongolian stir-fry, from 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m. on Christmas.
- We had a bizarre affection for the musty smell and funky glass jar divider walls of the old Autumn Court building, but their nice new digs at 3752 E. Indian School Rd. in Phoenix are sure to fill up faster on holidays. Open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. on Christmas Day. Call 602-234-0512 for reservations.
- China Chan at 10227 N. Metro Pkwy. in Phoenix will be open 9:30 a.m.-10 p.m. on December 25. Call 602-331-1313 for menu information.
- Order some Szechwan Shrimp and egg rolls to-go from Goodyear's Beijing Chinese Food at 14270 W Indian School Rd. between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m., or pop by the sit-down strip mall restaurant for a full meal with friends. Call 623-535-8387.
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This list is just the tip of the holiday iceberg, but don't assume that every Chinese restaurant in town is open on December 25. Call first, ask for reservations, and have a velly Melly Chlistmas...Fa, ra, ra, ra, rah!