For most, Christmas dinner is synonymous with huge baked hams and eggnog. However, for some, specifically those who don’t celebrate the holiday in a traditional sense, there’s a world of ritual that goes beyond the tree, Santa Claus, and caroling.
For generations, Jewish Metro Detroiters have celebrated Christmas with a meal that, while seemingly unrelated to the day, has become a distinct annual staple: Chinese food.
Whether you’re all in on General Tsao’s chicken, or loyal to the lo mein, we’ve got you covered on the best Chinese to bring your holiday tradition to a new level.
Located on Orchard Lake Rd. in Farmington Hills, Hung Hua combines an elite, white tablecloth dining experience with time-tested classics. The menu is extensive and features fresh seafood and chef’s specials that are sure to impress. If it’s your first time, you can’t leave without trying the Peking duck. This dish is served either with honey-glazed and alongside Chinese crepes with scallions and Hoisin sauce and (2)stir-fried with Chinese vegetables. The entreé is designed to be shared, so with an app or two, you’ve got a full feast for the entire family.
Just down the street from Hung Hua, Shangri-La is Metro Detroit’s go-to spot for traditional Cantonese cuisine and all-day dim sum. Originally from Thailand, owner Cholada Chan owned and operated an Asian market for 20 years, but grew tired of traveling to Windsor to get her dim sum fix. Thus, Shangri-La was born. The restaurant features several curry dishes, an ode to Chan’s native roots, but predominantly features authentic Chinese cuisine and the best selection of dim sum staples in town. If it’s your first time, be sure to try the egg custard pastries for a sweet finish to your meal.
While Chinese soup dumplings have caught on throughout the United States, very few local establishments include the delicacy on their menu. That’s why Metro Detroiters flock to Jeff’s Kitchen in Walled Lake. Imagine classic dumplings, but filled with piping hot broth and your choice of meat or vegetables. Aficionados debate the best way to consume the dish. To avoid burning yourself, try poking a small hole with your chopsticks and drinking a little bit of the broth before taking on the entire dumpling.
Unassuming along Dequindre Rd. in Madison Heights, Liang’s Oriental Barbeque specializes in traditional Cantonese BBQ. It’s an experience you can’t find anywhere else. Upon entering the restaurant, you’re greeted by massive hunks of meat hanging behind the counter. Make your selection of roasted duck, pork, and beef belly, and marvel as your butcher cleaves your portion on sight. No credit cards are accepted here, so be sure to bring cash.