Christmas Day doesn’t always mean opening presents and dressing up for family dinner.
Many Jewish students embrace a different tradition on the holiday. They can be found watching the latest releases at the movie theaters and embracing the long-standing American custom of enjoying Chinese food on Dec. 25.
So if you’re in the District on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day and looking for some Chinese fare, these three places will be serving dishes that hit the spot.
For a classic Chinese dinner – Tony Cheng
If you’re looking for a no-frills, sit-down Chinese restaurant, Tony Cheng is the place. Complete with white tablecloths and clippings of magazine articles raving about them on the walls, Tony Cheng is a classic dim sum restaurant. Dine on the first floor for Mongolian BBQ or head upstairs to fill your table with more traditional Chinese food.
Start your meal off with crab wontons filled with crab and cream cheese ($8.50) or you can order scallion pancakes ($4.50) or cold sesame noodles in a spicy peanut sauce ($7.95) to start. As for main dishes, you can order off the chef’s specialties list that features dishes like General Tso’s Shrimp ($21.95) or Sizzling Beef with Black Pepper Sauce ($19.95) endorsed by their chef. Although their prices are a little higher, the entrees are easy to share and make for great leftovers.
Tony Cheng is open every day from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m, including on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The central location and ability to host large groups makes Tony Cheng the perfect destination for a big family dinner.
619 H St. NW
For a modern meal out – Tiger Fork
Located in the heart of Shaw, Tiger Fork brings a taste of Hong Kong to the District. With a full bar, exposed brick walls and hanging white lanterns, Tiger Fork is chic while still incorporating some Asian decor. Since it opened in February, Tiger Fork has become a destination for upscale Chinese dining in the District.
Tiger Fork blends classic and modern cuisines with dishes like more traditional Chili Wontons stuffed with turkey and shrimp ($10) and modern Buffalo Tofu ($16), which consists of crispy tofu in a Chinese-style buffalo sauce made with Chinese chili garlic paste. Though Tiger Fork does offer meal-sized plates, the Dai Pai Dong section of their menu – named after a type of food stall in Hong Kong – features shareable, small plates that are perfect for a family dinner.
On Christmas Eve, Tiger Fork will be serving brunch from 10:30 a.m to 2:30 p.m. But on Christmas Day, Tiger Fork will be open from 2 to 8 p.m. serving food, cocktails and dessert to anyone who wants to sit down for a nice meal before an evening movie.
922 N St. NW
For quick and tasty takeout – China Boy
Look past China Boy’s underwhelming interior of only two tables and no decorations to find authentic takeout Chinese food. Located right in Chinatown, China Boy is one of the few genuine spots left in the area as Chinatown becomes more and more commercial.
Opt for a dish with their made-in-house rice noodles like a Beef Rice Noodle Crepe ($3.50), which is a pile of wide rice noodles stuffed with beef, or Chicken Chow Foon ($9.50), a dish with wide rice noodles, bok choy and spicy chicken. If you’re feeling more adventurous and want to craft a Chinese meal for your family on Christmas, China Boy also sells their rice noodles by the pound.
China Boy is not open on Christmas Eve, but the spot is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Christmas Day. With cheap prices, big portions and an early closing time, it’s a perfect contender for a takeout dinner to accompany a movie marathon cuddled up on the couch.
815 Sixth St. NW