1010 Cherry Street Chinese Restaurant
1010 Cherry Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
1010 Cherry Street Chinese Vegetarian Kosher
Where ersatz is where it's at.
When I began searching for my next kosher destination, a friend asked "how about some great kosher vegetarian Chinese?" Now, I love Chinese food, and I'm also one who tries her best to get the recommended five servings of fruits and veggies a day-but I wondered how many configurations of vegetables and bean curd a restaurant could put together and still have a substantial enough menu to keep people coming back.
My doubts were put to rest when I gazed at the huge selection at Cherry Street Vegetarian Restaurant, at 1010 Cherry Street, right in the heart of Philadelphia's Chinatown-and once I took my first taste of their assortment of offerings, I understood why there are so many regulars.
"Shrimp" Toast for Two? Moo Shoo "Pork"? Sautéed Mushrooms with "Ham" and Kale? Oh yes, and all of them kosher
Vegan to boot. There are also "chicken," "duck," "fish," and "beef" and of course many rice, noodle, and
veggie dishes to round out the enormous menu. The chefs are masters with the ancient art of working wheat gluten and soy into copycat versions of poultry, meat, fish, and shellfish so that the kosher diner can experience the best of traditional Chinese dishes while observing Jewish dietary laws.
The Shrimp Toast appetizer-two crispy savory portions ($4.95)-was actually creamy mashed potato and scallion sandwiched between thin layers of bread and deep fried. The Combination Dumplings (9 steamed or pan-fried dumplings for $5.95) gave us a sample of three varieties-Vegetable, Rose (filled with shredded "pork"), and Jade (spinach dough filled with cellophane noodles and green vegetables). These were the prettiest tastiest dumplings I've had to date. For our soup course, we tried the Winter Melon with Golden Needle Mushroom Soup, a simple broth with slightly crisp un-sweet honeydew-like melon, and the Spinach with Tofu Soup with thinly sliced mock ham-light and flavorful.
Our dinner entrees did not disappoint either. My companions and I chose a "Make Your Own Platter" sampler ($7.25-$8.25): diners can choose from a large selection of veggies and mock meat, poultry or seafood selections and a variety of sauces-including black bean sauce, garlic sauce, brown sauce, wine sauce, and curry sauce-to put together their own dish. We also enjoyed the huge, tasty mock shrimp. These were a fun surprise-with a flavor and consistency remarkably close to the real thing. Our favorite choice of the night was the Sesame Lemon Beef-slices of tender mock beef with a creamy lemony sauce and sesame seeds. Other dishes we enjoyed were bright green steamed greens with shitake mushrooms and some excellent cold sesame noodles-the sauce was refreshing, lightly sweet, and a wonderful accompaniment to some of the saltier dishes.
Most major credit cards are accepted and the restaurant is open from 11 am to 10 pm on weekdays and 11 am till 10 pm on weekends; closed on Wednesdays. Under the supervision of the Rabbinical Assembly, Philadelphia Branch.
Whether you're a Vegan or an omnivore, I guarantee you'll be pleasantly surprised with the delicious food at 1010 Cherry Street Chinese.
Until we eat again . . .
Lisa Kelvin Tuttle
has professional experience in the gourmet, catering, and health-food fields, as well as being an experienced kosher camp cook. Her greatest pleasure, though, is cooking Shabbos dinner for family and friends. She is Communications Director for the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation and resides with her husband, Alan, and sons Adam and Jeremy in Wynnewood.
Fast, Easy Cold Sesame Noodles
These not spicy sesame noodles are very close in flavor and consistency to the ones I enjoyed at 1010 Cherry Street. If you prefer a slightly lighter version, leave out the peanut butter or tahini. If you like them spicy, add a few drops of Szechuan chili oil or a pinch or two of cayenne pepper.
- 1 pound thin spaghetti
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup toasted sesame oil
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter or sesame tahini (optional)
- 1 small cucumber, peeled and sliced into 2-inch julienne
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1/8 cup hulled sesame seeds
- Cook spaghetti in boiling water until al dente and drain thoroughly.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and peanut butter or tahini if using.
- Add the spaghetti and toss to coat with the sauce.
- Just before serving garnish with the cucumber and scallion and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Homemade Fortune Cookies
Fortune cookies are first baked, then molded, into their distinctive form. It's fun to compose and personalize your own fortunes. For a special occasion, dip one side of fortune cookies in melted chocolate.
- 1 tbsp. cornstarch
- 1/4 c. sugar
- 1/4 c. salad oil (such as corn or safflower)
- 2 egg whites (about 1/4 c)
- 1 tbsp. orange flower water or 2 tsp orange extract
- 1/2 tsp. grated orange rind
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- In mixer bowl stir together flour, cornstarch and sugar to combine thoroughly.
- Add oil and egg whites to flour mixture; beat at high speed until smooth. Mix in orange flower water and orange rind.
- Making just 2 or 3 cookies at a time, drop batter by level tablespoons, placed about 3 inches apart, onto a well-greased baking sheet. Use a small spatula or the back of a spoon to spread each portion of batter evenly to a 4-inch diameter circle.
- Bake until cookies are a light golden brown (10 to 12 minutes).
- Using a wide, flexible spatula, immediately remove 1 hot cookie at a time from baking sheet. Holding cookie flat with smooth side down (the side that was against the baking sheet), lay the paper strip with the fortune in center.
- Then quickly make the following folds. Gently fold cookie in half to make half-moon shape.
- With curved (open) side facing upward, create the second fold by balancing the center of the folded cookie (open edges up) across a thin-edged bowl or pan to crease cookie in half again, pushing corners together slightly.
- To preserve the traditional fortune-cookie shape, after cookie has cooled slightly and become firm, place each folded cookie, pointed ends down, in cup of muffin pan until cookies are completely cooled and feel firm to the touch.
- Using remaining batter, bake and shape and cool the rest of the cookies. Cookies will keep fresh in an airtight container or plastic bag for up to a week.
Makes 12 to 16 cookies.
Previously on the Kosher Table