I recently had a disagreement with my mother-in-law about time. She said that we didn’t have time for her and I countered that it’s her that doesn’t have the free time for us. Upon giving this further thought, I realized that we are basically both right – time really is our most precious commodity. I phoned up my mother-in-law and spontaneously asked her to join me for a Chinese dinner that very night. My spontaneous mother-in-law, who also just happens to love Chinese food, immediately gave me a positive answer. The location I chose was a kosher Chinese place famous as a place that doesn’t compromise on food quality or atmosphere. The Kosher Chinese is located on top of the Carmel mountain in the Nof (‘Lookout’) Hotel. The huge windows in the restaurant look out over a stunning, absolutely breathtaking view of Haifa Bay. We sat next to the window, discussed the varied menu and tried to decide what to order. We chose to take guidance from our lovely waiter who was happy to help.
To start we ordered the soup, of course. You can’t go for Chinese food without ordering soup – even if it’s August and 35 degrees outside. My mother-in-law ordered the won-ton soup and I ordered the corn soup. The larger than average soups bowls of steaming liquid gave off wonderful aromas. Slowly, we sipped our soups, not giving any thought to the passing time.
Then came the vegetable egg rolls and Chinese salad. The Kosher Chinese didn’t take pity on us this time either and we were served especially generous potions. The egg roll was crisp and hot, and was served to us straight out of the pan. The Chinese salad offered flavours of spicy radish and sweet carrot in a vinegar and toasted sesame dressing. We enjoyed the salad and the egg roll, which we coated in much loved sweet red sauce.
For the main dish we ordered beef, mushroom and bamboo shoots. For those who aren’t familiar, bamboo shoots are actually sprouts from a bamboo tree – they are very tasty and lent the dish a rather earthy flavour. This portion, like the appetizers, was especially generous and my mother-in-law was in Chinese food heaven. I ordered the fried duck, which is meant to be one of the restaurant’s best dishes. The pieces of duck come covered in an incredibly crisp batter. The dish is accompanied by a slightly spicy sauce that gives it a rich and quite special taste. At one point, our forks began wandering over to the other one’s plate (as you can gather we gave up on the chop sticks early on). We thoroughly enjoyed both dishes. During the entire meal we were impressed with three things that are rare to find together these days: attractively plated and generously sized dishes, excellent and personal service and reasonable prices – The Kosher Chinese offers all three to its customers.
For dessert my mother-in-law had an espresso and I had a strong herb tea. We didn’t give up on the fried banana that arrived hot and dripping with maple syrup. At the end of the meal we agreed that not everything is a question of time and the biggest expense is actually wasting time on fights and arguments. At that, we hugged and went into the gorgeous Carmel night full and happy.
The Kosher Chinese Restaurant at the Nof Hotel
101 Hanasei Boulevard, Nof Hotel, Haifa.