Not So Far East

“The (corvina) fillet is boneless, fried to a crisp on the outside, yet still soft on the inside. The cubes of entrecote were stir-fried with diced celery and carrots, and served in a sizzling pan…” Shifra Zach found a way to make Chinese food and Kosher restrictions happily get along when she ate at Korusin, a Chinese restaurant in Ramat Gan.

Dining at Korusin puts one in a state of slight schizophrenia: on the one hand there is the oriental d?cor of reds & blacks, and items like chop sticks and porcelain spoons; on the other hand, it would be tough not to notice the religious (including orthodox) customers who make up part of the clientele (both in the main dining area and in the adjacent private events room). The fact that this is one of the few Chinese restaurants to proudly carry a strictly (glatt) kosher certificate and her location in Ramat Gan have evidently endeared this Israeli restaurant to the religious sector. I decide to go with Anat, a frequent flier to the Far East and, in my eyes, an expert on the various Asian cuisines. “So what do you eat when you visit China?” I ask inquisitively in order to find equivalent dishes in the long menu before me. “Oh, there is this great Italian place there,” she replies. Italian? In China? “Try to understand that in the truly authentic Chinese restaurants in China, I cannot communicate with the waiters and I have no clue what I will be served. Usually it has a number of legs and an odd color…”

Korusin, fortunately, presents no such problem. The cooks may be Chinese but the staff is Israeli and communicative, so there is no problem getting plenty of information on every dish, its ingredients, and flavors. Additionally, new dishes have recently been added which are not Chinese, for the benefit of those dining in a group in which some prefer more Western-oriented dishes.

As we munch down crispy dough appetizers, served with sweet & sour sauce and chili, we decide, at least in the beginning, to stick to the Asian option. The wonton soup here is something of a hit, maybe because, in the eyes of the aforementioned religious customers, the chicken soup with kreplach they know so well from home. I found it a little anemic, however. Anat asks for something spicier and is recommended the Khao Lao soup, described as a “piquant soup with noodles, coriander, sprouts, and soy.” Anat has a taste and says that the spiciness is moderated for the local palate and that the end result is quite good. To give it a little more kick she asks for some soy and teriyaki sauces, as is the custom in the land from which this food originated. These sauces also serve us with the appetizer platter which includes eggroll, dumpling, fried wonton, chicken crispy strips in batter.

For the main course we decide to give the sweet & sour a little rest and give something different a chance: corvina fillet with mashed potatoes for Anat, and stir-fried cubes of entrecote served with creamed sweet potatoes for myself. So, yes, it is true, no self-respecting Chinese person would eat mashed potatoes or creamed sweet potatoes in a Chinese restaurant, but the meat ad the fish are prepared in accordance with the principles of the Asian kitchen – fast and gentle cooking, preserving the original flavor. The fillet is boneless, fried to a crisp on the outside, yet still soft on the inside. The cubes of entrecote were stir-fried with diced celery and carrots, and served in a sizzling pan

We wrap things up by mixing east and west. First, a pitcher of Chinese green tea arrived. “In China,” Anat educates me, “the green tea is not served in a bag or an infusion like it is here, but rather is made of small tubers which float in the cup. They drink it and then spit the tubers out with dazzling speed.” China, however, is not the land of many desserts, so we have no problem forgoing some authenticity and enjoying our tea with a warm and sweet chocolate fondant with strawberry syrup and a refreshing fruit salad - sort of an Israeli-French-Chinese combination that makes us feel so very good.

1 Jabotinsky, Beit Dimol, Diamond Exchange Compound, Ramat Gan
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