BEIJING (JTA) – Below are some tips on how to do Beijing “Jewish style” during the 2008 Olympic Games:
Three davening and dining options on Friday night:
Chabad Beijing has two venues (www.chabadbeijing.com), both near many hotels
Main location: King’s Garden Villa, 18 Xiao Yun Rd Villa No. F1
During the Olympics, this location will have daily services three times a day. After Friday night and Saturday morning Shabbat services, the community walks 10 minutes to the kosher restaurant for meals.
Additional location: Jian Guo Men Diplomatic Building, Building 3, 2F, Room 23
This is a sub-branch that serves the Russian community and others staying in the Central Business District.
Contact: Rabbi Mendy Raskin: e-mail, email@example.com; phone, (86) 13366701744.
Kehillat Beijing (Egalitarian, lay-led, Reconstructionist)
Location: Third floor, Capital Club Athletic Center in the Capital Mansion.
Go to the Web site www.sinogogue.org for a thorough explanation of the location and a pronunciation guide for getting your taxi there. This building is well known by most cabbies and hotels, and is centrally located.
Note: On Saturday morning, Chabad is your only choice. Also, Kehillat will not have services on Friday night, Aug. 8, the night of the opening ceremony of the Games.
Dini’s Kosher Restaurant is a glatt kosher, non-dairy restaurant serving Chinese, Israeli and Jewish foods. (www.kosherbeijing.com has the menu). Dini’s will be open 24 hours a day during the Games and can deliver to hotels across the city. It can also vacuum-pack your food to bring to other cities on a China tour.
Biteapitta, two doors down from Dini’s, is an Israeli-owned, quasi-fast food Middle Eastern café, which serves more affordable fare than Dini’s but is sans kosher certification. If kashrut is not an issue and you are craving falafel, schwarma, hummus, babaganoush, shakshuka (and of course pita bread), Biteapitta is a good choice. Free wi-fi makes it a nice place to grab a bite or drink with your laptop.
Occasionally Chabad Beijing supervises kosher runs of pita bread in the restaurant’s bakery.
Location: 30 Tianze Lu, phone (86) 10 6467 2961
Hours: Sun-Thu 10 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri-Sat 9 a.m.-11p.m.
Several completely vegetarian restaurants in Beijing are Buddhist or Buddhist-themed with serene decor. The Pure Lotus chain has lavish interiors, food served in conch shells or platters brimming with dry ice, and oversized glossy menus that dedicate half the pages to poetry and photos of blades of grass as opposed to food.
A favorite is Baihe-Lily, a simple courtyard restaurant down a poorly marked alley. Baihe-Lily also has a location near the tourist site the Summer Palace.
To find vegetarian restaurants and shops in Beijing, go to www.happycow.net/asia/china/beijing. The site provides a quick table of vegetarian traveler phrases.
Many supermarkets sell imported food that includes kosher-labeled items. Look for the chains April Gourmet, Jenny Lou’s and Lo Hao Organic, which are almost entirely stocked with imported foods.