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'Woks and Lox' Offers Jewish-Asian Christmas Eve Alternative

ASTORIA — Time to break out the latkes and...soy sauce?

A Queens couple is giving lonely New Yorkers a place to celebrate this Christmas Eve with their second-annual "Woks and Lox" party — a night of festivities that aims to showcase Jewish and Asian food and culture all in one place, complete with wonton pierogies and games of mah-jongg.

Woodside resident Jeff Orlick, 31, and his girlfriend, Veronica Chan, 25, of Long Island City, started Woks and Lox last year, inspired by years of Orlick being a lonely Jewish boy with nowhere to go on Christmas but his local Chinese takeout spot.

"Every Christmas growing up, there was really not much for me to do, being a Jew on the South Shore of Long Island. There weren't many other Jews around," said Orlick, a food blogger who gives eating tours of Queens. "Chinese restaurants have always been the only ones open on Christmas Eve and Christmas, and we wanted to kind of celebrate that."

Woks and Lox will take place on Dec. 24 at Astoria eatery The Queens Kickshaw on Broadway, the same spot where it was first celebrated last year.

"Ever since the first lonely Jew ordered Chinese takeout on Christmas, there has been an undeniable bond between Jews and Asians. This Christmas Eve, we want to wipe away those lonely tears and celebrate our combined heritage," the event boasts on its website.

Dining choices include a full-on dinner menu, or a "nosh party" option made up of appetizers and snacks. Both will feature an assortment of Jewish-Chinese fusion dishes whipped up by Shanghai-born chef Chichi Wang.

Though this year's menu is still being finalized, last year's eats can give potential party-goers a glimpse of what's to come: that feast included shiitake ginger matzoh ball soup, potato and scallion wonton pierogies, and wok-fried bagel strips.

Special to this year's celebration is a collaboration with SingleCut Beersmiths, a new brewery set to open in Astoria next week that made a special matzo-Szechuan peppercorn beer just for the occasion.

The festivities will also include a Chinese auction, a type of raffle where ticket-buyers get to choose what prize they want to try their odds on.

And the Jewish-Asian inspired fun doesn't end there.

"Instead of a band, we're going to have four mah-jongg ladies playing in the front," Orlick said.

Woks and Lox will take place on Monday, Dec. 24, at The Queens Kickshaw, 40-17 Broadway. Click here for tickets or more information.