The types of kosher Chinese food are extremely varied, as it is quite possible to produce a wide variety of Chinese dishes using kosher ingredients while in a kosher kitchen. Many typical Chinese recipes are easy to make in a home kitchen as well as in a commercial kosher Chinese food restaurant. These foods include appetizers, soups, and main dishes. Due to kosher restrictions on keeping some utensils and cooking and serving dishes separate from others, the primary issues confronted by those who desire kosher Chinese food is ensuring that it is correctly prepared under kosher conditions.
Many kosher Chinese restaurants exist in areas where there is a high Jewish population. The process for becoming a kosher restaurant can be fairly exhaustive, as a specially trained rabbi must typically inspect and certify the kitchen as well as its food supply. All ingredients used in the kitchen must be certified kosher as well. As Jewish dietary laws forbid the consumption of meat and dairy products together, most kosher restaurants specialize in serving one type of kosher cuisine, one that includes meat while the other type sells foods that includes or can be served with dairy products, including fish and vegetarian dishes.
As a general rule, dairy products do not play a significant role in many Chinese cuisines, so eliminating dairy ingredients in kosher Chinese food may not be a significant concern. What can get complicated, however, is that some condiments and processed foods may have dairy components that must not be included in kosher dishes. A more significant restriction on kosher Chinese food is that pork and shellfish are not kosher foods, and as these ingredients are often staples in many Chinese cuisines, a kosher Chinese chef will have to adapt or eliminate some favorites in deference to kosher rules. Another concern is that not all parts of even a kosher animal are necessarily kosher to eat. For example, kosher beef dishes would need to be made with cuts of beef that are acceptable for consumption under kosher rules.
Each Chinese restaurant that offers kosher food has its own menu and may reflect the preferences and ethnicity of its chefs and owners. As such, patrons of these restaurants may find that some have a stronger Mandarin emphasis, while others may specialize in Szechuan cuisine. It is also not unusual for kosher Chinese restaurants to offer Asian foods that are not Chinese, such as sushi or sashimi. Some will even include some Chinese twists on traditional Jewish foods, such as pastrami eggrolls on their menus.