The Jewish Guide to Visiting China

Does this sound like you:

First: “Wow, I’m going to China!”

Next: “Wow, I’m going to China — what the heck will I eat?  Should I just pack 2 dozen cans of tuna fish?”

China has been fascinating the world for centuries with its culture, cuisine, and history. In the last two decades, China’s economy, bringing with it countless business opportunities, has encouraged millions to visit and to do business. Plenty of Jews — from the United States, Europe, and Israel — now travel to China every yea.

But for observant Jews, there are challenges: It can be hard enough to get kosher food in certain parts of the world. But what can (and should) you do in China, where most people are still fascinated to meet a visitor from the West, and know little or nothing about Jews, Judaism, and our observances? You can generally expect a non-Jewish American or European to know that Jews don’t eat pork, or that we fast on Yom Kippur. Neither is true in China.

If you’re planning a trip to China, whether for business or pleasure, and you have had these thoughts and concerns, then you’re not alone.  My guide is is explicitly designed to help you, calm you down, and give you the resources you need so that you can concentrate on your trip, spending as little time worrying about these details.

Most observant Jews I know who travel to China are simultaneously excited and concerned. My guide aims to remove your concerns, so that you can enjoy the excitement of a trip to China.

Who am I?

reuven-headshotI’m Reuven Lerner, an American-Israeli consultant and lecturer who travels to China 2-3 times each year on business, for a total of 10 trips in four years.

Since my first trip in 2011, I have become increasingly fascinated with Chinese culture and language; I see each trip as a chance to explore, experiment, and learn new things about this huge and fascinating country. I have been studying Chinese since July 2014, and also publish “Mandarin Weekly,” a free newsletter that summarizes the best online resources for students and teachers of Chinese.

But as someone who observes kashrut and Shabbat, my first trip to China was preceded by no small degree of panic, starting with what (and where) I could eat. I spoke with as many people as possible, getting advice from them before my trip. But there was no central location from which I could get reliable, useful information — other than the Chabad sites in China, which are limited in scope and assume that you will want to eat all of your meals at or from Chabad.

In early 2015, after I was asked for advice from several colleagues and friends before they traveled to China, I decided that the time had come to write down my experiences and advice, offering them to all Jews who are traveling to China for business or pleasure. Most of my experience is in Beijing and Shanghai, but when I went to Nanjing in mid-2015, I found that my accumulated knowledge applied there, as well.

What is in the book?

cover-loresThe Jewish Guide to Visiting China is aimed at people planning to go to one or more major Chinese cities for business or pleasure. It includes extensive descriptions of where and how to buy food, what to do on Shabbat, and what you can expect Chinese people to know and say about Jews and Judaism. It also includes numerous travel tips that are useful to anyone visiting China, regardless of whether they are Jewishly observant. This 45-page ebook has already been updated twice in 2015; with every trip I make to China, I add new details, suggestions, and updates to make sure that it’s as current as possible.

Here is the full table of contents:

  • Traveling to China
  • Jews and China
  • Kosher food
  • Shabbat
  • What to bring on your trip
  • Using money
  • Getting around in China
  • Internet usage in China
  • Learning Chinese (Yes, really!)
  • Background reading before your trip

Once you purchase the book, you’ll receive (for free) any and all updates I make to the book. If you’re planning to visit China on a regular basis, then you’ll find that this guide changes and improves over time, reducing your stress over multiple trips.

Beyond the book

If you’re Jewish and planning to visit China, then I’m sure that my book will save you a great deal of time and stress, both before and during your trip. However, I realize that a book can only go so far in answering your questions. For those people who want to go beyond the basics of this book, I’m offering a premium package, which includes a 30-minute phone or Skype conversation in which I’ll answer whatever questions you might have.  This is particularly useful for businesspeople who are traveling to China for the first time, and want to understand what they’re getting themselves into.

This means that there are two ways for you to reduce your stress before your China trip, and to better understand what to expect when you arrive:

Deluxe package ($75):

  • ebook (in PDF, Mobi, and ePub formats)
  • lifetime, free updates to the book, typically 2-3 times each year
  • 30-minute Skype/phone call in which I address your specific questions
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Buy the deluxe package

Book only ($10):

  • ebook (in PDF, Mobi, and ePub formats)
  • lifetime, free updates to the book, typically 2-3 times each year
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Buy the book

Regardless of which package you choose, I promise that my guide will improve the quality of your trip to China. If you aren’t sure which to choose, then please feel free to e-mail me at, or on WeChat (微信) as “ReuvenLerner”.

Not sure?

Maybe you aren’t sure if this ebook will really answer your questions, and improve your coming trip to China. Even if it’s not, I want you to be as prepared as possible for your trip. Fill out the below form, and I’ll send you the most important things you need to know about being a Jewish visitor to China:

Regardless, I wish you a successful, interesting, and comfortable journey to one of the world’s most fascinating countries.