A popular kosher Chinese restaurant in Manalapan, NJ, has suddenly closed its doors to business after serious allegations against the eatery surfaced on Monday morning.
Video of an individual who is ostensibly the owner of the restaurant shows the man buying what appears to be non-kosher chicken and meat from a nearby wholesale establishment, and allegations against the store and its kashrus certifier, the OK, immediately began swirling.
Little is yet known about the veracity of the allegations – neither the store nor the OK have responded to multiple YWN requests for comment – though some have already condemned the store, with negative reviews piling up on the eatery’s profile on Google.
However, one individual with inside knowledge of the kosher restaurant industry, Elan Kornblum, wrote in a Facebook post that he spoke to the OK who informed him that the allegations are misguided and incorrect.
The following is an exact copy of his post, unedited so as not to misconstrue anything he said:
“So as many of you probably have seen, there is this video and photo going around that someone took of the owner/chef (non-Jewish) of Manalapan Kosher Chinese yesterday at Restaurant Depot showing him buying non Kosher chicken and meat (cases) at Restaurant Depot. The OK Supervision was told of the findings and has been investigating. I never like to post anything without looking into it, so I have spoken to Rabbi Weinfeld of the OK and this is the latest The OK has been on top of this since being told. They have looked at all the cameras, searched the restaurant, spoken to the mashgiach and are very confident nothing non-Kosher was ever brought into the store. They were told the non-Kosher items were bought for another store. Consequently or coincidentally, the restaurant has told the OK today that they will be closing the store for good. I don’t know if he is closing because of all the events in the last 24 hours. I will say, the spread of this didn’t help and if in fact he bought it for another place, nothing to do with the kosher place and now is forced to close, that would be a shame. On the other hand, we don’t know the 100% truth and these matters are very serious. In fact, the OK did tell me that because of lack of trust (when questioning the owner) they wouldn’t feel comfortable continuing with their supervision of the store. Sad all around.”
Others, however, allege that the restaurant owner bought the non-kosher meat and chicken using the store’s credit card, and that when he was approached by OK Kashrus mashgichim, he began “fumbling on his words.” This allegation is not verified, nor is it necessarily evidence of wrongdoing.
Meanwhile, thousands across the tri-state are waiting for official word from the OK as to the allegations and whether the store should be patronized or not.
In a statement, OK Kosher said that “after intense and careful investigation” into the allegations, it has determined that it must pull its hashgacha from the popular restaurant, and said the eatery is no longer operational.
“In consultation with Poskim it is recommended that customers of Chinese Express that have purchased any of their products in the past 6 months and used any of their personal utensils are advised to Kasher those utensils. Please reach out to your personal Rav for guidance and further instructions,” the statement said.
Isn’t the point of having hashgacha, having a mashgiach there at all times??? Did the mashgiach not see this being brought into the restaurant?
Something doesn’t sound right..
Not every place will have a mashgiach temidiis
The mashgiach is usually snoring in a chair. He is hard to wake up. I’ve been there a few times and he is always asleep which made us very uncomfortable.
As he is an apologist for restaurant owners no matter what they do… just go directly to the hashgacha
Notice no one signed the letter.
Maybe he was buying it to donate to a homeless fellow?
Who would have taken this kind of video? And then leaked it to the public.
YUdel Shain from Lakewood was the original Hashgocha on the Manalapan chinese restaurant and the owner was KEN. Reb Yudel then brought in the OK as it was located in an area that may have needed a National name hashgocha as well. Reb Yudel did not allow the owner to have a key to the restaurant. The Mashgichim had a number of serious kashrus issues, they called DYL of the OK, to pull the Hashgocha. Rabbi DYL said “it’s lean times, so we can’t drop any hashgochas”. Soon after KEN sold it to his Cousin Henry. The family has two… Read more »
take this with a grain of salt…
Be aware: This is a completely made up post and has no truth to it.
In the article they wrote that there is no evidence that the treif stuff was brought into the restaurant. The owner bought not kosher stuff. He has another not kosher restaurant so nothing is sure at all. Did I understand correct?
Like by Landau, any restaurant should have only the mashgiach have the keys and should not have any other responsibilities other than his mashgiach work
One must be very naive to think the owner doesn’t have a key
Practically most top hechsherim, around the world, have the same policy
No reputable Hechsher allows A Goyish owner to have the keys.
So basically the OK has no support for their statement other than the video and blank signed letter which looks like halachic positions are based on suspicious conduct but no supporting facts. What should have happened is the kosher private eye should have followed him and see where he went. Now as a community there is suspicious behavior without firm proof. A potentially compliant kosher business is shuttered as any logical businessman would do based on social media frenzy.
Even from the article it is clear that there is more than just the video, the whole “fumbling with his words” thing, and “the lack of trust when questioning the owner”. I would also not be surprised if there are more details that surfaced from the investigation more than just the video clip. They don’t have to explain every detail of their investigation to you, they can say their conclusion.
What the owner of a kosher restaurant does outside of the restaurant has nothing to do with the restaurant. Why? Because as G-d-fearing Jews we know that we would only eat at a restaurant that has full time supervision. The full time supervision would be the only ones with access to food preparation areas. The owner (or anyone else) would have no way to bring in kosher let alone non-kosher food without it being caught before it reached food preparation areas. All of that ASSUMES that the kashrus supervision is sufficient to ensure all of the above. IF there was… Read more »
This is so upsetting
Was the non kosher brought into the Kosher restaurant?
Once the non kosher was loaded into the vehicle was it seen anywhere near the kosher restaurant?
Honestly, this story makes me so nauseous. Every few years, something like this props up. Hashgacha is complicated in a food prep area, even with Mashgichim. How can a non-Jewish person have the sensibility of what Kosher means to me? The guy probably thinks it’s all the same, blessed by a rabbi or some such nonsense. In the meantime, ch’v something like this is bound to happen. Hashem Yishmor. Makes me think twice about the value of eating in a restaurant. Not to mention that home made food is fresher, tastier and healthier… and cheaper. As an Akeres Habayis, my family’s… Read more »
You shecht your own chickens? You trust the hashgacha about the shechita but not about which item was brought into the restaurant? Which items are used in the restaurant are more black and white and difficult to forge than the difference between a glat kosher shechita or not
It is Alleged that this non kosher chicken and Meat purchased at Restaurant Depot on the Kosher Chinese Manalapan Credit Card
It doesn’t matter if the food was brought into the kosher restaurant or not. I would feel uncomfortable regardless. Just the fact that he bought non kosher food is not okay. (maybe for another restaurant, maybe for his house) That is why it’s a level not to eat food from a person who is not Shomer Shabbos and even more so from a person who doesn’t keep kosher. So this post is for people who currently eat at this restaurant and would feel uncomfortable eating there now after seeing this.
Just to explain..
I genuinely wonder how many kashrus certifications are issued by various agencies to establishments run by owners that don’t keep kosher, and how many of them bar the owner from entering said establishment without a mashgiach? I’m going to guess that this isn’t as unique a case as we would like to think. Furthermore, for those who think that if the owner “doesn’t” have a key the kashrus is “safe,” what makes them sure the owner didn’t cut himself a key before handing over the “only” key to the mashgiach? Honestly, if you really want to be careful you shouldn’t… Read more »