5 Things You Should Never Order from a Jewish Deli

Go for the pastrami, pass on the tuna.

We love Jewish delis so much, and we know you do too: They serve all the great Ashkenazi comfort dishes we treasure from childhood and beyond. From kreplach to knishes to pastrami and pierogies, it’s hard to go wrong ordering. And yet, there are always those outliers who ask for mayo on their pastrami sandwich, or go to a Jewish deli and order the grilled chicken platter. Just, no.

We took a poll of all the “mistakes” one can make when ordering at a Jewish deli and gathered these no-no’s just for you. So please, please don’t let us catch you ordering any of the following at your next deli visit:

Anything on White Bread

Deli sandwiches are meant for rye bread, not only because it’s traditional and delicious, but anything less hearty than rye cannot stand up to those thick, meaty slices of pastrami, corned beef, tongue, and salami. Soggy deli sandwiches are always a fail.

The Tuna Platter

But not just the tuna platter: This goes for egg salad, chicken breast, grilled salmon, or (God forbid) an egg white salad. You went to a deli — get something with a little fat!

Soup of the Day

The soup of the day is usually code for “we had a lot of leftover spinach or mushrooms or another random ingredient and we needed to use it up before it went bad.” Stick to the classic, standard soups on the menu: chicken soup, mushroom barley, or split pea.


Deli sandwiches and spicy mustard go together like peanut butter and jelly, like chicken soup and matzah balls. Mayo just doesn’t belong here.


This might seem obvious, but Jews aren’t typically known for their proficiency in pork products (because eating pork and shellfish isn’t kosher). Of course, some Jews love bacon and some Jewish-style delis will have turkey bacon, pork bacon, and ham on their menus. All the same, when you go to a Jewish deli, you’re really going for the pastrami; save the bacon for another time.

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