As Christmas bells start ringing near the end of the year, you may be familiar with the delicious smell of roasted turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, and glazed ham. While that may be true for most North Americans celebrating this beloved holiday, around the world, different countries enjoy a vast variety of dishes for Christmas. In this article, we’re going to take you on a global tour to showcase some of the most unique Christmas plates celebrated across different corners of the globe. You might even want to try incorporating these dishes into your own Christmas feast next year!
1. Australia: Christmas BBQ
Although you wouldn’t typically associate a sizzling barbecue with Christmas, but down in the Down Under, it’s a fun tradition! Australians have taken the opportunity to capitalize on their warm December weather by firing up the good ol’ barbecue and grilling everything from prawns to steak. For such a hearty, filling meal, it’s rounded out nicely by their favourite festive dessert, Pavlova, a meringue-based treat that’s to die for.
2. Japan: KFC
Yup, you read that right. For a strange but tasty Christmas feast, many in Japan celebrate this holiday with a big bucket of fried chicken from KFC. As the result of a wildly successful marketing campaign in the 1970s, this tradition has become so popular, KFC takes in orders that are placed months in advance. It’s not a Japanese Christmas without some KFC!
3. Germany: Christmas Goose
How about turning in your typical turkey or chicken for a goose? In Germany, the Christmas Goose (also known as Weihnachtsgans), is a celebrated annual tradition. Stuffed with all the good stuff like apples, chestnuts, onions, and prunes, this tasty meat is served alongside red cabbage and dumplings. It’s certainly a hearty roast that will warm anyone who enjoys it.
4. Iceland: Laufabrauð
Laufabrauð, or “leaf bread”, is a special kind of thin bread that is typically eaten around Christmastime in Iceland. It’s a cherished custom, where families gather to make this bread that consists of intricate, snowflake-like designs. Once deep fried, they make the most delectable treat - crunchy, fun, and full of love, you just simply can’t miss out on them.
5. Italy: Feast of Seven Fishes
For all you seafood lovers, you might want to consider making a trip to Italy this Christmas. Also known as La Vigilia, Italians enjoy a traditional Christmas meal that consists of seven different seafood dishes using an array of different fish and seafood. From calamari to clams, many Italians typically stray away from meat to celebrate this beloved tradition.
6. England: Mince Pies
Despite what you may think, mince pies don’t actually contain any meat. These small, sweet pastries are filled with a mix of dried fruits and spices and are considered a British Christmas staple. There’s even a superstition revolving around having to eat one mince pie every day during the Twelve Days of Christmas to ensure good health and happiness in the coming year!
7. Mexico: Bacalao a la Vizcaina
In Mexico, families will gather around the Christmas table to enjoy the hearty and delicious, Bacalao a la Vizcaina, a traditional dish made with salted cod and potatoes. Topped with a bright red tomato sauce and a variety of sweet and spicy peppers, this vibrant dish is perfect for matching the colourful festivities of a Mexican Christmas.
8. Philippines: Bibingka
After the tradition of attending “Simbang Gabi”, a series of masses, it’s typically followed by breakfast feasts featuring the tasty dish of Bibingka. Bibingka is a hot rice cake topped with butter, sugar, and grated coconut. Perfect for any sweet tooth, this yummy treat is a beloved part of Filipino Christmas traditions.
As you can now see, Christmas dishes around the world come in a variety of different flavours and styles. From the unique tradition of eating KFC for Christmas in Japan to a hearty feast of seven different seafood dishes in Italy, there’s so much more to Christmas feasts than just turkey and mashed potatoes. For any of you adventurous eaters, how about incorporating one of these traditional dishes into your own feast? It may just become one of your own traditions!