When we think of Christmas, most of us think of roast turkey, potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, and perhaps even a glazed ham. But nations around the world eat very differently during the Christmas time. This year, why not celebrate it a bit differently with roast pork, prawns, or even KFC? Read on to find out more!
If you want to change your Christmas menu up a bit, then take your inspiration from these dishes from around the world!
Yes, we’re talking about Kentucky Fried Chicken. You might think it weird that someone would eat takeout during Christmas, but in Japan, it’s now a general custom. It all started in the 1970s, when the manager of a KFC restaurant started promoting party barrels as a sort of substitute for the American turkey dinner. The idea caught on, and now while other parts of the world celebrate with Santa Clauses and Christmas trees, the Japanese wait in line for the famous party barrel.
That is, prawns (or shrimp) cooked over the grill (or barbecue as the Australians call it). It’s often served with a cocktail sauce and a few side salads. For most Americans (or any of those from the Northern Hemisphere), the idea of eating barbecued prawns on Christmas don’t seem that appealing. But when Christmas happens to fall on summer, it makes a great meal!
In Denmark, it’s a longstanding tradition to serve pickled red cabbage on Christmas Eve. This goes with roast pork (flæskesteg), crispy pork rinds, and brown sauce. Yum! Of course, a meal is not complete without dessert. Risalamande is a festive dessert consisting of rice pudding, chopped almonds, whipped cream, and cherry sauce.
Yes, you read correctly. Hangikjöt is a smoked lamb dish traditionally served in Iceland for Christmas. The meat is either dry-salted or pickled, then it’s cold-smoked over fire fueled by sheep dung! It is this sheep-dung-smoke process that is said to give the meat it’s characteristic flavor. In fact, some farmers in Iceland use sheep dung that’s over a decade old!
In Greece, Kourambiedes are usually made for Christmas. If you love Scottish shortbread, then you should definitely try these Greek Christmas Butter Cookies. Made with butter (and lots of it!), toasted almonds, brandy, and coated with mounds of icing sugar, they are a bite of absolute deliciousness!
What’s better than a pork shoulder? How about a whole pig? In the Philippines, it’s a tradition to roast a whole suckling pig over live coals. Attend a Filipino celebration, and you’re almost sure to see a lechon (that is, roast pig). It can be served with spring rolls, cheese balls, and pasta.
In Poland, there’s not just one type of traditional food, but twelve! The list includes: gingerbread, red borscht, vegetable salad, cabbage with split peas, fried or baked carp, mushroom and cabbage pierogi, rice-stuffed cabbage rolls, challah (a Jewish plaited bread), polish cheesecake, wheat and honey dessert, poppy seed cake, and smoked fruit cordial.
If you’re in Madagascar over Christmas, then you’re like to find akoho sy voanio on the table. It consists of a chicken and coconut stew served over rice. Because the fruits are abundant in the area, the dish is served with fresh lychees.
In Argentina, a Christmas table is not complete without vitel tone. It was brought to Argentina by Italian immigrant in the late 19th century. It consists of a platter of veal slices, covered with creamy tuna or anchovy sauce and capers. It also makes a great appetizer!
If you want to make something different for Christmas this year, why not try hallacas? It’s a traditional Venezuelan dish consisting of corn dough, stuffed with beef, pork, capers, raisins, and olives wrapped in maize and plantain leaves. It’s usually served with a type of bread filled with ham, raisins, and olives.