There are dishes you see that signal the start of Christmas. From the classic English favourites such as mince pies and puddings to the Kenyan festive staple, nyama choma, these dishes make an appearance at any holiday party and at restaurant and hotel festive buffets. Here are some lesser known Christmas dishes that are festive staples around the world.
Fried Chicken – Japan
Fried chicken in Japan is synonymous with KFC’s festive chicken bucket. The meal is so popular that millions pre-order their meals weeks before Christmas Day. For those unable to place this order, they join hundred in long queues that snake around buildings for a chance to enjoy the festive specialty. In recent years the fast food restaurant added cake, another Japanese Christmas staple, and wine as add-ons to the seasonal menu.
Christmas Sugar Cookies – Greece
These Greek Christmas staples are full of sugar and almost always coated in nuts and more sugar! Delicious melomakaronas are sweet orange and raki cookies soaked in honey and sprinkled with ground walnuts. Kourabiedes take the classic shortbread recipe and add almonds, vodka and powdered sugar to it. Once they are done they are covered in more powdered sugar. On New Years, vasilopita, a fluffy orange cake coated in powdered sugar or a sugar glaze, is cut to reveal a coin in the slice of one lucky recipient.
Roast Christmas Goose – Germany
Roast goose is the pride of a German Christmas table. When cooked well, the inside of the duck is moist and flavourful with a brown crispy exterior guaranteed to make your mouth water when you see it. What makes this dish special is the stuffing which gives the goose is rich flavour. The stuffing can consist of marojam, apples and chestnuts all mixed together and slow roasted within the goose for up to four hours. Side dishes are kept simple with red cabbage, dumplings and gravy being the usual accompaniments.
Fondue Chinoise – Switzerland
The Swiss have no traditional Christmas meal in a sense but this does not mean that they do not have a meal that shows up on almost every table during the festive season. Adapted from Chinese hotpot, fondue chinoise also known as meat fondue consists of a central broth in which thin slices of meat are cooked and eaten along side rice, sweet and sour vegetables, bread and thin slices of fruit.
Feast of Seven Fishes – Italy
Here is a Sicilian Christmas staple that fish lovers would enjoy. Over the festive season, different types of seafood are cooked over the course of a week in seven different ways. The seafood can be roasted, grilled, braised, stewed or baked and is usually served alongside bread and lots of pasta. Classic Italian desserts such as cannoli, pandoro or panettone. They don’t call it a feast for nothing.
Noche Buena (Good Night) – Philippines
The Philippines was a Spanish colony for hundreds of years and because of this the name of their Christmas feast and some of the dishes are derived from the Spanish language and culture. The sides include of chicken galantina (stuffed chicken), morcon (Filipino-style beef roll), paella valenciana (saffron, seafood, sausage and chicken paella), fiesta ham glazed with peaches or apples, palabok (Filipino noodle dish with shrimp sauce) and chicken macaroni salad. The main dish is lechon, a roasted suckling pig usually hung on a spit. On top of all of this, dessert usually comprises of leche flan (crème caramel flan), young coconut salad, buko pandan (coconut pandan dessert), fruit cake, puto (sweetened rice cakes), saman, flavoured cake such as ube cake (purple yam cake) and macapuno cake (Filipino coconut cake).