Here’s What Christmas Food Looks Like in 13 Different Countries
It’s not all ham and green bean casserole
While we’re eagerly counting down the days until we can go to town on all of our favorite classic Christmas foods, we decided to expand our horizons. Here, traditional holiday staples from around the world.
France: Turkey with Chestnut Stuffing
With no Thanksgiving on the calendar, turkey actually isn’t much of a thing in France. But come Christmas, it’s the center of the table. The French serve theirs with a special chestnut stuffing with sides of oysters and foie gras. 'Cause nothing says Christmas like duck liver.
This nifty little package is made with beef, chicken, pork or seafood, then mixed with raisins, capers and olives and enfolded in cornmeal dough and a jaunty plantain leaf. The dish is typically served with pan jamón, puff pastry bread filled with ham and bacon.
Finland: Spiced Carrot Casserole
A Finnish Christmas table usually features some kind of root vegetable casserole. The most famous, Porkkanalaatikko, is carrots baked with butter, cream egg and rice until golden brown. Perfect for days when you only have four hours of sunlight.
You’ll find this classic soup--chicken with egg-lemon sauce--at almost any Greek restaurant. But while it’s eaten year-round as a comfort food, it's also a Christmas staple, served with lamb or pork and baklava for dessert.
Also called Christmas cake, this after-dinner treat is a dense bread made with chopped dried fruit and nuts, then covered with powdered sugar and icing. Fun fact: Dresden hosts an annual Stollen festival that dates back to the 15th century.
India: Dukra Maas (Mangalorean Pork Curry with Bafat Spice)
This entrée--pork cooked in a fragrant, spicy curry--is a Sunday tradition in many Indian Catholic homes. Served with sannas (steamed rice cakes), it’s the main dish on most Mangalorean Christmas menus.
Philippines: Puto Bumbong
Here, purple rice (a mixture of sweet rice and purple yam) is steamed in a bamboo tube and served with butter, sugar and coconut. For people with a sweet tooth, this dessert is the most anticipated part of any Filipino Christmas.
Sweden: Swedish Meatballs
Christmas dinner in Sweden is a three-course meal: pickled fish, followed by cold sliced meats and a final plate of warm Swedish meatballs. You know these delightful little guys from the cafeteria at Ikea, but it’s worth making them yourself, in a sauce of meat gravy, sour cream and jelly.
Japan: Kentucky Fried Chicken
We kid you not. With no turkey available in Japan back in the 1970s, people fell back on fried chicken as a December 25th go-to. Now, people brave hour-long lines for a $40 KFC Christmas Chicken dinner.
Mexico: Salted Cod
Adopted from Spain, bacalao (or salted cod) has become a popular Christmas tradition throughout Mexico. It’s cooked “Veracruz style,” meaning it’s roasted with tomato, garlic, onion, olives, parsley and raisins.
This take on French toast is the ultimate Christmas morning tradition in Brazil. Bread is soaked in milk and egg, deep-fried and sprinkled in cinnamon sugar for a result that’s just as good as it sounds.
Canada: Tourtière (Pork Pie)
In Quebec, sliced pork, potato and onion are layered between pastry dough and eaten along side roast, stuffed turkey and cranberry sauce. Heavy? Yes. But, hey that’s what New Year’s resolutions are for, right?