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Local Christmas Dishes Enjoyed Around The World

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Today, millions of Americans will enjoy their turkey dinners with mashed potatoes, gravy, and cranberry sauce. Perhaps you have cooked carrots on the table while your uncle eats his Brussel sprouts. Christmas is enjoyed by millions of more people all around the world as a time that families get together to eat and be merry.

While they may not be eating turkey, we highlight some of the delicious cuisines enjoyed by people on December, 25, every year.

Fried Chicken, Japan

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Christmas in Japan is one of the most joyous times of the year – especially for KFC! In a strange tradition, 3.6 million Japanese families will eat at KFC on Christmas Eve, meaning the fast food joint will actually take reservations up to two months in advance! The tradition started in the 1970s when marketing executive noticed that the locals didn’t do anything specific to celebrate Christmas – and thus a festival was born!

Kūčios, Lithuania

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Kūčios is the traditional dinner held in Lithuania every Christmas Eve. The meal takes up to a week to prepare because of its NINE signature dishes that are cooked. In recent years, some families even prepare a farther three – making it 12 dishes, one for each apostle. The dishes include fish, pieces of bread, and vegetables. You might see locals eat herring in tomato, smoked eel, or cranberry pudding.

Latkes, Israel

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Latkes are an important Jewish tradition that have held a firm position within Hannukah meals since the Middle Ages. These fried potato pancakes are cooked in oil and represent the Miricle of Light celebrated in the month of December. Other Israeli foods enjoyed around Christmas include donuts and fritters – anything with oil!

Christmas Goose, Germany

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We’ve all heard of the Christmas turkey, but what do we think about its relative, the Christmas goose? Germans used to eat goose on St. Martin’s Day, but it became part of the Christmas tradition over time. The goose is stuffed with chestnuts, apples, prunes, and onions and spiced with jam. The meal is served with red cabbage and dumplings. The oldest recording recipe for this dates back to 1350!

Panettone, Italy

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Christmas dinner has many dishes celebrated in Italy, all of which are accompanied by sweets at the end. In Northern Italy, the locals eat the famous Panettone – a cake with fruit, chocolate, raisins, and nuts. Of course, they also eat cannoli, nougat, and torrone. Other parts of Italy host a dinner called The Feast of the Seven Fishes which has seven variations of fish dishes.

Tamales, Costa Rica

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This Costa Rican tradition is unique since each family can prepare it with their own recipe! The general idea is that tamales are a corn dough wrapped in a banana leaf and then steamed. However, families can prepare them with pork, beef, chicken, or potato. Every year, traditions are celebrated by exploring new tastes and flavors in an intimate family setting.

Christmas Pudding, England

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This particular dish is popular in the UK and Ireland and goes by several names. You might recognize it in the US as plum pudding, figgy pudding, or ‘pud’. The dish doesn’t actually contain any plums and is instead made with suet, egg, molasses, fruits, and spices. Traditionally, it is lit on fire with brandy before being served. The British will eat this every year on Christmas Day while watching the Queen’s televised address to the nation.

La Bûche de Noël, France

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La Bûche de Noël is designed to resemble a Yule Log – a wooden log that was carried into the French home, sprinkled with wine, and burned. In the 1940s. The tradition was swapped for this dessert, which was a lot more delicious! The chocolate buttercream sponge cake is created to look like a real log, although modern iterations are starting to emerge.

Kolivo, Bulgaria

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Kolivo is a Christmas dessert that is made by boiling wheat with walnuts and sugar. Across Bulgaria, it is usually the first item to hit the dinner table on Christmas Eve. It is sometimes served with grains, honey, poppyseed, and dried fruit. As well as Bulgaria, variations of the dish can be found in Russia, Poland, Serbia, and Georgia.

Roast Pig, Philippines

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Christmas dinner in the Philippines is known as Noche Buena, and is held after families attend the national ‘Misa de Gallo’ – Mass of the Rooster). Here, an entire pig is glazed and roasted, served alongside a ball of cheese, pasta, and a fruit salad. The Philippines has the longest Christmas period than any country, starting preparations as early as September and going until January!

Which of these local dishes would you like to try? Let us know! Merry Christmas!


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