Top Yummiest Christmas Dinners around the World
One of the best parts of Christmas is the delicious, traditional homecooked meals that signify the winter atmosphere. Sitting down with your loved ones and feasting together is a classic way to celebrate the holidays around the world.
The actual meal consumed varies in different parts of the world with regional cuisines and local traditions. In many parts of the world, particularly former British colonies, the meal shares some connection with the English Christmas dinner involving roasted meats and pudding of some description. The Christmas pudding and Christmas cake evolved from this tradition.
In countries without a lengthy Christian tradition, such as Japan, the Christmas meal may be more heavily influenced by popular culture.
Let's explore some of the yummiest Christmas dinners around the world:
Christmas Dinners in India
Indian people cook a variety of foods, including biryani with chicken or mutton, chicken and mutton curry, followed by cake or sweets like kheer. Long established Christian communities such as Goan Catholics have pork dishes and beef dishes as part of the main course of their Christmas dinner. These include pork vindaloo and sorpotel.
For dessert, a dish called bebinca is popular. The Kerala Christian community is the largest Christianity community in India. Keralite celebrates Christmas with midnight mass, Christmas carols, and food. Christmas celebration begins on Christmas Eve. Churches are decorated, Christmas trees and bigger Christmas stars by youth groups are the biggest attractions in Kerala. Kerala people go from home to home to celebrate and dance with each other during carol time. All Keralites -- including Hindus and Muslims -- celebrate Christmas and share sweets and gifts with each other and participate in carols and town celebrations.
Plum cake is a famous dessert in Kerala and family come together and cut the cake after the midnight mass.
Alcohol is widely consumed during the Christmas season.
Christmas Dinners in Philippines
One of the main attractions of a Filipino Christmas feast is Lechon, a whole pig that is roasted until the skin turns red, crunchy, and delicious. Families who might not be able to afford an entire pig might instead celebrate with ham and queso de bola (Edam cheese). Another main course might be spaghetti — but not the kind you're used to. The Filipino version of the dish adds sugar to the recipe and also tops it off with cheese and bright red hot dogs.
For dessert, sweets abound, they can range from a simple fruit salad to tibok tibok, a pudding that derives its name from the Filipino word for "heartbeat" because, when it's cooked, the bubbles in it pulsate up and down. Leche flan, a year-round favorite, is also a must at holiday gatherings. This Filipino take on the Spanish flan is even richer and adds condensed milk and extra egg yolks.
Christmas Dinners in Denmark
Denmark’s Christmas dinner is now often built around roast duck and goose, but traditionally it consisted of roast pork. Red cabbage and gravy, as well as boiled potatoes, are traditional accompaniments, but a meal is not complete without dessert — ris à l’amande (cold rice pudding) or risengrød (hot rice pudding), served with whipped cream, almonds, vanilla, and hot cherry sauce. Both are made with a peeled almond hidden inside the serving bowl, and the person who finds it receives a present.
Christmas Dinners in Finland
Fish is a staple of the Finnish diet, so it's no surprise that seafood plays a major role in the holiday feast. Salmon is eaten year-round, but it's also a Christmas favorite and can be served smoked or as gravlax, a sugar-and-salt cured dish served raw that is beloved in the Nordic countries. Other seafood dishes served at the Christmas table include powan, lutefisk (dried cod), pickled herring, and fish roe.
Another popular Christmas dish in Finland is baked ham. The slow-baked dish is often paired with homemade mustard. If there are any leftovers, they're put to good use in a post-Christmas pea soup. Lanttulaatikko (rutabaga casserole) is another holiday favorite. Desserts may include piparkakut (gingerbread cookies) and joulutorttu (plum jam-filled pastries). Adults might wash this all down with a glass of glögi (mulled wine).
Christmas Dinners in France
Christmas Eve dinner is called Le Réveillon in France. The meal typically includes a variety of items, including oysters, foie gras, a chestnut-stuffed roast turkey, and a variety of cheeses. The main dessert is often bûche de Noël, or Yule log. In Provence, the tradition is to have 13 desserts at the end of this Christmas feast to represent the 12 apostles and Jesus Christ; don’t picture a table full of cakes and tarts, though: some pastries are included, but so are variously dried and fresh fruits, candied citrus peel, and almonds and/or walnuts.
Christmas Dinners in Australia
While Aussies once prepared traditional meals in the kitchen, the Christmas trend since the 90s has been to cook outside on the barbecue and bask in the warm weather that Australia has to offer. Seafood abounds, with prawns being a big part of the Christmas menu. Seafood is so popular that the Sydney Fish Market hosts an annual 36-hour seafood marathon where vendors stay open for 36 hours straight until 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve so that patrons can get what they need for their feasts.
Mangoes are also part of the holiday tradition, and Christmas revelers are quite likely to sip a mango daiquiri while preparing the evening meal. Cherries are another fruity holiday staple in Australia, and it's common for a bowl of them to grace the Christmas table.
Christmas Dinners in Mexico
In Mexico, traditional Christmas dinner is a shared event which is celebrated on Christmas Eve or Noche Buena. Traditional foods differ by region but include tamales, atole, pozole, birria, menudo. Dishes that are usually only prepared during Christmas time are romeritos, bacalao, and stuffed turkey. Sweet tamales filled with pineapple, raisins, strawberries, or corn are also common. Sweets such as flan, a brulee-like custard with carmelized sugar, buñuelos, fruit, and milk or liqueur-flavored gelatin or champurrado. Beverages like Canela (tea sweetened with piloncillo), rompope, and ponche are also common favorites.
In some areas, more Americanized fare such as brandy-glazed ham, chicken, turkey, or sometimes duck is served. Often served are also mixed grilled, stewed with sauces, or raw vegetables like carrots, potatoes, spinach, cactus, onions, chayote squash, and radishes. Salsa is always served as a garnish and accompanied by queso fresco, tortillas, and refried beans, if not "sopa de arroz," rather rice cooked with tomato and spices. The bacalao fish is common in coastal zones, along with shrimp or fish soup.
Christmas Dinners in Poland
Christmas Day is a national holiday in Poland and most Poles spend the day feasting with their family. The Christmas meal is elaborate, served in the evening on 24 December, offering large quantities of food. The meal is meatless, honoring Catholic tradition. Many households also prepare a great variety of special Christmas dishes, typically numbering 12 in honor of the 12 apostles.
Dishes include stuffed carp, fried carp, herring in wine sauce, herring in cream sauce, fruit compote, vegetable salad, soup (beetroot, mushroom, or fish) with uszka, pierogi, peas and carrots, boiled potatoes, mushroom cream sauce, sauerkraut, and makowiec (poppy seed rolled cake). Most households leave an empty plate at the table for an unexpected guest. Straw or hay is usually on the table to symbolize the manager. During the season, pierniczki, or honey ginger cookies, are baked.
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