40 Traditional Christmas Food From Around the World

Traditional Christmas Food From Around the World

Christmas would not be complete without delectable cuisine, and here is an article on some traditional Christmas food around the world. 

Christmas Day entails many activities, including opening a ton of presents, getting rid of all the old wrapping paper, cleaning the liquor cabinet of any unopened bottles, and roasting a turkey with all the fixings. That is, at least, within the Anglosphere. 

There are numerous distinct holiday feasts celebrated outside of the English-speaking world, many of which are very dissimilar from what you may expect. We explore the innumerable traditional Christmas food around the world.

Christmas celebrations differ from place to country, especially regarding the cuisine we eat and when it is served.

Learn more about various traditional Christmas food from around the world.

1. Lechon (Spain and Latin America)

La Nochebuena, the Christmas Eve feast, is one of the traditional Christmas food from around the world, and it is the main Christmas meal in Spain and Latin America.

Depending on the location, different foods are served, but lechón and vegetables are frequently the significant ingredients.

A whole roasted pig for this holiday supper often requires most of the day to cook, producing flavorful, tender meat.

This custom is said to have originated in the 15th century when Caribbean imperialists spent a lot of time hunting down pigs so they could roast them whole for a Christmas Eve family celebration.

Sweet meals are also popular in Spain. Turrón, an almond nougat, and polvorónes, a crumbly kind of shortbread, are examples of this.

2. Bacalao (Mexico)

Salted cod, also known as bacalao, is a traditional meal in Mexico but is uncommon during the holidays in most other nations.

Meats and fish needed to be salted and preserved before refrigeration was invented. Although this isn’t the case now, the practice nevertheless persists.

Additionally, the fish becomes soft and delectable when it is cooked after being rehydrated, like in the case of bacalao.

Furthermore, to create the Bacalao a la Mexicana in Mexico, you’ll need tomatoes, ancho chiles, onions, cinnamon, potatoes, and olives.

It warms you up and is incredibly filling. This is one of the best traditional Christmas food from around the world.

3. Weihnachtsgans (Germany)

The Weihnachtsgans, or Christmas goose, have traditionally been the focal point of the German Christmas feast. Eating goose is a Middle Ages custom that was first connected to St. Martin’s Day before becoming a staple of the Christmas supper.

Germans serve the geese with red cabbage, dumplings, gravy, and sauerkraut. The goose is frequently filled with apples, chestnuts, onions, and prunes and then flavored with mugwort and marjoram.

Furthermore, the first recorded recipe for this dish is found in “Das Buch von Guter Speise,” a cookbook first published in 1350.

4. Borscht (Poland)

On Christmas Eve, Poland, too, had its Christmas feast. Their Star Supper, or Wiglia, is more like a feast. The celebration has a strong religious undertone, and the table has been covered with hay to mimic the scene of Jesus’ manger birth.

The dinner has 12 dishes, which stand in for the 12 apostles. Popular dishes include fried carp and borscht, a sort of beetroot soup. 

Pierogi, little dumplings loaded with potato, sauerkraut, and minced beef, would be enough to persuade you to Warsaw this Christmas if soup mostly made of beetroot isn’t. This is one of the traditional Christmas food from around the world.

5. La Réveillon Feast (France)

The culmination of the Christmas season in France is La Réveillon, another event that happens on December 24, a day before Christmas day. It is fair to say that it is the most luxurious feast, much more complex than the French equivalent.

The main course often consists of turkey, chestnuts, and many other dishes. The starters may include lobster, oysters, snails, or foie gras.

Although in Provence, people are brave enough to indulge in a thirteen-course dessert, the traditional dessert is a yule log or bûche de Nol. Champagne and expensive wines are served at the end of the dinner.

Furthermore, the word “Réveil,” which means “to wake up,” is where the name La Réveillon comes from. That’s because indulging in all the decadent food and drink necessitates staying up until the wee hours of the morning rather frequently. This is one of the best traditional Christmas food around the world.

6. Fried Chicken (Japan)

Christmas time in Japan is the best time for the Kentucky Fried Chicken or KFC fast food company. On Christmas Eve, roughly 3.6 million Japanese families eat KFC, one of the best traditional Christmas food around the world. They frequently need to make reservations up to two months in advance.

In the 1970s, KFC created a holiday party bucket with a clever marketing strategy. Japan didn’t have many Christmas customs at the time.

By informing customers, “this is something you should do on Christmas,” KFC filled the hole. The fad gained popularity immediately.

Furthermore, the KFC Christmas bucket now includes items other than fried chicken. A Christmas cake is also included.

A significant culinary item on the Japanese holiday menu is fried chicken, a notable traditional Christmas meal

7. Glogi (Finland)

On exceptional occasions, buffet-style lunches are held every day in Scandinavia. This is known as joulupöytä in Finland and is somewhat similar to the Swedish smörgsbord.

The main course is a sizable ham joint, typically served with bread and mustard. Large fish, typically lutefisk and gravlax, laatikot, casseroles with liver and raisins, potatoes, rice, and carrots, will all be present. Of course, glogg is the preferred beverage. Or glögi in Finnish. 

This is similar to mulled wine but is meant for less delicate people because it frequently contains a spirit, like brandy. This is one of the best traditional Christmas food around the world.

8. Fatah (Egypt)

On Christmas Eve, Christians in Egypt also have a celebratory supper. However, because Egypt uses the Coptic calendar, that day occurs on January 6th as their own festive season.

Though not popularly knowns for Christmas celebrations, this cuisine is still one of the well-known traditional Christmas food around the world.

Many people enjoy an Egyptian dish called Fatah for events such as a woman’s first birth and Christian and Muslim holidays.

Large lamb or beef meat, fried bread, poached eggs, and layers of rice are all included. It’s a supper with plenty of calories. This is one of the best traditional Christmas food around the world.

9. Kūčios ( Lithuania)

Every year on December 24, the traditional Christmas times supper known as kios is held in Lithuania. Hosting kios is also a big undertaking because it can take a week to prepare.

The preparation of meals throughout the week is undoubtedly a terrific opportunity for families to be together, which is probably why the custom has endured.

For Lithuanians, the holidays are all about spending time with family. KIOS initially offered nine dishes.

It was paganism that the Christian church eventually seized and increased to 12 dishes (one for each apostle). This dish is one of the best traditional Christmas food around the world.

This lunch doesn’t include any meat, dairy, or hot food. Instead, it contains vegetables, seafood, and bread.

Herring is served in a tomato, mushroom, or onion-based sauce, smoked eel, vegetables like boiled potatoes and sauerkraut (it’s cabbage, so it counts as a vegetable), and mushrooms, bread, or bread or cranberry pudding are a few possible menu items.

10. Akoho Sy Voanio (Madagascar)

This hearty rice dish is topped with a flavorful chicken-coconut stew for a savory holiday meal. Akoho is Christmas Dish, one of the traditional Christmas food around the world.

11. Latkes (Israel)

Latkes have been a staple of Hanukkah tradition since the Middle Ages. Potato pancakes baked in oil are known as latkes. This acknowledges that you kept the Menorah blazing with oil for eight days in the Second Temple.

Fried doughnuts and cakes are other foods eaten as part of this ritual. Children get Hanukkah gelt, which is tiny chocolate coins, from family. Laktes is a traditional Christmas dish around the world.

12. Selyodka Pod Shuboy (Russia)

Selyodka Pod Shuboy, a dish with Russian origins, is one of the more ostentatious appearances on our list. Its name, “herring under a fur coat,” is composed of diced pickled herring stacked beneath diced potatoes, carrots, beets, onions, and mayonnaise topped with cooked eggs. 

Furthermore, the dish, which is frequently decorated, is commonly offered as party food and is a need for many Russian occasions, especially around Christmas. This is one of the best traditional Christmas food around the world.

13. Christmas Pudding (England)

Christmas pudding has roots in England’s “frumenty,” a porridge-like food that was popular in the 14th century and packed with fruits, oats, nuts, and suet.

It was typically prepared five weeks before Christmas as a dinner for those fasting to prepare for Advent. 

Additionally, you would add alcohol to the hearty meal before being steamed or boiled. All family members were encouraged to stir the concoction while wishing good luck as they went.

However, after that, you would blend additional ingredients into the pudding. Silver coins, wishbones, thimbles, rings, and other silver objects were believed to bestow good fortune, wealth, and even marriage upon those fortunate enough to discover them.

14. Smalahove (Norway)

Smalahove, one of the famous traditional Christmas food around the world, originates in western Norway. A meal cooked from a sheep’s head and eaten with potatoes and rutabaga.

It is customarily offered on the Sunday before Christmas and would be a lavish lunch for the less fortunate Norwegians. 

The method of preparation for this dish is what makes it so intriguing. The sheep’s head is split in half, the brain is extracted, and the pieces are then submerged in water for two days.

The head would then be soaked, salted, dried, and smoked before being prepared for consumption by boiling or steaming.

Furthermore, Eating is a form of art in and of itself. The meat is consumed from the skull, beginning at the front and working your way back because the ears and eyeballs are considered a delicacy.

Smalahove isn’t typically found on a Norwegian dinner table at Christmastime these days and is usually saved for tourists.

15. Mattak and Kiviak (Greenland)

Food needs to be treated carefully in one of the coldest places on earth. A Greenlandic Christmas feast is somewhat of an acquired taste for the rest of the globe in the dead of winter.

You should anticipate receiving mattak and kiviak, two rare and beautiful delicacies. Mattak, a traditional Inuit dish, is a strip of skin plucked from a narwhal or white whale with the fat still attached.

It is then chopped into bite-sized pieces and served with the blubber still attached, and it is claimed to taste like fresh coconut.

Furthermore, it is frequently served with kiviak, made from the meat of a small arctic bird called an auk and wrapped in a sealskin.

After that, the sealskin is buried for a while so it can ferment. The auk is prepared to be eaten once it has reached an advanced stage of decomposition.

16. Cranberry sauce (USA)

Every Christmas and Thanksgiving feast in America must have cranberry sauce. Cranberry sauce, whether store-bought or homemade, loose or jellied, must be served with turkey for a Thanksgiving meal. This is one of the best traditional Christmas food from around the world.

17. Ping Guo (China)

Giving apples on Christmas Eve is a custom growing in popularity in China. Most shops in China sell apples wrapped in decorative paper so customers can buy them and give them as gifts.

What is the cause of this? The Chinese term for Christmas Eve, “Ping An Ye,” and the Chinese word for apple, “Ping Guo,” have been combined because they sound so similar. This is one of the best traditional Christmas food from around the world.

18. Three Kings cake (Mexico)

Christmas is officially observed in Mexico on January 6, also known as Epiphany or “El Dia de Los Reyes,” or the Day of the Three Kings.

On this day, families will enjoy a unique dessert known as a Three Kings cake or Twelfth Night cake that features a figure of the Baby Jesus concealed inside. By chance, the person who finds the Jesus figurine becomes the year’s “Godparent” for Jesus.

19. Sochivo (Russia)

Some people in Russia decide to skip meals on Christmas Eve and fast until the first star appears in the sky. Then, people ate “Sochivo,” a type of porridge composed of wheat or rice and topped with fruit, nuts, and seeds. 

In the past, families in Russia would pour a spoonful of porridge onto the ceiling, hoping it would stick and bring good fortune and a successful harvest.

We’re still determining how they would clean it up afterward, though. Porridge is a symbol of unity in Russia. Sochivo is one of the traditional Christmas food from around the world.

20. Mopane Worm (Southern Africa)

While not exactly considered a Christmas dish, Mopane worms, which are high in protein and are the larva of the Gonimbrasia Belina moth, are in plentiful supply during the holiday season in Southern Africa.

Their name comes from the Mopane tree, which grows well in the dry regions of Namibia, Botswana, and South Africa and offers the ideal environment for the worms to thrive.

They will be a perfect Christmas treat, especially for the older generations, as the harvest will start in late November.

While fresh worms are typically cooked with onions, tomatoes, and chile after being harvested, some worms are kept for the remainder of the year.

Furthermore, they’re not something consumed in the same amount these days, and many believe them to be a type of bush meat, but many cultures perceive them as a delicacy because this habit was born out of necessity. This is one of the best traditional Christmas food from around the world.

21. Feast of the Seven Fishes (Italy)

Roman Catholics used to refrain from eating meat and animal fats around Christmas, but one tradition that has developed as a result of this is “The Feast of the Seven Fishes.”

The feast symbolizes the significance of the number seven in the bible, even though it has no formal role in the Roman Catholic calendar. On Christmas Eve, you will spread various fish and shellfish dishes across several courses.

Furthermore, You can find the feast’s origins in Southern Italy, a region known for its mouthwatering seafood delicacies drawn from the abundant shoreline.

However, the Feast of the Seven Fishes became popular among many Italian-American families in the twentieth century as Italian immigration to America increased in the late 1880s.

22. Panettone (Italy)

Around Christmas, Panettone is the nation’s national dish. This delicious bread is typically 12–15 cm high and should weigh around 1 kg. It is jam-packed with candied peel, sultanas, raisins, and many other goodies. 

The entire family may eat from this tear-and-share loaf while celebrating Christmas. This is one of the best traditional Christmas food from around the world.

23. Fruit Cake (Jamaica)

To make the cake extra moist and flavorful with alcohol, Jamaicans leave the dried fruit to soak in a red wine and rum mixture months before Christmas. Other popular Jamaican dishes include stewed oxtail, curry goat, and rum punch.

Furthermore, these cupcakes are made by soaking mixed dried fruit in rum to make them highly juicy and flavorful. They may not be as powerful as Jamaican rum fruit cake, but they get close.

24. Julekake (Norway)

Over the holiday season in Norway, a ton of delectable cakes and baked goods are produced and consumed. The specialty bread known as “Julekake” is one of the most well-liked baked items on the menu. 

This sweet bread is loaded with cardamom, raisins, and candied peel. The menu also features mutton ribs and rice pudding, two traditional specialties. This is one of the best traditional Christmas food around the world.

25. Julbord (Sweden)

In Sweden, Christmas Eve is when the big meal is served. A “Julbord” is the name for this meal, a buffet that includes cold fish, cold meats, cheese, pickles, and other foods. 

The Christmas ham, also known as “Julskinka,” is one of the main attractions and is prepared by boiling the cut and roasting it in the oven until crisp. This is typically allowed to cool alongside the other buffet items before being served cold.

26. Chiles En Nogada (Mexico)

This delectable meal, made of beef and stuffed with fire-roasted poblano peppers, will leave you feeling full, much like the peppers do. It is garnished with pomegranate seeds. This is one of the best traditional Christmas food from around the world.

27. Tamales (Costa Rica)

Making tamales is a Christmas tradition in Costa Rica, and each family has its own “secret” recipe. Tamales are made with maize dough wrapped in a banana leaf or corn husk and steam-cooked.

Some are loaded with beef or poultry, while others are with pork. Garlic, onion, potatoes, or raisins are other ingredients you could include in the filling.

28. Kolivo (Bulgaria)

In Bulgaria, kolivo is one of the best traditional Christmas foods worldwide. Or boiling wheat with sugar and walnuts is frequently the first dish to show up on tables on Christmas Eve. Russia (кут) and Poland (kutia) have foods comparable to puddings.

Kolivo can be made in numerous ways and is frequently eaten with honey, poppyseed, other grains, rice, beans, or dried fruit. It often relates to Orthodox customs.

It is served at tables in Serbia, Romania, Georgia, and Ukraine, in addition to Bulgaria. This is one of the best traditional Christmas food around the world.

29. Melomakarona (Greece)

Sweet orange-zest cookies with walnut topping and honey infusion? Please, yes! In Greece, this treat is a common sight on tables throughout the holidays.

These cookies, also known as melomakarona, are sometimes compared to baklava in flavor. Melomakarona is baked, then soaked in a honey-sugar water mixture before being dusted with walnuts.

This dish also comes in a less conventional form covered with dark chocolate. This is one of the best traditional Christmas food from around the world.

30. Kołaczki (Poland)

Poland is another nation that serves cookies throughout the holiday season. A flaky, jelly-filled treat known as a kolaczki, the dough is frequently prepared with sour cream or cream cheese.

These cookies are folded over and include a variety of fillings. Try poppyseed, almonds, or sweet cheese if the typical apricot or raspberry isn’t your thing.

Just before serving, confectioners sugar is sprinkled over the top. This is one of the best traditional Christmas food from around the world.

31. Noche Buena (Philipphine)

After households attend the Misa de Gallo (also known as the “Mass of the Rooster”), families in the Philippines have Noche Buena or Christmas dinner. The primary components are lechón (spit-roasted pig) and hamón (cured pork leg). 

They frequently appear alongside pasta, lumpia (spring rolls), queso de bola (a ball of cheese), and fruit salad. In the Philippines, Christmas is very important. 

The Black Nazarene feast on January 9 typically marks the end of the Christmas carol season, which begins as early as September. However, the dates of the official celebration are from December 16 through the first Sunday of the new year.

32. Joulupöytä (Finland)

For their Christmas supper with Joulupöytä, Fins eat buffet-style, or more accurately, “Christmas table” style.

The Swedish smörgsbord or julbord is comparable to this traditional food board. It includes several seasonal foods, including Christmas ham, salmon, and casseroles.

You might also serve mushroom salad, pickled herring, and Karelian stew. Rice pudding, gingerbread, tarts, and joulutorttu are served as desserts. This is one of the best traditional Christmas food from around the world.

33. Sorpotel (Goa)

Goa, a state in western India, was a Portuguese colony for four centuries. Hence Christmas festivities there are heavily influenced by Portuguese customs.

Sorpotel, a spicy stew, is a significant component of Goa’s Christmas Eve celebrations in addition to carol singing and life-size nativity displays.

Pork (traditionally includes the liver and heart) is slowly cooked in cinnamon, cumin, and Kashmiri peppers for the dish.

The ideal accouterment is Sana, rice cakes flavored with coconut liquor. This is one of the best traditional Christmas food from around the world.

34. Buccellato (Sicily)

Sicilians are dessert experts (we have them to thank for cannoli, cassata, and gelato al pistacchio, to name a few). Sicily makes Buccellato, a round cake packed with dried figs, almonds, and pine nuts.

At the same time, much of Italy finishes its Christmas Day supper with chocolate- or raisin-filled panettone.

However, Its peculiar flavor is primarily due to the addition of marsala, a powerful fortified wine (named after the Sicilian city of Marsala), to the pastry dough before baking in the oven. This is one of the best traditional Christmas food from around the world.

35. Pasteles (Puerto Rico)

Christmas is celebrated in Puerto Rico with various meat-filled meals, such as Arroz con gandules and pernil (slow-roasted hog) (rice with pigeon peas). Pasteles are essentially stuffed plantain pockets with ground pork shoulder and are frequently served next. 

However, they resemble Mexican tamales since they are wrapped in plantain leaves before cooking, but Puerto Rican pasteles are boiled as opposed to steaming. The best are spiced with homemade adobo, turmeric, oregano, garlic, and black pepper.

36. Pan de jamón (Venezuela)

The sweet-savory bread known as pan de jamón, which originated in a Caracas bakery in 1905, is typically served on Christmas Eve. However, it is frequently on sale in bakeries throughout December.

The long loaf, which can also be made using filo pastry, resembles a savory swiss roll stuffed with roasted ham, raisins, and green olives. 

It frequently goes with dishes like hallacas (cooked cornbread stuffed with meat) and dulce de lechoza (a sweet papaya dessert).

Add cheese for an added treat (it is Christmas, after all). This Venezuelan food is one of the best traditional Christmas foods around the world.

27. Malva Pudding (South Africa)

One of South Africa’s most indulgent sweets is malva pudding, a sponge cake with apricot jam as the main ingredient.

It is saved for special events throughout the year, but Christmastime varieties often include brandy or Amarula, a South African cream liqueur made from the marula fruit. 

Furthermore, the golden sponge delicacy is generously drizzled with a sweetened butter-cream sauce while it is still hot, giving it a gooey, caramelized quality comparable to sticky toffee pudding.

38. Rooster Doro Wat (Ethiopia)

On January 7, Ethiopians who practice Orthodoxy observe Ganna, or Christmas. The national meal of Ethiopia, rooster Doro wat, a hot chicken stew with hard-boiled eggs, is served to break their 43-day fast, which starts on November 25. 

The berbere, an Ethiopian spice blend created with fenugreek, cardamom, and coriander (among other spices), as well as a lot of clarified butter, is the secret to a beautiful wat. 

Forget about using utensils; injera, Ethiopia’s renowned fermented flatbread, is excellent for mopping up rooster Doro wat. This is one of the best traditional Christmas food from around the world.

39. Farofa (Brazil)

Christmas Eve meal in Brazil typically lasts well into the early hours of Christmas morning. Roast turkey or chicken, salted fish, and light side dishes like potato salad and garlic kale can all be included in the meal.

However, farofa, a dish made of toasted cassava flour, butter, and garlic, is virtually always featured. Although the final additions might vary, smoked bacon, raisins, and walnuts are favorites. This is one of the best traditional Christmas food from around the world.

40. Stollen (Germany)

Stollen, a heavy, rich bread created in Dresden, Germany, in the late 1500s, predated the infamous fruitcake. Also, stollen is produced with an enriched yeast dough that includes butter and sugar, much like panettone from Italy.

Both loaves of bread have citrus peel and dried fruit, but the stollen also has marzipan, almond paste flecks, and a final coating of powdered sugar.

We would drink a lot of glühwein, a mulled wine prepared with fruit and spices, to wash it down.

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