If you think about it, most of us associate special foods with the holidays. Whether it’s the candy canes, gingerbread houses or grandma’s Christmas dinner, we all have fond memories of gathering around the table to share a meal or two. Here are some of the more unique foods that people around the world eat at the holidays:
Eggnog (United States). It may be hard to believe, but eggnog is mostly enjoyed in the United States and Canada. In fact, the American colonists are rumored to have been the first to spike this holiday treat, and George Washington even devised his own recipe with brandy, whiskey, rum and sherry. Obviously not for the faint of heart.
Bûche De Noël (France). The “yule log” is a traditional French Christmas cake, typically chocolate, that is eaten throughout the holiday season. Its origins go back centuries to when people would burn a log to celebrate the winter solstice.
Julbord (Sweden). In Sweden, as with many other Scandinavian countries, the holidays are celebrated with a large spread of traditional dishes called a julbord. Typical julbord dishes include pickled herring, cured salmon and meatballs, bread, liver pâté, red beet salad, cheese, and cabbage. The julbord tradition goes back to the custom of fasting from the beginning of Advent to midnight on Christmas Eve.
Puto Bumbong (Philippines). Puto Bumbong is an oblong sweet cake prepared by steaming ground purple rice inside a bamboo tube, then served on a banana leaf topped with margarine, grated coconut, and molasses-rich sugar. Its roots go back to Spanish colonial times, when the friars introduced Simbang Gabi—the nine-day set of novena masses celebrated at dawn beginning Dec. 16 to usher Christmas. Puto Bumbong would be sold by vendors in the streets as the people would leave to go start their day in the fields.
Pasteles (Puerto Rico). Pasteles are a classic Christmas dish in Puerto Rico. Consisting of ground pork, masa, and a variety of other fillings wrapped in a banana leaf, pasteles also have their origin in Spanish colonial times. They became associated with Christmas because (1) they were hard to make so you didn’t make them often, and (2) they resemble a wrapped present and came to be part of their El Día de Los Santos Reyes celebrations on January 6th to honor the three kings who brought gifts to baby Jesus.
Kentucky Fried Chicken (Japan). When KFC first opened in Japan in the 1970s, its owner decided to offer a Christmas “party barrel” that was inspired by a traditional turkey dinner. Since Japan didn’t really have many Christmas traditions, this one took off – to the point that people will place their Christmas KFC order 2 months in advance!
Red Bean Paste Porridge (Korea). In Korea, the winter solstice is an important celebration, and this rich soup made from overcooked rice balls and red beans is the main dish served to honor the occasion. The red beans symbolize warding off bad spirits while the rice balls represent new life, with some Koreans traditionally eating one for each year they have lived.
Pavlova (New Zealand). Christmas in New Zealand takes on a different meaning as it is the middle of their summer. You’ll find most people celebrating by grilling outside or spending the day at the beach. For dessert, they’ll typically have a light, fluffy merengue dessert called pavlova, topped with kiwi and other fruits, chocolate and various sweets.
Are you ready to try some traditional foods from around the world? Then let Luxury Destinations Concierge plan your next vacation! Give us a call at (805) 236-4437 to start planning today.
Share the knowledge
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.