Traditional Holiday Foods

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All around the world there are different traditions as to what type of dishes people make for the holidays; every location has its own uniqueness and specialties. If you happened to have left the comfort of your home for the holidays, here are some foods from different parts of the world you may have encountered.

Tamales, which are available in many Latin countries including Guatemala and Honduras, are made of masa or dough, which is steamed in a corn husk. Making tamales typically involves the whole family, by assigning each family member a specific element of the tamale to make. At the end, all of these elements are combined and wrapped in a cornhusk, ready to be steamed for the big meal.

Pepparkakor, also known as piparkakut or piparkϋkas, are mainly eaten in North European countries such as Denmark and Sweden. These cookies are only as thick as a nickel and can be cut in every shape imaginable. Traditional forms take on silhouettes of sheeps, pigs, and people.

Latkes, primarily found in Israel, are made for Hanukkah (also referred to as the Festival of Lights). It is a dish made of potatoes that are fried in oil, some- times served with applesauce or a similar sweet topping.

Fish is available in Southern Italy and Rome. For the inhabitants of this area, Christmas is usually referred to as the feast of the seven dishes. Seafood is served at the end of the day on Christmas Eve. It is usually fried or cooked in oil rather than in butter. The fish is often combined with tomatoes and other local ingredients to make delicious wonders.

Buche de Noel is a French dish that is popular during the holidays. It is a rich cake filled and rolled to resemble a log, often decorated with tyne meringue (cookies). It is traditionally served after Christmas Eve dinner as a dessert.

Buñuelo, which are known throughout Colombia, are small balls made of cheese. Though they are commonly eaten throughout the year, buñuelo surge in popularity around Christmas, when they are offered as part of buffets and served with a custard- like pudding called natilla.

Tangyuan is made up of glutinous rice our and is mostly known and popular in China, Japan, Korea, and other Asian countries. Depending on the location, they can be filled with sesame paste, crushed nuts mixed with coconut, or served in a sweet or savory broth. Tangyuan represents the strength of family ties in many Asian cultures.

One of the many holiday dishes that can be found in Singapore is Devil Curry. Served on December 26, or Boxing Day, it incorporates many Christmas leftovers, including: chicken, cocktail sauce, cabbage, and cucumbers. These ingredients are then stewed in a spicy rempah gravy.

Last but not least of the traditional holiday dishes is roast pig, which is commonly eaten around the holidays throughout the Philippines. A whole roasted pig is often the centerpiece of a fantastically elaborate Christmas meal.

These are only a few holiday favorites from around the world. If you ever get a chance to try one of these dishes, it is never too late to experience new things. To get out of the same old routine, to explore new places and their foods, and to interact with different cultures and traditions could expand your world view.

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