From roast turkey to dry salted codfish, every county has their own traditions when it comes to Christmas fare and some of the dishes that are commonly eaten over the festive season may be rather surprising. Christmas is a time for indulgence, but as cultures differ across the globe, so too do the dishes that make it on to the table over this festive period.
While scientists are hard at work at creating hi-tech Christmas dinners most of us are quite happy to sit around a table and enjoy delicious meals that we’ve either grown up with, or become accustomed to eating due to our geographical location. In the western world we are all familiar with turkey, roast potatoes and all the trimmings, but when you take a look at other traditional Christmas dinners you may be surprised to see what passes as a festive treat.
A KFC festive treat
In the US a Christmas meal would typically comprise of a succulent turkey, heaps of golden roast potatoes, stuffing, carrots, peas and gravy, while on the other side of the world in Japan you’ll find everyone is also tucking into a very traditional American dish, that of KFC!
In Japan KFC has become the most popular dish on the 25th December, largely due to the massively successful marketing campaign of Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii, or ‘Kentucky for Christmas’ was launched a few years back, captivating a nation that don’t generally celebrate the day as only 1% of the nation is Christian. KFC has become the closest meat you’ll find to turkey in Japan and bucket of Christmas Chicken is now as commonplace as a turkey at an American dinner.
A meatless Christmas
Christmas without turkey may be one thing, but Christmas without meat is an entirely different concept all together. However, in Bulgaria this is exactly what is served, and instead of one main dish, 12 vegetarian dishes are prepared to mark the 12 months of the year. In the Czech Republic a fish soup starter is a Christmas starter, followed by carp and a potato salad with onions, cooked eggs, gherkins and mayonnaise that’s made the day before to marinate, and there’s not a sniff of a ham or turkey in sight.
Unusual dishes for December
Every country has its own traditions but Norway has some that may make your toes curl. Lamb ribs are traditionally dished up as Christmas dinner, but in addition the lambs head is also served as an accompaniment, and the eye muscles and tongue are considered particularly tasty cuts. You’ll need to use the Shun Classic Asian Cooks Knife that can be purchased online from stores like Cilantro Cooks to cut through the head, as its nothing like carving a traditional turkey!
In Sweden pigs feet are also considered a Christmas delicacy and in Romania pork and beef aspic are always on the table. Fried eel in Italy, smoked lamb in Iceland and waffles and carp in Slovakia are all traditional Christmas dishes and it’s very clear to see that turkey and all its trimmings is not the only festive fare that is considered a treat.