The turkey is often the queen of the Christmas table, but while Christmas without one is almost unthinkable in the United States, Canada or the UK, it’s not really the top choice in most countries around the world.

Chef’s Pencil have been putting a lot of work in to illustrate the most popular Christmas dishes all around the globe.

In some respects, the world is shrinking and turning into a melting pot of cultures, with their cuisines mixing together along the way. So how about adding some spice and glamor to your Christmas table this year?

To get you inspired, we’ve rounded up some of the most interesting Christmas delicacies that you can try this year. We promise they are all delicious! You might need some extra kitchen utensils for some of them, but if you have limited space in your kitchen, instead of over-cluttering it you could rent a small 5’x5’ self storage unit to put them in.

1. Mexican Tamales

Tamales are a staple Christmas dish throughout Central America, but nothing comes close to the delicious Mexican version.

They are also a symbolic dish – made with masa (corn dough) that supposedly served as God’s material for creating people. This is probably the very reason why this simple dish made its way to the Christmas table. Masa rolls are filled with various types of meats and then wrapped in banana leaves.

They taste fantastic when steamed. Just make sure you remove the leaves before eating tamales.

2. Argentinean/Spanish suckling pig

Spaniards and Argentineans know how to make and serve a high-quality piece of meat – the secret lies not only in top quality produce but also in presentation and the right wine to go with.

Cochinillo asado or suckling pig steals the spotlight on the festive table (although that’s not the only mouthwatering option there for sure).

With an apple in the pig’s mouth, a dark-brown crust, and herbal flavors tickling your nostrils as soon as you enter the dining room, you won’t be able to resist this delicacy even if you’re on the strictest of diets. And imagine the caramelized potatoes and onions slowly roasting beneath the pork — irresistible!

Favorite Christmas Foods Across the Americas
Favorite Christmas Foods Across the Americas

3. Australian grilled prawns

Prawns on Christmas Day might seem quite unusual but remember that in Australia Christmas falls in the summer season. Grilled prawns have become a Christmas staple Down Under since the 80s, and why not? They are delicious and perfect for a light summer dinner. Even if you’re not ready to swap your favorite turkey roast for seafood, you could introduce grilled prawns as a fancy extra. Add a creamy garlic sauce for the perfect combo.

‍”Just bear in mind to clean grills on time!”, notes cookery cleaner Matt Smith. “The #1 reason for complicated cleaning afterwards is not acting to mitigate on time. When done with your meal, make sure to give your grill a good rinse before nasty stuff hardens”, the expert adds.

4. Ethiopian Doro Wat

One of the national dishes in Ethiopia, and a centerpiece of the festive table there, is a chicken-based stew called doro wat. It’s served on top of injera (Ethiopian flatbread) and is an interesting alternative to a large roasted fowl.

Be aware that local recipes can sometimes be way too spicy for unprepared Westerners. One key ingredient is berbere, a traditional Ethiopian blend of spices, and you could use only a half or a third the recommended amount if you don’t want to risk burning your taste buds.

5. Swedish pork ham

Julskinka is the Swedish term for Christmas ham, and it’s a top festive-season choice not only in many Northern European countries (Sweden, Finland, and Iceland) but also the Caribbean, the Philippines and South Africa.

The recipes differ across the regions, but generally julskinka is unsmoked and salt cured pork ham. It works great for your festive table, especially if you plan it the Swedish way – as a buffet.

Julskinka Swedish Christmas Ham
Julskinka Swedish Christmas Ham

6. Danish roasted duck

Denmark is rather unique as three out of four families there opt for a roast duck (andesteg) at Christmas.

Duck may not be to everyone’s taste, but the Danish recipe is definitely worth trying at least once. The secret of an authentic Danish duck roast lies in the stuffing – onions, a generous helping of thyme, fried sliced apples, and prunes.

7. German roasted goose

For many Germans, the Christmas meat of choice is goose. You’ll appreciate goose if you like juicy and slightly fatty meat – goose beats turkey by a mile here. Plus, serving it German-style is a game changer: just make sure you provide the hearty Kartoffelklöße (potato dumplings) and the tangy Apfelrotkohl (red cabbage & apple) as the sides.

8. Polish fried carp

Here’s a wonderful piece of news for all pescatarians – some countries replace a roast fowl with fried fish. While shunned in North America and much of Western Europe, Carp has earned the hearts and stomachs of lots of Europeans and become a centerpiece on Christmas tables in Poland, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia and throughout Germany.

Strictly speaking, it doesn’t replace meat dishes altogether – it is served on 24th December, which is supposed to be a meatless dinner anyway. You can still reserve your family’s favorite meat for the next day.

There are tons of recipes for Christmas carp, but I’d recommend starting with the traditional Austrian flour-coated, pan-fried carp topped with breadcrumbs. The dish is as palatable as it is unpretentious. The crunchy outer coating is balanced by the tender, juicy flesh inside and pairs well with all kinds of potato and vegetable dishes.

Fried carp with Christmas decorations
Fried carp with Christmas decorations

9. Dutch gourmetten

This is not a dish but a whole festive ritual of eating and communicating. The Dutch gourmetten may be compared to the Swiss raclette.

You gather around a table where you have a large platter with all sorts of meats, and a cute, small frying pan for every guest. Expect all kinds of meat to fry, for example hare, venison, turkey and goose. Vegetables and Christmas bread (kerstbrood) are also typical. It’s a great option if you’re not into spending hours to roast and stuff a fowl, as you can make your guests do the job and have some fun — a win-win!

10. Ukrainian holubtsi

No Ukrainian family gathering goes by without holubtsi, the local term for stuffed cabbage rolls.

This dish was introduced in Eastern Europe by the Tatars and is also beloved in Poland (goląki), Romania (sarmale), Serbia (sarma), Lithuania (balandėliai) and Hungary (töltött káposzta).

What’s special about Ukrainian Christmas holubtsi is that you’re expected to have two kinds – one for the meatless Christmas Eve meal and the other one for the more festive Christmas Day event. Both types are baked in tomato sauce, and it’s the stuffing that makes all the difference.

Try the meat ones (stuffed with the mixture of rice and beef-and-pork minced meat) for the big table, but settle with modest buckwheat and onion filling for Christmas Eve. The meatless holubtsi taste surprisingly delicious given that they’re so basic and not even served with the usual sour cream.

Favorite Christmas Foods Across Europe
Favorite Christmas Foods Across Europe

So, think about which one is your favorite and prepare for a mouth-watering Christmas!


You can reach out to StorageCafe's editorial staff by sending an email to [email protected].

Write A Comment