11 Special Christmas Dinners from around the World

Written by Editor’s Picks, Student Life, Tips & Tricks

Eat Carp in Poland


Beetroot soup (barszcz), mushroom soup or dumplings are popular in Poland, but you can’t celebrate Christmas without carp (a river fish). People in Poland believe that eating carp brings luck, health and wealth for the coming year. Traditionally, fresh carp is bought from the market before Christmas day. The carp is kept in a bathtub, a swimming pool or a big basket before being fried for Christmas Eve dinner and served along with 11 other dishes. That’s why people around the world, who have already visited Poland, always say “Christmas dinner starts in the bathtub.”

Eat Apples in China

While other countries are exchanging high-tech equipment and expensive gifts such as Xbox, Iphones or other hardware, apples are given as Christmas gifts in China, 10 AUD for each in a colourful paper box. The word for apple, pingguo, is pronounced similar to the word Christmas, ping’an ye. This coincidence makes apples an exclusive present at Christmas time.

Eat Gammon with Coke in South Africa

Christmas in South Africa has the same weather as Australia. The hot blazing summer weather is suited to a roasted and fresh meal. Chicken, ham and jam are the most popular protein to prepare a massive Christmas Eve feast. But, gammon (with or without bone) has become more popular because of an influence of American customs, which is cooked in a large pot of water with brandy, lemon juice and coke. After 4 hours, the gammon is served with delicious and fresh potatoes, rice and green veggies.

Eat Hallacas in Venezuela


With an indigenious background and a multicultural heritage, hallacas are the iconic signature of the Venezuelan culture. A mixture of beef, pork, veggies, olives and raisins are wrapped in plantain leaves and then boiled for 1 hour (depending on the number of hallacas). People in Venezuela believes that because of its hard working and complicated process, it requires all the family members in the house to help each other from the preparation stage to the end process cooking stage. Thus, making the delicious hallacas on Christmas day represents one of the strongest holiday family traditions in Venezuela.

Eat KFC in Japan

A majority of the Japanese are Buddhist, but thanks to a successful KFC marketing campaign in the 1970s, eating KFC has become a traditional way of celebrating Christmas in Japan. This unique celebration attracts lots of media attention and foreign visitors. If you are in Japan to celebrate Christmas, remember to make a booking to get an amazing deal with fried chicken, cake, wine or champagne.

Eat traditional Almond Paste Bread in the Netherlands

People in Netherlands traditionally spend more than 3 days celebrating Christmas, so Christmas breakfast has all kinds of luxurious breads, teas and chocolates. Almond Paste Bread (kerststol) is considered a deluxe breakfast treat instead of cookies. The homemade baked cake is filled with expensive raisins, nuts, dried fruits and has almond paste. You can eat with butter or cheeses when having coffee or tea.

Eat Chicken Bones in Canada

Christmas would be missing its crucial sweet element in Canada if the chicken bone candies are not on the plates of kids and adults. The chicken bones are with filled with chocolate and covered in candy to melt smooth in your mouth.

Eat Lechon (roasted pig) in the Philippines 

BEST LECHON FOR LIFESTYLE - VANGIE REYES / JULY 27, 2012 Elars Lechon, Sabroso Lechon, Cebu Lechon, Hecky's, Eastwood Richmonde hotel, Flying Pig, Casa Armas PHOTO BY: ANDREW TADALAN / PDI PHOTO

Elars Lechon, Sabroso Lechon, Cebu Lechon, Hecky’s, Eastwood Richmonde hotel, Flying Pig, Casa Armas

Image c/o Ronald Tagra, Flickr

Image c/o Ronald Tagra, Flickr

80% of Philippines are Catholics so Christmas is a serious business for the country. A big and open feast, called Noche Buena, happens with family members, friends and neighbors on Christmas Eve from evening until midnight. A massive roasted pig with crunchy and oily skin wins over turkey and ham in the Phillipines to embody the spirit of Christmas. A big skewer hangs the pig over a big fire, which is prepared from the early morning around 4 am before being cooked at noon. Lechon makes for a juicier, merrier and brighter Christmas for Filipinos and their guests.

Eat Curry in India

Christians in India celebrate Christmas Eve dinner with the traditional curry dish and a sweet and milky pudding to end the meal.

Drink Vzvar (boil-up/borscht) in Russia

There are no meat dishes on Christmas Eve, so Russians mainly eat vegetables and fruits during the feast rather than meat or fish. Vegan Potluck and Beetroot Soup are the two popular dishes with salads. To make a unique Christmas meal, Russian drink Vzvar, a hot boiling drink with a mixture of dried fruits and honey. This traditional drink symbolizes the birth of the baby Jesus.

Eat Seafood in Australia


Because of the hot summer time in Christmas, Australians have combined a traditional barbecue style with  a cooler and refreshing meal through various kinds of seafood choices – prawns, oysters or lobsters. You will now easily catch a slang phrase “shrimp on the barbie”. The fish market opens 24/7 during Christmas Day so people can get fresh seafood for their Christmas Feast.

Last modified: December 22, 2015

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