25 Delicious and Healthy Holiday Dishes from Around the World

Many enjoy these treats with a hot cup of tea or coffee. Shutterstock.

13. Philippines: Bibingka

During the holiday season, bibingka is a common breakfast item in the Philippines. Bibingka consists of rice flour or sticky rice, coconut milk, sugar, and water wrapped and cooked in banana leaves. Eggs, cheese, and coconut flakes are sometimes added as a garnish.

This dish is usually served for breakfast or after Simbáng Gabi — a nine-day series of Filipino Catholic masses leading up to Christmas. In fact, it’s common to have food stations set up outside of church for churchgoers to buy bibingka and other popular sweets, such as steamed rice cakes known as puto bumbong. Many enjoy these treats with a hot cup of tea or coffee.

Lentils (symbolizing wealth/good fortune). Shutterstock.

14. Italy: Lentils

In Italy, New Year’s Eve is known as “La Festa di San Silvestro,” or St. Sylvester’s Feast. The celebration centers around a massive meal with family and friends, and one of the traditional items at the table is a big pot of lentils. Legumes are thought to symbolize money and prosperity, so Italians eat lots of them in hopes of bringing themselves wealth and success in the coming year.

For an Italian twist on your New Year’s Eve celebration, cook up a big pot of our lentil stew on December 31. Many Italians celebrate the end of the old year and the start of New Year’s Day with fireworks. Many people celebrate a New Year’s dinner with dishes that include: Risotto in bianco (white risotto). Lentils (symbolizing wealth/good fortune).

The perfect theme for a New Year’s celebration. Shutterstock.

15. Korea: Kimchi and Dduk Gook (Rice Cake Soup)

Kimchi is a popular food in Korea at any time of year, but it’s impossible to image a holiday feast without it. The New Year, or Soll, is also one of the biggest times of celebration in Korea, as it is in countries across Asia that follow the Chinese calendar. Kimchi is usually made with cabbage, but one of these more modern takes, made with cucumbers or turnips, could also be a fun way to mix a bit of the old with the new.

The perfect theme for a New Year’s celebration. For a fully festive Korean meal, serve it with rice cake soup (dduk gook) and an array of vegetable sides. Korean New Year, Solnal, is greeted with steaming bowls of rice cake soup called duk gook – “comfort food,” Make this warm, soothing bowl of rice cake soup with dumplings for your New Year celebration! 

 

Often you’ll find them served at New Year’s celebrations with assorted pickled vegetables. Shutterstock.

16. Vietnam: Banh Chung

One of the most important foods consumed during New Year’s (or Tết) celebrations in Vietnam, bahn chung is a large rice cake with layers of pork, mung bean, and other ingredients encased in a thick layer of soft, sticky rice. The whole packet is usually wrapped in the leaves of a giant type of bamboo called lá dong, though banana leaves might also work well. Banh chung are square in shape to represent the earth. Bánh dày is a similar type of rice cake eaten during the holidays, but it is round in shape to represent the sky.

Often you’ll find them served at New Year’s celebrations with assorted pickled vegetables, like daikon or shallots. For a different take on a traditional food, try our Crisp Sushi-Rice Cakes as a side or an appetizer in your New Year’s meal. “Banh Chung” (square glutinous rice cake) is a traditional cake of Vietnamese people in Tet holidays. For the Vietnamese, making Banh Chung is an ideal way to express gratitude to their ancestors and homeland In the ancient conception, the Earth is square, hence Banh Chung has square shape to reflect the Earth. 

Shuba “herring under a fur coat,” is a popular dish served during the holiday season in Russia. Shutterstock.

17. Russia: Shuba

While most countries celebrate Christmas on December 25th, Russia is one of the few countries that celebrates this holiday on January 7th in accordance with the Orthodox Julian calendar. Colloquially known as “herring under a fur coat,” shuba is a popular dish served during the holiday season in Russia.

Its main ingredients include pickled herring, hard-boiled eggs, mayonnaise, and grated vegetables like carrots, beets, potatoes, and onions. The dish gets its name from its top layer, which is usually made of mayonnaise or a beet dressing that resembles a warm winter coat. While this may seem like an unconventional dish, it’s an excellent source of protein, potassium, antioxidants, and vitamins A and B.

Ethiopia celebrates Christmas on January 7th, not December 25th. Shutterstock.

18. Ethiopia: Yebeg wot

Similarly to Ethiopia’s national dish, doro wat (chicken stew), yebeg wot is a popular lamb stew served during the holiday season. Weeks prior to the holidays, farmers feed lambs a high calorie diet. This leads to fatty, tender meat, which is added to a stew made of onions, tomatoes, garlic, kibbeh (Ethiopian butter), berbere spice mix, and various spices. Many serve yebeg wot with injera, a popular flatbread. This dish is a rich source of protein, carbs, and antioxidants.

Ethiopia (and especially the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church) celebrates Christmas on January 7th, not December 25th. The Ethiopian Calendar has different months – and Christmas in on the 29th of Tahsas. Many other orthodox churches around the world also celebrate Christmas on the 7th January.

Considered one of Canada’s quintessential treats. Shutterstock.

19. Canada: Butter tarts 

While a typical Canadian diet is similar to that of a typical U.S. diet, it has a few classic treats of its own. Butter tarts are a Canadian dessert that’s served during many holidays, but mostly during Thanksgiving and Christmas. They’re small pastries with a sweet filling made of butter, sugar, maple or corn syrup, eggs, and sometimes walnuts and raisins. Enjoy these tarts with a cup of coffee for the ultimate treat.

A butter tart is a type of small pastry tart highly regarded in Canadian cuisine and considered one of Canada’s quintessential treats. The sweet tart consists of a filling of butter, sugar, syrup, and egg, baked in a pastry shell until the filling is semi solid with a crunchy top.

It translates to “hung meat” and involves smoked lamb or mutton. Shutterstock.

20. Iceland: Hangikjöt 

Served during Christmas, hangikjöt is one of the most popular Icelandic holiday foods. It translates to “hung meat” and involves smoked lamb or mutton. Its name originates from the traditional practice of hanging smoked meats in a smoking shed for weeks to develop a smoky, salty flavor. Hangikjöt is commonly served with green beans, potatoes that are coated in a white béchamel sauce, and side of pickled red cabbage.

Iceland is a magical place in winter. Watch the Northern Lights, visit the ice caves, or go hiking on a glacier. These and other incredible experiences will make your winter trip to Iceland unforgettable, and Hangikjöt is all art of the experinece. 

Eggnog is traditionally consumed over the Christmas season, from late October until the end of the holiday season.  shutterstock.

21. United States: Eggnog

Eggnog isn’t a holiday treat around the world. In fact, it’s mostly enjoyed in the United States and Canada. This drink is made from milk, cream, whipped egg whites, egg yolks, and sugar, resulting in a creamy, smooth texture. Most people enjoy eggnog as an alcoholic beverage by adding rum, bourbon, or brandy. Throughout the United States, eggnog is traditionally consumed over the Christmas season, from late October until the end of the holiday season. 

To make the healthy homemade eggnog: add almond milk, honey, egg yolks, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a blender and blend for approximately 1 minute or until smooth; pour the mixture from the blender into a saucepan and add cloves; cook the eggnog on medium heat for 10-15 minutes. 

An Australian Christmas is usually spent around the barbie. Shutterstock.

22. Australia: BBQ

With the sun shining down under there’s only one thing to have on Christmas Day and that’s a BBQ. An Australian Christmas is usually spent around the barbie with plenty of family and friends for company. Not all Aussies opt for the BBQ though, some prefer a classic European roast – we can’t blame them!

Other than BBQ for dinner, dessert is the main focus on Christmas Day in New Zealand. Hot fruit pudding, fruit salad and ice cream are only a few of the desserts families feast on. Another favourite is a classic Pavlova topped with cream and heaps of fresh berries. It’s the showstopper often proudly displayed in the centre of the table – who could blame them?

Why not turn your apples into a impressive dessert and serve on Christmas Eve? Shutterstock.

23. China: Apples

It is a traditional German bread eaten during the Christmas season. Shutterstock.

24. Germany: Stollen

A Stollen is a German fruit cake packed with dried fruit and marzipan. Dusted with icing, this impressive bake is usually eaten during the Christmas season in Germany.  It is called ‘Weihnachtsstollen’ or ‘Christstollen’. The Stollen dates back from the 15th Century when it was given as a gift at Christmas. 

Stollen is a fruit bread of nuts, spices, and dried or candied fruit, coated with powdered sugar or icing sugar. It is a traditional German bread eaten during the Christmas season. Stollen is a little sourdough-like in flavor with a dense, somewhat cakey crumb. Partly because it sits for at least two weeks before serving. Booze-soaked fruit and nuts are folded into the batter, along with some additional flavorings and spices, and there you have a colorful canvas of flavors.

South Koreans are well-known for their beautiful, artistic Christmas cake decorations. Shutterstock.

25. Global: Christmas cake

Christmas cake is a popular dessert around the world. It’s a type of fruit cake made of flour, eggs, sugar, spices, candied cherries, dried fruit, and brandy. Traditional Christmas cake is made at least 2 months ahead to allow adequate time to slowly “feed” the cake with brandy every 2 weeks. Finally, it’s topped with a marzipan icing.

While it’s mostly known as a British dessert, many countries serve Christmas cake during the holiday season. In fact, South Koreans are well-known for their beautiful, artistic Christmas cake decorations. In the UK, fruitcakes come in many varieties, from extremely light to rich and moist. The traditional Christmas cake is a round fruitcake covered in marzipan and then in white royal icing or fondant icing. Historically fruitcake was referred to as ‘plum cake’ in England since around 1700.

Where did we find this stuff? Here are our sources:

www.healthline.com
www.goodto.com
www.delish.com
www.foodnetwork.com
https://sweden.se/
https://sharonpalmer.com/
https://euholidaycookbook.org/
Holidays of the World Cookbook for Students, Lois Sinaiko Webb, April 12, 2011

 

 

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