17 of the World’s Best Christmas Dishes


‘Tis the season to be eating…

Well, ok, there is a touch of family bonding and we can’t forget the spirit of giving. BUT…

We all know that Christmas is really about gorging guiltlessly on a mildly shameful amount of food because it’s Just. So. Good.  Want to see how the rest of the world does it? Of course you do. Here’s a healthy amount of festive foodie naughtiness, for your viewing pleasure. You can thank me in the comments…


1. The Argentinian Pionono – Sweet sponge rolled around a sweet or savoury filling makes for a sexy Argentinian take on an old Spanish classic. And it’s fun to say…try it, pionono…mmmm.  Gracias, Renato Ganoza.


2. The Australian Pavlova – Tangy, sweet, soft and crispy – in the high heat of Aussie Christmas, this light summer beauty is just what you need after a hot day of opening presents. Cheers, Kimberly Vardeman.


3. The Brazilian Farofa – So toasted flour might not sound special, but with a little Brazilian magic this side dish does wonders for any Christmas meat.  Try it with beef and see how it soaks up the juices…delicioso.  Obrigado, Helder Ribeiro.

bûche de Noël

4. The French Bûche de Noël – Better known to you, me and Paul Hollywood (we love you Paul!) as the Yule Log, this chocolaty masterpiece is an Christmas staple in France. Merci beaucoup, Caitlin Childs

Cola de mono

5. The Chilean Cola de Mono – Literal translation: ‘monkey’s tail’. Why? Nobody really knows…We do know however, that it’s delicious. A yummy mix of condensed milk, brandy and sugar shows the Chileans rule when it comes to Christmas tipples. Gracias, Stuart Webster.


6. The Colombian Buñuelo – Colombians begin their Christmas season on the 7th December – el dia e las velitas – and break out these deep fried, cheesy balls of deliciousness in honour of the Virgin Mary. Trust us, they may look simple but they taste heavenly. Gracias, scalleja.

Carp soup

7. The Czech Carp Soup – It’s customary to fast before eating this Christmas soup in the Czech Republic; legend has it that in this way you’ll see a golden piglet before your meal who will bring you good fortune. Piglet or not, it’s still pretty good. Děkuji, caprilemon.


8. The Danish Risengrød – Along with celebrating Christmas on the 24th, the Danish have added their own twist to this well-known dish. A whole almond is hidden in the batch of pudding, and the person who finds it wins a small prize. Way to bring some extra excitement to the holidays Denmark… Tak, Pille – Nami-nami.

Liver casserole

9. The Finnish Liver Casserole – According to a 2011 survey, liver casserole is the most disliked dish amongst Finnish schoolchildren…  unfortunately for the kids, liver casserole is typically served at Christmas dinner in Finalnd. Let’s hope Finnish Santa makes up for it with some awesome presents. Kiitos, hfb.


10. The German Stollen – The festive dessert that is so yummy, there’s an annual festival dedicated to its appreciation. Every year in Dresden, a gigantic Stollen is baked weighing up to four tonnes. The cake is then paraded through the town before being distributed amongst the people. Danke, kochtopf.


12. The Icelandic Laufabrauð – Roughly translated to ‘leaf-bread’, this deep fried snack get its name from the cool patterns that are carved into it before frying. The flat discs end up looking like paper snowflakes, only better because they’re edible. Xmas decorations that you can eat? Good thinking Iceland. Pakker per, briansuda.


13. The Italian Panettone – Originating in Milan, Panettone is a tall, mushroom cloud-shaped bread that’s cut in slices like a cake. It’s made with citron, dry raisins, orange and lemon zest and has pride of place on most Italian Christmas tables. Grazie, Nicola since 1972.


14. Mexican Romeritos – This Mexico City speciality is the weirdest Christmas dish on the list, and therefore my favourite. Rosemary-like romarito leaves are mixed with mole and potatoes, then eaten alongside dried shrimp patties – “tortitas de camarón”. As for the distinct, tart taste, you either love it or you hate it. Gracias, PAM.


15. The Norwegian Pinnekjøtt – A north and western Norwegian Christmas staple, Pinnekjøtt consists of smoked, salted and dried rehydrated lambs’ ribs steamed over birch branches. Served up with potatoes and pureed rutabaga (Swedish turnip) and washed down with Christmas schnapps akevitt, it’s one of the heartiest meals on our list. Takk, Den late ku.


16. Filipino Bibingka – Aren’t these rice cakes pretty? Bibingka are Filipinos’ go-to Christmas dessert, and it’s not hard to see why – they come wrapped up like presents in banana leaf liners. Make them yourself by mixing rice flour, sugar and clarified butter, baking the cakes in layers and topping with butter, sugar and coconut. Salamat, MVI.

12 dishes

17. The Polish 12 Dish Christmas – In Lithuania, Ukraine and Poland, Christmas Eve is marked by a 12-dish Christmas feast representing the 12 apostles or the 12 months of the year. Warming fare includes pierogis with fillings like sauerkraut and smashed poppy seeds, herring and borscht. Dziękuję, TijsB.

Let us know what you think in the comments…

And if you’re suddenly feeling  inspired to travel the world and sample them, remember you can always book your cheap hotels with us at HostelBookers.com.

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