Alternative Food options for Christmas Dinner

Menu preparation for Christmas is relatively simple: “How many people are coming and how large a turkey do I need?” Typical toppings such as potatoes, Brussel sprouts, gravy and bread sauce, etc., are also easy choices.

5 Christmas dinner ideas if you’re vegan or vegetarian

But this year, how about trying something new, other than a whole turkey dinner?… Here are some recipes for alternative Christmas dinner options from around the world that can give you fresh ideas to celebrate your Christmas 2020 with a new, unique dish instead of turkey.

Roasted Duck, Goose, or Rabbit in Germany

The Germans are dining on roasted duck, goose, or rabbit as their main course for a Christmas dinner. Favorites such as sausage stuffing, potato dumplings, and red cabbage are their side dishes. The most popular holiday dessert in the country is Stollen, a long flat sweetened bread similar to a fruit cake.

Alternative food options for Christmas Dinner

Seafood in New Zealand and Australia

Christmas is mostly an outdoor celebration for people in the Southern Hemisphere. Many of them make the most of the mild summer weather by holding a barbecue for Christmas lunch. The recipes differ, as some families tend to barbecue seafood, such as salmon and shrimp, while others select ham or even exotic meats.

Celebrating Christmas is a very different affair in Australia. Instead of gathering around a fire, drinking nice mulled wine, and nibbling on roasted chestnuts, they’re hanging out at the beach and preparing a fine old barbecue.

The Feast of Seven Fishes in Italy

The Feast of Seven Fishes, also known as the Festa dei Sette Pesci, is a well-known Christmas tradition in Italy. The dinner is a seven-course meal, consisting of seafood dishes such as crab, octopus, clams, mussels, and fried eel. The final course is reserved for traditional Italian desserts such as panettone or homemade tiramisu.

Turkey Tamales in Honduran

Christmas is a very important holiday in Honduras, not just because the population is predominantly Catholic, but also because it is a traditional aspect of family life. The biggest celebrations will take place on 24 December.

The festive cuisine in this Central American country is all about tamales. The families meet to share the mini parcels stuffed with everything from chicken, pork, and cheese to dried fruit. Turkey tamales have become popular in recent years as a variant of the Honduran tradition. When stuffed, the packets are covered in plantain leaves and boiled or steamed.

Roasted Pig in The Philippines

The Philippines has one of the longest Christmas seasons in the world; they begin to rejoice as early as September.  After midnight mass on Christmas Eve, the Filipinos share a grand Noche Buena feast, featuring lechón – a spit-roasted suckling pig. You can also see queso de bola (a ball of cheese), spring rolls, fruit salad, and spaghetti on the table.

Alternative food option for Christmas Dinner

Kutia in Ukraine 

People in Ukraine celebrate Christmas on the 7th of January. The Holy Supper is celebrated as soon as the first star is visible in the sky. There are 12 popular dishes, including a sweet grain pudding called Kutia, a meatless borscht beet soup, and varenyky – a dumpling similar to pierogies filled with cabbage and potatoes.

Seafood and salad in The Netherlands

Traditional Christmas dinners in the Netherlands are somewhat different from those in the neighboring countries. The Dutch call ‘gourmetten’ their main meal.

A family or a group of friends will gather around a small table with a stove and mini frying pans. Here, they drink fine wines and talk while frying various varieties of beef, fish, prawns, and shrimp, as well as crunchy greens, salads, fruit, and tasty sauces. Variants for this festive feast include more traditional Western European dishes, such as roast beef, duck, and pheasant.

Yiaprakia in Greece

It is popular for Greek families to celebrate Christmas dinner with roasted lamb as their main dish. But in the northern regions of the country, you’ll find Yiaprakia (brined pork-stuffed cabbage rolls) on the table. Another Greek tradition on Christmas Eve is to make Christopsomo, a rustic sweetbread full of raisins, almonds, cardamom, and cloves. The bread is adorned with a crucifix and made into a beautiful centerpiece on Christmas Day.

Alternative food options for christmas dinner

Chicken from KFC in Japan

Believe it or not, 3.6 million Japanese people enjoy Christmas with a bucket of crisp fried KFC chicken.

KFC’s exclusive Christmas dinner package-including fried chicken, side salad, chocolate cake, and drink-needs to be ordered weeks in advance.

This phenomenon was masterminded by Takeshi Okawara, owner of Japan’s first KFC store after he overheard a few expatriates moaning that they were homesick for turkey at Christmas time. In addition, Okawara invented a festive ‘party barrel’ for the KFC, thinking that fried chicken will be an acceptable replacement for people to feel more at home. The initiative was taken over by KFC HQ, and since it was introduced nationally in 1974, ‘Kentucky for Christmas’ has become a regional sensation of crazy success.

Ananya Vatsa
Ananya Vatsa

A Story teller, Traveller, Entertainer and Bollywood fan.
Recent Journalism Graduate from University of Limerick.

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