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Holiday Recipes Around the World

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Good food is one of the many wonderful things about the holidays. It celebrates seasonal flavors, plays a part in cherished traditions, and most of all, it brings people together. This month, we’re taking a culinary trip and learning more about traditional holiday recipes across the globe!

 

 

 

India

Our first stop is India! India is a country with one of the largest numbers of holidays in the world, and they’re joyous occasions are full of color and delicious food. Diwali, the festival of lights, is celebrated in the fall according to the lunar calendar and is known for its dazzling array of sweets. Christmas is also celebrated, especially in areas with large Christian populations such as Goa, Mumbai, and Manipur. 

Gulab Jamun

A Diwali staple, this Indian treat is made from milk solids and flour, and is soaked in rose sugar syrup (so good!). Get the recipe and method HERE

Neureos 

 📷: Celebration in my Kitchen

This sweet pastry is filled with various coconut fillings and is traditionally served in the state of Goa during the Christmas season. Recipe HERE.

Philippines

You may hear Christmas carols as early as September in the Philippines (our kind of people!). Holiday customs are a blend of western and native Filipino traditions, and one of the most popular is the parol, a tall star lantern made from bamboo. At the Noche Buena, or Christmas Eve midnight feast, you’ll probably find bibingka and mechado on the serving table. 

Bibingka

📷: Kawaling Pinoy

This classic Christmas treat is a sweet rice cake often made with shavings of cheese and coconut on top. Recipe HERE.

Mechado

Braised beef and vegetables in a tomato base is hearty and cozy, and is customarily served with rice or bread. Recipe HERE

China

Chinese New Year is one of the most feted holidays throughout the country, with colorful events and delicious feasts that bring family and friends together. Celebrations are full of red for good luck, and some of the dishes served are regionally specific, like jiaozi (dumplings) that are typically made in the north, and nian goa (rice cakes) in the south. 

Jiaozi 

Dumplings symbolize wealth and good fortune (who doesn’t want a bit of that for the new year!), and can be made with endless variations from savory to sweet. They can also be prepared several ways, including steamed, boiled, or pan fried. Get the starter recipe HERE then get creative. 

Nian Gao 

📷: The Woks of Life

Symbolizing progress and growth, this sweet rice cake is a staple on New Year’s party tables. Get the recipe HERE

Pakistan

Eid-al-Fitr is a religious holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. Annual dates vary depending on the lunar calendar, but you can always count on an impressive assortment of sweet treats to be shared among family and friends!

Creamy vermicelli pudding

📷: Cook with Manali

It wouldn’t be Eid if this classic sweet pudding didn’t grace the family table. It’s made with milk, sugar, and dates and topped with nuts for flavor and texture (and is giving us serious food envy). Recipe HERE

Italy

It’s no secret Italians enjoy a good party, and Christmas is no exception. Festivities begin on December 8 to mark the Immaculate Conception and keep going all month long! Recipe staples on Christmas Eve and Christmas include meat, pasta (of course!), and sweet panettone bread. Pandoro, listed below, is another favorite. 

Pandoro

The simple flavors of butter, sugar, and vanilla yield delicious results in this classic holiday bread/cake. Recipe HERE

Mexico

The season kicks off on December 3 to honor the Virgin of Guadalupe, and celebrations and customs are a blend of Spanish and Indigenous cultures. Chances are, you probably already enjoy many of the foods that are traditionally served, and if you haven’t put in your tamale order yet, not to worry, you can make your own at home! They take some time to make, but they’re worth it!

Tamales

There are too many tamale recipes to count, but you’d better believe they’re all delicioso. Get some ideas HERE

Bunuelos

📷: Isabel Eats

We can see why this treat of fried dough and cinnamon sugar is a holiday mainstay! Recipe HERE

Thailand

As primarily a Buddhist country, Thailand celebrates a number of religious holidays throughout the year. Recognized in April, Songkran is the Thai New Year and is one of the most important feast days. Alongside traditional dishes of fish, curries, and satays, you’ll probably see poa pee (egg rolls), small bites of meat wrapped in long noodles for good luck, and sangkaya.

Sangkaya

📷: Serious Eats

Enjoy the tastes of Thailand with this velvety coconut egg custard. Pandan leaves can be found in a well-stocked Asian market. Recipe HERE

Vietnam

Vietnamese New Year (Tet) is the most important holiday in the country and is held during January or February. It’s an opportunity for family and friends to come together, and no one leaves hungry! 

Banh Chung

These sticky rice cakes are a must when ringing in the lunar new year, and are usually filled with pork and mung beans. Recipe and method HERE

Happy Eating!