Toss The Fruitcake And Embrace These Christmas Dishes From Around The World

If you live in the United States, you can probably depend on there being a ham and some casseroles this year. Maybe one of your uncles will bring a fruitcake as a joke (it wasn’t funny last year, either). Point being, much like Thanksgiving, Christmas dinner has its staples. The comfort foods we’ve come to know and love as we gather ’round the table for well wishes and yuletide charm are the same foods we’ve had since we were kids.

This year, let’s shake things up a bit. Let’s look to other countries and try something new. The video above suggests some dishes for Argentina, Australia, India, and Japan among others. The KFC commercialism doesn’t seem to be in the Christmas spirit, but who’s to judge? (Maybe it’s precisely in the Christmas spirit, depending on how jaded you are.)

Here are five of our favorites from around the globe for you to merrily force your family to try. Good luck and happy holidays.


MEXICO: Chiles en nogada

A fire roasted Poblano pepper stuffed with meat and topped with a creamy walnut sauce and pomegranate seeds? Screw the taco vs. burrito argument, this one steals the show.

RUSSIA: Zakuski

This hors d’oeuvres offering is a decadent spread of salty and savory snacks prior to the main coarse. The decadence may vary, of course, but it’s definitely going to feature some cured fish. You gotta have the cured fish on Christmas!


MALTA: Imbuljuta Tal-Qastan 

Chocolate and nuts…in a soup. Can this replace fruitcake? Please?


A sour-ish broth with rice and filled with meatballs. This is a smart balance of flavors at a time of year when so much food is one note (savory) — Romania is onto something here.

Denmark: Risalamande 

Risalamande is rice pudding with whipped cream, vanilla, and chopped almonds with a cherry sauce. Which…that sounds perfect, right? A dessert that even the Top Chef judges would like?

To make things even more exciting, an extra treat or small toy is often slipped into a few dishes to wish the lucky finder good luck in the year to come.