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Alternative Christmas meals around the world

23 December 2019 08:52

Christmas doesn't have to taste of turkey

Christmas doesn't have to taste of turkey

Fried chicken for Christmas anyone? Or perhaps we could tempt you with a seafood salad? Read on for more obscure Christmas dishes...


The Japanese have a second white bearded man in their life around Christmas – Colonel Sanders! A successful advertising campaign in the 1970s made Kentucky Fried Chicken the meal of choice for the Japanese every 25th December. "Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii!" or "Kentucky for Christmas" has gathered so much momentum that families start placing their orders for chicken barrels – because buckets are far too small – from as early as October.

Costa Rica

Costa Rican families get together to form a tamale-making production line in preparation for the big day. What is it, exactly? Think a mixture of pork shoulder or chicken breast with potato and vegetables, all wrapped in banana leaves. The laborious dish is finished by boiling the wraps in a large pot. Tamales go alongside plates of baked pork legs with salad and white rice, all washed down with homemade eggnog infused with rum.


Men traditionally serve women their Christmas dinner in Greenland. The family sit down to strips of whale blubber encased in fat known as mattak. Even more brow-raising is the Inuit 'delicacy' of kiviak. Up to 500 auks (small puffin-like birds) are packed into a seal skin, which is then sewn up and left to ferment under stones for three months. Kiviak is enjoyed uncooked before a dessert of Christmas porridge, complete with butter, cinnamon and sugar.


While many down under embrace British favourites, the celebration falls at the height of the southern hemisphere's scorching summer and sees families head to the beach for a festive barbecue. Expect grilled chicken, an avocado and seafood salad and a sweet dessert known as White Christmas. The children's favourite uses Rice Krispies, coconut and dried fruit and currants. The grown ups still enjoy a brandy or rum soaked Christmas Pudding.


Poles out-serve the rest of the world by preparing twelve courses on Christmas Eve – the number said to represent wealth, the 12 apostles and the months of the year. Carp, herring and cabbage rolls are served alongside borscht, a beetroot soup and uszka: Polish dumplings (the word literally translates as "little ears"). It's custom for families to set an extra plate at the dinner table too, in case of unexpected guests.

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Remember your travel insurance before you mix your passport and presents. At World First we provide worldwide travel insurance, so you can enjoy a culinary Christmas with peace of mind.