Alternative Christmas Meals From Around The World

The Christmas turkey. How do you feel about the Christmas turkey? It’s a strange one. You very rarely speak to anyone who absolutely loves it, whilst most are indifferent at a push. So the fact it’s stuck around for so long on festive meals may be somewhat surprising.

It doesn’t seem to feature at all around the world either, but what does take centre place?

Puerto Rico

Christmas in Puerto Rico is a celebration. A big celebration. It begins early December and runs right through to the 6th of January – the most important day of them all for the children.

With Christmas here being centred around big family gatherings and social occasions, food obviously takes pride of place. Most Puerto Ricans feel their Christmas was lacking if they didn’t get to feast upon an old fashioned lechón asao (hog-roast to you and me). Cooking the pig is a big event. The pig is purchased and prepared a couple of days ahead. On the “big day” the pig is mounted on a stick and put to cook as early at 4 in the morning. At least two people must be on “watch” with the pig to turn it and make sure all goes well whilst celebrations go on around them.


The most common Christmas dishes in Iceland are ham (hamborgarahryggur), smoked lamb (hangikjöt) and ptarmigan (rjúpa). Ptarmigan (like grouse) is no longer a food for the poor and has become very popular with Icelanders, and the ptarmigan hunting season is one of the most anticipated events of the year for hunters. These dished are lavishly prepared with side dishes including potatoes, prepared in many different ways, peas and beans, gravy, jam etc. The cook usually spends most of the day cooking, with help, of course, from other family members.



Now, I know what you’re thinking. An Australia Christmas consists of sun, long days on the beach and ‘throwing another shrimp on the barbie’ to complete the stereotype!

You’re not wrong, though. Australian’s do often enjoy a barbie on Christmas day and, yes, it does often consist of shrimp and prawns with over 40% of Australia’s prawn consumed over the festive period.

However, in recent times the ‘more traditional’ British Christmas dinner has become more commonplace on Christmas day down under. Must be those pigs in blankets; although imagine them on the aforementioned barbie…


In France and many French speaking countries at Christmas they have something called the réveillon. It traditionally eaten on Christmas eve or early Christmas morning, after the midnight church service

The réveillon is a long dinner and dishes include roast turkey with chestnuts or roast goose, oysters, foie gras, lobster, venison and various cheeses.


Bear with me here, things are about to get weird. If you already know where this going I’m sure you struggle to get your head round it too!


So, the Japanese (well, the majority) go mad for KFC on Christmas Day. Absolute mad for it. Reservations at the Colonel’s fast-food chain around the country are ridiculously competitive. Queues out the door. Colonel Sanders dressed up as Santa. Sparkling wine and chocolate cake. Madness.

This all came about after a successful marketing ploy in 1974 which promoted “Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii!” (Kentucky for Christmas!). Well, KFC, you’ve done a job there in eradicating the turkey conundrum. Fried chicken it is!

The power of Marketing, eh! Probably helps that the Japanese don’t recognise Christmas as a national holiday due to a very, very low percentage of Christians, but impressive all the same. If you would like to find out more about how Marketing can open up a wealth of opportunities, please click here!



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