What to do for Christmas dinner? It depends where you live

People traveling abroad this Christmas may not find their favorite holiday food on the menu.

That’s because traditional vacation fares vary around the world.

To see who’s eating what this weekend, culinary website Chef’s Pencil has created a map showing what are said to be the most popular Christmas dishes around the world.

Where turkey is the tradition

Travelers vacationing in the United States, Canada, France, Ireland and the United Kingdom can expect turkey on the table this Christmas, according to the map.

Those traveling to parts of South America can too — the map shows turkey is a popular Christmas meal in Brazil, Chile and Peru.

Still, every country has its own take on how turkey is traditionally served, according to research by Chef’s Pencil.

“For example, in Peru, roast turkey slices are served with a mixture of creme fraiche, chicken broth, lime juice, jalapeno pepper, fresh cilantro, and cayenne pepper,” the website reads. “In Chile, turkey is traditionally stuffed with apples.”

But there’s a similarity: Fried potatoes are served “almost everywhere” alongside turkey, according to Chef’s Pencil.

More and more countries are eating pork

Pork dishes are even more popular than turkey dishes, judging by the number of countries where both are served, Chef Pencil representative Salomea Restea told CNBC Travel.

Pork is the most popular traditional holiday dish in 23 countries, more than the 17 that focus on turkey, she said.

Suckling pig is the center of the traditional Christmas table in Spain and Cuba, while the Philippines enjoy roast pork according to the menu.

Filipina Marites Rheme Lopez Javier said “no one eats turkey” in her hometown of Bangar, La Union on the island of Luzon. Instead, families buy a live pig to cook at home, or a pre-roasted whole pig called a “lechon.”

“Lechon is very expensive,” she said, adding that a pig that can feed up to 50 people can cost more than $300.

That’s why “liempo,” or grilled pork belly, is also popular, she said. It can feed 10 people for 300-500 pesos ($5-9), she said.

Fried pork also dominates in Haiti, Switzerland and Slovenia, while ham is the most popular dish in Jamaica and South Africa, according to the menu.

Julskinka, which translates to “Christmas ham,” is a cold ham dish with mustard and breadcrumbs eaten in Sweden, while crispy pork ribs or ribbe are served in Norway for the holidays.

In Mexico and other parts of Central America, pork is steamed and wrapped in corn husks to make tamales, according to Chef’s Pencil.

But roast pork is another holiday hit in Mexico.

“In Mexico, a roast pork is covered with a generous layer of homemade adobo, a thick chili paste infused with vinegar or citrus juice, and infused with the flavors of onion, garlic, cumin and oregano,” the article reads.

Where other meats predominate

According to the map, duck dominates in Denmark and goose in Belarus and Russia.

However, chicken is the dish of choice for celebrations in Malta and Uganda, it turns out. According to the New York Times, Brazilians also eat Chester chickens, which are larger than average chickens but smaller than turkeys.

In the Netherlands, revelers grill a mix of meat and vegetables around the table at a festive meal known as gourmetten.

Italians traditionally eat veal, while Rwandans grill both beef and goat at Christmas, as the menu shows.

Other countries prepare a combination of meat for the holiday. Bolivia, for example, has a fondness for picana soup, often made with chicken, lamb and beef, seasoned with wine and beer.

rice, fish and shrimp

Stuffed cabbage rolls grace Christmas celebrations around the Black Sea, in places like Ukraine, Romania and Bulgaria, according to the map.

It also shows residents of Nigeria and Ghana celebrating over jollof rice – a dish made with long grain rice, tomatoes, onions and spices.

Carp, a freshwater fish, is popular in central and eastern Europe, while cod tops holiday menus in Italy and Portugal, the map shows.

In a post about Christmas in Portugal, travel website Portuguese for a Day states: “Christmas isn’t Christmas without cod on the table!”

Sydney insider Paula Williams said Australians feel the same way – about shrimp.

Crowds gather to buy prawns ahead of Christmas at the Sydney Fish Market, which experiences its busiest week of the year leading up to Christmas.

James D Morgan | News from Getty Images | Getty Images

“Shrimp are central to Aussies at Christmas,” she said. “People line up at the fish markets to buy shrimp. The snakes are huge – they are huge.”

With Christmas marking the start of summer, Christmas in Australia is “all about the outdoors,” she said.

“It’s about the barbie sitting in the sun and swimming,” she said. “It’s too damn hot to eat turkey.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *