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June 22, 2023

Traditional Holiday Foods

  1. Latkes 

Latkes on Hanukkah comes from the idea of honoring and remembering the oil that lasted 8 nights while the Maccabees tribe reclaimed the temple of Jerusalem. Latkes are essentially fried potato pancakes, made from shredded potatoes, kosher salt, flour or matzo meal, onions, cooking oil, and eggs. Traditionally latkes are served with applesauce and sourcream. However, to add a bit more flavor people might include zucchini, cheese, or even top them with scallions. 


2. Sufganiyah

Similarly to Latkes, Sufagniyah are also eaten during Hanukkah to honor the miracle oil that lasted 8 nights. The word “Sufganiyah” is derived from the Greek word sufan meaning “fried”. The dish itself is a deep fried yeast dough stuffed with jam and is topped with powdered sugar. Foods like Latkes and Sufagniyah are essential dishes eaten during Hanukkah as it is a way to remember the small amount of oil used to help the Maccabee Tribe.

Sufganiyot (Israeli Donuts) - Once Upon a Chef

3. Lechon Kawali

Normally Christmas is not celebrated in most Asian countries, but Japan and the Philippines are an exception. Infact, in the Philippines it is common to begin decorating for Christmas in mid-October. As for food eaten on Christmas, Lechon Kawali is crispy pork topped with things like rice and oyster sauce. 


4. KFC

Believe it or not, KFC is a traditional Christmas food eaten in Japan. The tradition was started by the owner of Japan’s first KFC, shortly after opening. The owner noticed Japan didn’t have a traditional Christmas dinner like other countries so he developed the “party barrel.” Eating KFC on Christmas became such a popular tradition in Japan that people will now make orders two months in advance. It is even common for some KFC’s to have Colonel Sanders dressed up as Santa. 


5. Tamales

Tamales are typically eaten year-round in Mexico, however they are especially a necessity during Christmas. Eating tamales were originally used as a way to honor gods during various celebrations, but it wasn’t until the Spanish invasion–when Christianity was brought to Mexico–that eating tamales on Christmas became a tradition. Tamales are made from corn (masa), water, a savory meat or vegetable filling, and are wrapped in banana leaves. On the days leading up to Christmas, it is common for families to host tamale making parties or tamaladas to prepare for the holiday. 












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