As much of the world prepares for the Christmas holiday, skilled cooks’ international, creative dishes will be front and center. These foods will range from the traditional to the new to the adapted versions merging the old with the new. The festive season promises to be a palate paradise. To this end, let’s take a culinary adventure around the globe to get a sneak peek at what our international neighbors will be enjoying this holiday season.


Traditional Norway Christmas cuisine includes Smalahove, which is a steamed sheep’s head. It is often served with potatoes, sausage, and rutabagas. Lutefisk, or dried cod, is also popular during this time of year. It is marinated in a lye solution, baked, and topped with salt, pepper, and butter.

Southern Italy

Food from the sea can describe Italy’s festive Christmas meal. Inspired by the biblical number 7, The Feast of Seven Fishes consists of seven different kinds of seafood. More popular options include baked and salted cod, octopus salad, fried calamari, and linguine with clam sauce.


Veering from the standard selection of different meats, the Polish have taken a different direction and gone meatless. Instead, they opt for a Wiglia, which consists of 12 dishes to be eaten after the first star emerges. Inspired by the 12 apostles, this vegan delight offers the familiar and the lesser-known: carp, red borscht, herring, cabbage rolls, and kutia, among other delectables.


Who knew that an American global fast-food chain would provide the Japanese people with a meal so popular that it has to be ordered in advance? An experiment with a Christmas “party barrel” to imitate the American turkey holiday dinner was wildly successful and is now a Japanese tradition. KFC is Japan’s “turkey” equivalent to that of the American’s.


No one says that Christmas dinner has to be cooked. The Greenlanders enjoy dishes that forgo the hot stove. One of their beloved dishes is mattak, or whale blubber encased in its own skin.


Hot tamales take on a new meaning when it comes to the very popular food item during Christmas. Tamales are a form of personal meat, and vegetable pies wrapped securely in plantain leaves, tied, and boiled to perfection. The result is a colorful, breaded casing with savory fillings for family and friends to enjoy.

New Zealand

Christmas comes to New Zealand during the summer months, so some of their cooking is done outdoors. Family and friends gather for a large barbecue, or barbie, to enjoy those delectable barbecue flavors atop meat, fresh seafood, and seasonal veggies.


The African influence of Martinique’s cuisine is visible in its choices of holiday delights such as yams, small meat pies known as pâtés salés, pork stew, and boudin créole. After the feast, dinner guests participate in an event known as Chanté Nwel, where their merriment spills over into the night by singing beautiful Christmas songs.