Press Release

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From turkey to whale skin, here’s what people around the world will eat this Christmas

  • People from 19 countries consider turkey a traditional Christmas dish
  • More unusual Christmas delicacies include whale skin in Greenland and fried chicken in Japan
  • Only eight countries usually feature a vegetarian main course
  • Interactive global map shows the traditional Christmas dinners in 90 countries

13 December 2018, LONDON –

While the traditional British turkey is among the favourite Christmas dishes globally, a quick culinary tour around the world reveals a wide range of Christmas dinner options.

Personal finance comparison website has looked into traditional Christmas dinners and found that turkey is a typical main course on Christmas Day in 19 countries. Chicken and pork are also common across various continents as shown in this interactive global map.

Although there is a rising number of Brits opting for a vegetarian Christmas, most countries that celebrate Christmas still feature meat or fish as a traditional main course. However, there are exceptions: for example, porridge is a Christmas must in Russia and Ukraine. All in all, traditional main courses tend to be vegetarian in eight countries at Christmas.

Some countries live up to their stereotypes – Italians will indeed eat pasta at Christmas – while others have more surprising habits. In Japan, for example, it is common to eat fried chicken, and people can expect long queues in front of KFC restaurants.

Other peculiar Christmas dishes include Greenland’s mattak (whale skin with a strip of blubber inside), Dominican tripe soup and Venezuela’s hallacas – a mixture of beef, pork, chicken, capers, raisins and olives that is wrapped in maize and plantain leaves.

In many of the countries where Christmas comes during the summer, such as Australia, Argentina and New Zealand, people typically have barbecues on Christmas Day.

After the main course is done, all proper Christmas meals need a dessert. Sweet alternatives to the Christmas pudding include pumpkin and walnut pie in Albania, the kazakh version of doughnuts (baursak) and cookies in Indonesia. In China, it is customary to eat and exchange apples, a tradition born from the fact that the word for “apple” and the word for “Christmas Eve” are quite similar.

Commenting on the research, Jon Ostler, CEO at said: “There is an amazing range of Christmas dinners around the world, and many Brits may be tempted to try a completely different festive experience. Plenty of Brits take the chance at Christmas to go abroad – not only will they enjoy different cuisine and culture, some of the countries included in this research offer much warmer weather, too.”

“Going abroad during the Christmas holidays is also a clever way to use less of your holiday allowance due to the three bank holidays. Don’t be fooled into thinking that flying on Christmas Day means cheaper fares, though. Make sure you research different options, as flights on the 25th of December are typically more expensive than other dates.”


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