Eccentric festive feasts from around the world
As you sit down for your Christmas dinner, what do you expect to find on the table? A steaming bowl of Brussels sprouts? A turkey roasted to perfection? If youÔÇÖre in certain places around the world, people might have slightly different ideas as to what Yuletide yumminess means. HereÔÇÖs our whistle-stop tour of the most unusual Christmas dinners from around the world:
Germany: If youÔÇÖre a cabbage fan, Gr├╝nkohl stew is going to fill you with Christmas cheer. This spiced kale stew is the traditional Christmas main course in Germany, served with roast goose and dumplings. You might also be offered ÔÇ£ein KnackerÔÇØ- donÔÇÖt worry, itÔÇÖs just a type of smoked sausage.
Greenland: Traditional Inuit dishes are not for the faint hearted. Mattack is strips of whale blubber wrapped in (raw) whale skin. Kiviak is seal skin stuffed with auks (seabirds), buried and left to rot for months before being dug up and served as a special delicacy. Oh, and according to tradition, on Christmas Day men serve the women first. Sit back and enjoy that whale blubber, ladies.
Japan: Christmas isnÔÇÖt a national holiday in Japan, where only one percent of the population is Christian (the majority of the population is Shinto or Buddhist) but the country has a quirky tradition for Christmas Day: eating KFC. The US chain launched a ÔÇ£Christmas ChickenÔÇØ campaign in 1974 in response to expats who couldnÔÇÖt find turkey for dinner. Four decades later, KFC branches in Japan do their best business on Christmas Day, take orders and reservations weeks in advance, and even offer swanky packages at outlets including champagne and cake. ItÔÇÖs Christmas-lickinÔÇÖ good.
Norway: Even the most ambitious foodies might balk slightly at the prospect of Norwegian Smalahove, as itÔÇÖs a whole, steamed, sheepÔÇÖs head. The brains are spooned out and either boiled or fried. Aficionados recommend eating the ears and the eyes firstÔÇª
South Africa: Fancy a caterpillar with your gravy? For some in South Africa, Christmas dinner wouldnÔÇÖt be complete without a side dish of fried Emperor Moth caterpillars. The Mopane ÔÇ£wormÔÇØ is generally harvested at Christmas and dried and preserved for the winter, but fresh caterpillars are served immediately for, erm, special feasts.
Sweden: As an alternative to traditional serving plates, in Sweden you can do some ÔÇ£dopp i grytanÔÇØ or ÔÇ£dipping in the kettleÔÇØ- dipping pieces of bread into fatty meat broth. If you are thirsty you can glug some Gl├Âgg (mulled wine) to warm yourself up.
If youÔÇÖre feeling adventurous, tie on your napkin and recreate some of these meals at home. And if you have friends and family in any of these countries, you can send them some money through UAE Exchange to try out these exotic dishes, your treat!