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Christmas dinners around the world

Christmas in Australia wouldn't be complete without prawns and a BBQ, too much sparkling wine and Dad falling asleep on the couch by early afternoon. Yet the food that people tuck into at Christmas varies hugely around the world.

From whale skin in Greenland to fried chicken in Japan and salted cod in Mexico, take a look at our table below to see what will be on people's plates come Christmas.

Full list of countries

AlbaniaAlbanian pumpkin and walnut pie
AngolaPolenta made of corn meal or cassava roots
ArgentinaVitel Toné: thin cold slices of veal, in a sauce made of tuna, mayonnaise, cream, egg yolks, white wine, anchovies and capers.
ArmeniaOn Christmas eve, Armenians eat a fish dish known as "princely trout". On Christmas day, they have a lamb and rice dish.
AustraliaSince Christmas happens deep in Australia's summer, they commonly celebrate with a barbecue.
AustriaAustria has a few traditional Christmas meals.
BangladeshChicken and vegetable curries, with a side of rice and vegetables
BelarusKutsia: a sweet porridge with honey, nuts, poppy seeds and raisins
BelgiumThe main Belgian meal includes a cooked turkey.
BoliviaA pork stew with either chicken, beef or lamb, served with potatoes and corn.
Bosnia and HerzegovinaSarma, a traditional Bosnian dish often served at Christmas: minced meat is wrapped into a roll inside pickled cabbage leaves.
BotswanaFried chicken with rice and salads.
BrazilIn Brazil they traditionally have a chester: a chicken genetically modified to have more meat around its back and chest.
BulgariaBulgarians have a round loaf of bread they call a pita. A coin is hidden inside the bread, then it's divided among members of the family. Whoever gets the piece with the coin will have luck, health and prosperity in the new year.
CanadaCanadians have a similar meal to us, with stuffed turkey, potatoes and vegetables.
ChileIn Chile people often have barbecued meats, with a Chilean Christmas cake similar to panettone for dessert.
ChinaThe Chinese word for Christmas Eve is similar to their word for apple. Because of this, people buy colourfully wrapped apples and give them to each other as gifts on December 24th.
ColombiaIn Colombia they eat pork stuffed with rice and peas.
Congo, Democratic Republic of theBeef, rice and biscuits, usually eaten outdoors.
Costa RicaTamales: corn-based dough filled with chicken or pork and vegetables, then wrapped in banana leaves and boiled.
CroatiaOn December 24th, Croations serve up bakalar, a dried cod-fish meal. On Christmas day, they have turkey, lamb, cabbage and peppers filled with minced meat, salads and homemade bread.
Czech RepublicFried carp served with potato salad, and carp soup.
DenmarkRoast duck, goose or pork with potatoes, red cabbage, beetroot and cranberry sauce.
DominicaChristmas tripe soup, reflective of the country's culture of eating every part of the animal.
EcuadorLike us, Ecuadorians often celebrate Christmas with a turkey, usually eaten on Christmas eve.
EgyptFata: a lamb soup with bread, rice and garlic.
EstoniaCommon Christmas food includes blood sausage, sült—a cold-cut meat jelly consisting of meat from an animal's head, sauerkraut and oven-roasted potatoes.
EthiopiaWat: a thick and spicy meat and vegetable stew, served with flatbread.
FinlandBaked ham is Finland's national favourite Christmas dish.
FranceA roasted capon, turkey, guinea fowl or pheasant, stuffed with chestnuts, and with a side of mushrooms and vegetables.
GermanyOn Christmas eve, there'll often be a fish dish, such as salmon or carp. On Christmas day, roast goose is on the menu, with German dumplings and potato fritters. Potato salad, kale, red cabbage and sauerkraut sides are also common.
GhanaMeat, rice, and stew or an okra soup, plus fufu—a yam paste.
GreeceLamb or pork, oven- or spit-roasted. Sides include salads, vegetables and spinach and cheese pie.
GreenlandIn Greenland people have mattak: whale skin and blubber. It's often swallowed as it's hard to chew, and tastes like fresh coconut. They also have a local delicacy called kiviak: flesh from a type of arctic bird, buried whole and raw in sealskin for months.
GuatemalaTamales made of either corn, rice or potatoes, that can be sweet or savoury.
HondurasTamales, roast pork and egg nog are traditional Christmas foods here.
HungaryCarp soup and cabbage stuffed with minced pork, rice, garlic and onion. For dessert people often have beigli, a baked good made with poppy seeds.
IcelandCommon Christmas food in Iceland includes a roast leg of lamb, and leaf bread—a kind of pastry made of thin sheets of fried dough.
IndiaIn India they'll have traditional Indian food, such as a biryani and a mutton curry, with rice and spiced potatoes. They also celebrate with a lot of sweet food, such as deep-fried sugar-coated dough balls.
IndonesiaCookies are a Christmas staple in Indonesia, including butter cookies with a pineapple jam filling, and different types of cheese cookies.
IrelandIreland has a roast turkey, similar to in the UK. Round caraway seed cake is an old traditional dessert, although now many families have Christmas cake and Christmas pudding.
IsraelChristmas isn't widely celebrated in Israel, nor is it a public holiday. Channukah is a festival that occurs around the same time, during which oily food such as latkes—a kind of potato fritter—are traditionally eaten.
ItalyOn Christmas Eve Italians have a very seafood-heavy meal, with different types of fish, calamari, octopus and salted cod. The next day their main meal has a pasta first course, the specifics of which depend on the region, followed by a meaty main such as roasted veal, chicken, beef or sausages.
JapanBizarrely, Japan has a big KFC tradition on Christmas, since a highly successful advertising campaign by the fried chicken shop in 1974.
KazakhstanChristmas in Kazakhstan means bauraks, a snack similar to donuts.
KenyaKenyans have barbecued meat such as goat, beef or chicken, served with flatbread and rice.
Korea, SouthSouth Korea has its own traditional Christmas cake: a sponge cake covered in cream.
LatviaPeas with pork, pies, sausages, bacon rolls and gingerbread.
LebanonLike us, those in Lebanon who celebrate Christmas do so with a roast turkey.
LiberiaIn Liberia, the Christmas meal is beef, rice and biscuits, eaten al fresco.
LithuaniaIn Lithuania they eat 12 non-meat dishes, one for each day of the month. Herring features heavily in these.
MacedoniaThe main meal consists of baked cod or trout, with sides like bread, soup, potato salad, stuffed cabbage leaves, and pickled vegetables. They also have a tradition of hiding a coin inside a loaf of bread, then handing pieces out to family members, and leaving one for God. Whoever gets the coin, will have the luckiest year. If God's piece contains the coin, the whole family will have a lucky year.
MadagascarThe main meal is chicken or pork with rice, with cake for dessert. Fresh lychees are also commonly eaten around the Christmas period.
MalaysiaKari debal, or "Devil's curry": a super-spicy Malaysian curry.
MaltaThe Maltese Christmas dinner is like ours: turkey, Christmas cake, Christmas pudding and mince pies.
MexicoBacalao a la Vizcaina: salted cod with tomatoes, chillies, onions, olives and vegetables.
MoldovaButchers fatten pigs up to make sausages and other pork dishes.
MontenegroRoast pork, and sarma—cabbage filled with rice and meat. They also go with the coin bread tradition, where a round loaf of bread with a coin baked into it is shared out among the family. The person who gets the coin will have the luckiest year.
NamibiaOn Christmas eve, the festive meal will often be a roasted duck.
NetherlandsA wide variety of foods are eaten here on Christmas, including roast or stewed meat, seasonal vegetables, smoked fish and shrimps.
New ZealandIn New Zealand, people either have a summer barbecue, or some turkey, ham and roast potatoes.
NigeriaTurkey, and possibly another meat such as beef, goat, mutton or chicken. This is often eaten with yams, jollof rice, salad or stew.
NorwayPork or sheep ribs with finely chopped cabbage seasoned with caraway seeds and vinegar, and potatoes.
ParaguaySopa Paraguaya. While this translates to "Paraguayan soup", it's actually similar to corn bread.
PeruRoast turkey with garlic rice, roast potatoes and apple sauce. They'll often have a panettone for dessert.
PhilippinesTraditional Philippino Christmas food includes roasted pig, ham, rice cakes and fruit salads.
PolandChristmas wafer and 12 dishes, including foods such as carp, herring, salad, soup, pierogi (dumplings) and sauerkraut.
PortugalMany people in Portugal will now have a turkey for their main Christmas meal, although traditionally it was more likely to be goat, lamb or pork.
Puerto RicoSpit-roasted pork, with rice, plantains and pasteles—a dough made with bananas, filled with meat and cooked in banana leaves.
RomaniaRomanians will have roast gammon and pork chops for their Christmas meal.
RussiaRussians have a traditional porridge eaten on Christmas.
SerbiaSerbian Christmas bread, known as cesnica: a sweet bread, with a coin baked into it. Whoever finds the coin in their piece will have the luckiest year.
SlovakiaThe main meal is a fish dish, served with a cabbage, sausage, mushroom and meat soup.
SloveniaCommon dinner options include grilled turkey and roasted pig. Potica, a kind of nutty pastry, is also served.
South AfricaA meat dish with turkey, duck, beef, or suckling pig, served with yellow rice with raisings and vegetables. Sweet Christmas foods include mince pies and malva pudding.
SpainNowadays a Spanish Christmas dinner is often a turkey stuffed with truffles. An old tradition was to have a roasted young hen, although this has become less common.
SwedenIn Sweden they'll have a buffet, often including herring, gravlax and smoked salmon.
SwitzerlandA Christmas ham with scalloped potatoes and cheese baked into it. For dessert: walnut cake and Christmas cookies.
TanzaniaSwahili Pilau: spicy meat and rice with chapati.
Trinidad and TobagoHere people have ham or turkey, with an eggnog-like drink called ponche-de-creme, homemade bread, ginger beer, apples and grapes.
Ukraine12 dishes, one for each day of the year, such as sauerkraut, dumplings, fish, and bread. A key dish is kutia, a sweet wheat porridge.
United KingdomRoast turkey with all the trimmings, followed by cheeses and Christmas pudding.
United StatesRoast poultry, usually turkey, or beef, ham or pork, stuffed and served with roast vegetables.
UruguayTraditional Uruguayan Christmas meals include either roast pork or lamb.
VenezuelaHallacas: meat with capers, raisins and olives, wrapped in plantain leaves then steamed. Pan de Jamón is also eaten—a kind of pastry filled with ham and bacon, raisins and olives.
VietnamIn Vietnam they often have a roast goose for Christmas.
ZimbabweThe Zimbabwean Christmas meal centres around chicken and rice.
Image: @DNY59 via

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