All over the world, festive dishes are synonymous with different occasions. Here, we present eight such quintessential delights.
By Megha Uppal
The festive season is upon us, and so is that much-needed ray of cheer. While the pandemic may have limited the gatherings of family and friends throughout the world, another indispensable element of celebrations remains intact. In short, making merry over food and drinks. And therefore, here are eight iconic festive dishes across countries and cultures that you can indulge in, this festive season.
It is not Halloween without pumpkins. Carve it or eat it, or better yet, do both! For the latter, pumpkin pie is a great option and not one to be missed. The tangy-sweet and mildly nutty pumpkin is puréed and then, baked on a base of shortcrust to get that right balance of texture and to thus, add a savoury touch to the dish. The delicate hint of nutmeg and cinnamon is what makes this buttery pie ideal for the festive season. This is part of the festive dishes often served on Thanksgiving as well.
Best place to try: Braci 52 Boat Quay, #05-01/#06-01, Singapore
Often referred to as the ‘King of Indian Sweets’, laddoo is one of the most versatile desserts around. These round balls of delicious goodness have innumerable flavour combinations throughout the country. From coconut to sesame, boondi (sugared chickpea flour) to moong dal (yellow lentils). If you need options that will appeal to all, boondi and motichoor laddoos are a must on one of the principal festivals in the country.
Best place to try: Bombay Sweet Shop Unit 1, JAK Compound, Dadoji Konddeo Cross Lane, Byculla, Mumbai, India
Yule log is a sweet and indulgent roulade. It is a cake shaped into a roll, with chocolate icing, whipped cream and cranberries on top. Decorated to replicate an actual yule log, this decadent dessert will give you comfort food goals.
Best place to try: Pierre Hermé Paris 2nd, 39 Avenue de l’Opéra, Paris, France
You won’t be able to stop at one with this Diwali special from Gujarat. Chorafali comes from split cowpeas or gram flour. It is then made into a dough, deep-fried, and spiced with chilli, black pepper and mango powder. These airy fritters are light and fun, and therefore, make for an interesting snack.
Best place to try: Mishty Bela 77A, Krishnaraj Building, Walkeshwar Road, Mumbai, India
The centrepiece of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, the roast turkey has onions, garlic and lemon. It can, therefore, carry hints of any flavour you like—rosemary and apples tend to be popular. There is also a generous hand of herbed butter, pepper and garlic. It is speculated that turkey was served at the first Thanksgiving in 1621.
Best place to try: Couqley French Bistro Mövenpick Hotel, Cluster A, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
The eight-day Jewish Festival of Lights, Hanukkah, brings with it a host of festival dishes. One of the most iconic ones being sufganiyot. They are popular as jelly doughnuts around the world. These little fried dough balls have a centre full of jelly of your choice. Strawberry, raspberry, vanilla custard, chocolate, salted caramel… sufganiyot can be made with therefore any filling. Pair that with fried, sugar-dusted dough, and you are golden.
Best place to try: Brassica 76/10 Nanglinchee Road, Bangkok, Thailand
FRUIT CAKE AND EGGNOG
A Christmas cake, or as some may know it, plum cake, is the quintessential dessert in December. Dried fruits, spices, nuts and a hint of alcohol make this cake an exploration in each bite. Sultanas, cranberries, raisins, cinnamon, nutmeg, rum or brandy…you name it, and you have got it in the fruit cake. And don’t forget eggnog, the combination of eggs, milk, cream and sugar is like childhood in a glass.
Best place to try: Waitrose & Partners 199 Finchley Rd, South Hampstead, London, United Kingdom; Borough Market 8 Southwark St, London, United Kingdom
Festival: New Yearʼs Eve
While it is not easy to have only one pick from the range of traditional New Year’s Eve festive dishes, the Japanese soba noodles are an easy winner when it comes to the global love for them. Made from buckwheat, these noodles, therefore, have a nutty flavour and are earthy to taste. Have it cold with any dipping sauce you like, or hot with just about any combination—tofu, tempura, meats and vegetables.
Best place to try: Kyourakutei Soba Kagurazaka 1F, 3-6 Kagurazaka, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, Japan