China | Japan | New Zealand
Different cultures celebrate their holidays in unique ways, but cooking and enjoying food is a tradition that transcends all parts of the world. We are going to finish this three part series by visiting and listing our top picks for food traditions and recipes in Asian and Oceania countries.
One of the most important Chinese holidays after the Gregorian New Year, is the Lantern Festival which is celebrated not only in China but in many other Asian countries with people of Chinese heritage. One of the traditional dishes served during the festival season is “tangyuan”. These are round rice dumplings, sometimes solid but typically filled with sweetened black sesame paste or red bean paste, and boiled before serving. They can be served in the water they were boiled in, which is sometimes either sweetened or flavored with ginger. Tangyuan is also often associated with the winter solstice.
Toshikoshi Soba, or “the year-crossing noodle,” is a Japanese dish made up of buckwheat noodles, served in a hot or cold soup and on a bamboo dish. The tradition followed in Japan is to eat the toshikoshi soba on New Year’s Eve for prosperity and good fortune in the following 12 months.
That’s not the only holiday food tradition in Japan. Around Christmas, there is a customary meal to be had at KFC. You heard it right, fried chicken. And it’s not like it’s a spontaneous trip down to the local KFC, they have to order it up to two months in advance. This is one of those marketing campaigns that went viral for their Christmas Party Bucket and has now become a Japanese Christmas Eve tradition!
Christmas is somewhat different in New Zealand. Due to the country’s European heritage and roots, you will see many of the same traditions observed—with a twist like the Pavlova dish!
Pavlova is a dish so sweet and delicious, you’ll want to enjoy it all year long. Pavlova was named after the Russian dancer Anna Pavlova. It’s a sweet meringue dessert with a crispy crust that’s garnished with fresh fruits like strawberries, kiwis and passion fruit.
In New Zealand, they maintain the British tradition of having a family dinner during the middle of the day on Christmas Day so Pavlova would be an afternoon treat!
Thank you all for following our 3 part series for Holiday traditions around the World!