A Taste of the Holidays: Traditional Dishes From Around the World


As the holiday season approaches, our taste buds eagerly anticipate the delightful array of dishes that grace our tables. Across cultures and continents, families gather to celebrate with traditional dishes that reflect their heritage and history. Let’s embark on a culinary journey to discover the rich tapestry of diverse holiday dishes that make this season truly extraordinary. 

Christmas Tamales (Mexico)

Image courtesy of Paraiso Tropical Food Market

In Mexico, Christmas is synonymous with tamales. These bundles of joy are made by spreading masa (corn dough) on a corn husk, filling it with a mixture of meats, cheeses, and/or vegetables, and then steaming it to perfection. The process of making tamales often involves several family members coming together, transforming cooking into a bonding experience. 

  1. Where to try: 
  2. Acajutla Restaurant | 11302–107 Ave. | 780-426-1308 
  3. El Mero Mero Taqueria | 12223–156 St. | 780-760-6376 
  4. Mamenche’s Restaurant | 10824–97 St. | 780-497-0037 


Bûche de Noël (France) 

Image courtesy of Duchess Bake Shop
  1. The French have a penchant for elegance even in their holiday desserts. Bûche de Noël, or Yule log, is a beautiful rolled sponge cake shaped to resemble a tree log, often adorned with chocolate bark and marzipan mushrooms. This exquisite treat, made only during the holiday season, pays homage to the ancient tradition of burning a log in the fireplace during the winter solstice. 
  2. Where to try: 
  3. Duchess Bake Shop | 10718–124 St. | 780-488-4999 
  4. Eleanor & Laurent | 10926–88 Ave. | 780-988-0897 
  5. Arno’s French Pastry | 10038–116 St. | 780-760-0717 


Latkes (Italy/Poland) 

Image courtesy of Happy and Olive
  1. Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, is celebrated with a delightful array of fried foods, signifying the miracle of the oil that burned for eight days. After Italian latkes were introduced to Jewish people in northern Italy and potatoes became essential in Poland during the mid-1800s, the iconic potato pancake— fried to a crisp perfection—gained popularity as a beloved Hanukkah dish. Traditionally served with applesauce or sour cream, these treats are a symbol of the joyous holiday spirit. 
  2. Where to try: 
  3. Happy & Olive | 9640–142 St. | 825-401-4958 
  4. Mill Creek Café | 9562–82 (Whyte) Ave. | 780-439-5535 
  5. Barb & Ernie’s Old Country Inn | 9906–72 Ave. | 780-433-3242 

Jollof Rice (West Africa) 

Image courtesy of Mumbai Dakar

A beloved West African staple, jollof rice transcends cultural boundaries and graces holiday tables with its vibrant colours and bold flavours. This aromatic dish features rice cooked in a rich tomato-based sauce infused with spices like curry, cayenne pepper, and paprika, and is a testament to the rich diversity of Africa, as it takes on unique variations across regions and households. Whether it’s the smoky and spicy Nigerian jollof, the sweeter Ghanaian version, or the subtly spiced Senegalese jollof, this dish tells stories of heritage, tradition, and unity. 

  1. Where to try: 
  2. Monamie Resto | 13427 Fort Rd. | 587-525-2477 
  3. Liberian Cuisine on Wheels | 8405–118 Ave. | 780-803-5885 
  4. Mumbai Dakar Restaurant | 4322–118 Ave. | 780-474-0833 




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