How would you fancy celebrating Christmas this year with a delicious feast of caterpillar? Or perhaps a small decomposed bird wrapped in seal skin?

Your reaction may be similar to someone who has never tasted Christmas Pudding before and is advised to mix breadcrumbs, dried fruit, treacle, suet and a sixpence in a bowl, then wrap it in cloth for five weeks, put it on the dinner table and set it alight.

Whilst around the world Christmas tends to involve friends and family getting together, what they choose to eat and drink varies enormously according to what is available locally.

Many parts of the world that have no particular Christian tradition have latched onto the fact that it helps to brighten up mid-winter and so have joined in the party. In China “peace apples” are handed out, each with a goodwill message carved into the fruit and beautifully wrapped.

Meanwhile in Japan in recent years eating fried chicken on Christmas Day has become increasingly popular. So much so that 3.6m families now tuck in every year with tables in KFC restaurants booked up weeks in advance.

In Greenland the traditional Inuit dish of kiviak involves the flesh of a small arctic bird called auk being stuffed inside a sealskin which is then buried for several months to ferment. It’s usually prepared in spring and dug up December when food is scarce.

From one of the coldest places on earth to one of the hottest where the Mopane tree is one of the few that can survive the drought plains of Southern Africa. The trees are home to moth caterpillars which are rich in protein and harvested in November and December to either be stored or fried fresh in tomatoes, chili and onions.

In Canada and the US, maple syrup is popular all year round and forms an essential part of many festive breakfasts with Maple Syrup Day celebrated on December 17. So, when a shortage of the gooey delight threatened to empty shelves this Christmas the world’s biggest producer – the Quebec Maple Syrup  – agreed to release an additional 50 million pounds of supplies from its strategic reserves. 

A tradition involving the aforementioned Christmas pudding involves every member of the family giving the mix a stir. Similarly, in Costa Rica families come together to make tamales. The base is corn dough, wrapped in banana leaf and then steamed with each family having its own recipe passed down from generations that might involve a stuffing of pork or chicken mixed with garlic, onion, potatoes or raisins.

Whichever way you choose to celebrate, have a very merry Christmas from everyone at SK.

About Oliver Parkinson
Sous Chef of SK Foods.
Your food. Our Passion.