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Christmas around the world: East Asia and South East Asia

Christmas delights in South-East Asia: aromas and colours

Christmas, a magical time celebrated in unique ways around the world, offers an extraordinary opportunity to explore the culinary diversity that characterizes the holiday season.

In East Asia and South-East Asia, tables are enriched with intense flavors, aromatic spices and dishes that tell ancient stories of traditions passed down from generation to generation.

On this journey through the Christmas delights of Southeast Asia, we will explore some of the most iconic dishes that grace tables during this festive season.

1. China: embracing tradition with Tangyuan

In China, Christmas is often celebrated as part of the Chinese New Year. A dish that makes its appearance on Christmas tables is Tangyuan, sweet glutinous rice balls filled with sugar, dried fruit or bean paste.

These delicious morsels are often served in a hot soup and represent family unity and wholeness.

2. China: the delightful symbolism of the Jiaozi

Another Chinese dish that often appears on Christmas tables is Jiaozi, Chinese ravioli filled with meat, vegetables or fish.

Their crescent shape is a symbol of prosperity, and tradition has it that the family comes together to prepare them together.

Steamed or fried, the Jiaozi recipe is a tribute to sharing and unity.

3. Thailand: the spicy charm of Gaeng Ped

In Thailand, Christmas is an occasion to celebrate with a hearty feast. One of the most popular Christmas dishes is Gaeng Ped, a rich and spicy red curry soup.

Made with meat, usually chicken or duck, and an explosive blend of herbs, coconut and red curry, this dish is a feast for the palate, reflecting Thailand's vibrant culinary tradition.

4. Thailand: Khao Niew Mamuang, the tropical dessert

To end the party with a sweet touch, in Thailand you cannot miss Khao Niew Mamuang, a delicacy made with mango and glutinous rice.

Served with coconut milk and a sprinkling of sesame seeds, this dessert is a celebration of the tropical flavors and bounty of the season.

5. Philippines: Heavenly desserts at Christmas

In a dance of sweet and fragrant flavors, the Philippines offers a unique culinary Christmas experience. After Christmas mass, families gather to delight in the traditional bibingka, a rice flour cake enriched with coconut milk.

This delicacy is baked in clay ovens and served gracefully on banana leaves, bringing an authentic and traditional flavor to the festive season.

But the riot of desserts doesn't end here; puto bumbong, delicious purple rice sweets, come in a myriad of colors, decorated with brown sugar, butter and irresistible coconut flakes. A hymn of sweetness that envelops the Philippines during Christmas, offering a feast for the palate and a celebration of the love and abundance that the season brings.

6. Cambodia: spicy scents under the Christmas stars

In the vibrant atmosphere of Southeast Asia, Cambodia celebrates Christmas with a symphony of exotic flavors. The Christmas table comes alive with the spicy aromas of traditional Cambodian dishes.

One of the protagonists is the curry, expertly prepared using local ingredients such as aromatic herbs, lime, black pepper and, often, fresh seafood.

During the Christmas period, Cambodian families share special moments around these rich and enveloping dishes.

Christmas thus becomes an opportunity not only to celebrate the birth of Christ but also to appreciate the richness of Cambodian gastronomic culture, made up of intense flavors and unique combinations that make this celebration an unforgettable multi-sensory experience.

Christmas around the world on Asian tables

Southeast Asia offers a Christmas feast that is a symphony of unique and rich flavors. From spicy Thai curries to iconic Chinese rice balls, Christmas tables are filled with delights that take diners on a culinary journey through the traditions and joys of this festive season.