Every where in the world, food is an important part of any celebration regardless of culture or religion. It can unite and strengthen community bonds and helps to maintain a common identity among a group of people.
To celebrate Christmas, different countries use food in different ways. Most of the foods typically associated with Christmas, such as mince pies and fruit cake, arose from British tradition. In Australia, it is becoming increasingly popular to enjoy seafood on Christmas Day, rather than roast meats and ham, due to their warmer weather.
In my country with so many different ethnic groups and dialects, we also have different traditional Christmas foods in different regions, depending on local availability and cultural significance. Here’s a few examples I would like to share in this post:
In Medan North Sumatra
One of the must-have-dishes during Christmas is the unique “Ikan Arsik”. It is a classic fish dish from North Sumatra that uses the common carp (known in my country as ‘ikan mas’ or gold fish). The flavor is quite unique as there are several exotic ingredients needed to make ‘”Arsik”.
You will need kecombrang (ginger flowers) and buah kecombrang (fruit of the ginger flower), bawang Batak (Batak onions) and asam gelugur (preserved gelugur fruit that has been sliced and dried in the sun). Last but not least is andaliman, or Sumatran Sichuan pepper.
In Ambon, North Maluku
“Sup Ikan Kuah Kuning” is one of the must-have-dishes for Christmas. Traditionally, this dish is served with “Papeda” .
“Sup Ikan Kuah Kuning” literally can be translated as Yellow Fish Soup. The name already suggest it’s character which is dominated by the yellow tends to orange color, which derived from the ground turmeric. A good combination between fish blends with spices, herbs, basil leaves and a simple touch of lime juice at the end..hmm what a simply delicious and refreshing taste!!
Papeda or also known as bubur sagu, is sago congee, the staple food of native people in Maluku and Papua. It is commonly found in eastern Indonesia, different from central and western Indonesian cuisines that favor rice as their staple food.
In Manado North Sulawesi
One of the must-have-Christmas-dishes is “Sup Brenebon” or Kidney Bean Soup. Ask any Manadonese about their favorite dish, and I’m sure a lot of them will say that it’s the “Sup Brenebon”. It is one of the yummy marriages of the Dutch and Indonesian cuisines.
“Sup Brenebon” is from the Dutch words “bruine” (=brown) and “bonen” (=beans). It is a soup that mainly consist of red kidney beans and meat. Combined with pepper, cloves, and nutmeg, it becomes a warm dish that is so perfect for winter or rainy season like during Christmas time.
Another must-have-Christmas-associated-food in Manado is the famous “Klapertart”. It is a combination of young coconut, almond, raisin, corn starch, egg yolk, palm sugar and rum , so delicious recipe which you must try.
Sources of information & pictures:
- Picture of edible Christmas tree is from http://www.wondefuldiy.com
- Information & picture of Ikan Arsik are from Wikipedia
- Information & picture of “Sup Ikan Kuning Ambon” are from http://www.lestariweb.com
- Information & picture of “Sup Brenebon” are from http://www.indonesiawow.com
- Picture of “Klapertart” is from http://www.noble-house.tk