Seasonal dishes from around the world showcased at Sounds of the Season

Local food writer Jasmine Mangalaseril stopped by Sounds of the Season to show off popular dishes enjoyed through the holiday season — from Hanukkah to the Vietnamese Lunar New Year.

You can make the dishes at home with a little time and preparation

Local food writer Jasmine Mangalaserilt took the audience on a culinary trip for the holidays, highlighting dishes including latkes, soba noodles, jollof and bahn chung. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

Jasmine Mangalaseril stopped by CBC Kitchener-Waterlloo's Sounds of the Season to show off popular dishes enjoyed through the holiday season — from Hanukkah to the Vietnamese Lunar New Year.

Below are some of our favourites.


Hanukkah — the festival of lights — commemorates the miracle of the oil. As the story goes, there was only enough oil to last one night, but it lasted eight. 

"One of the things that Jewish people will do during the eight days is have foods that commemorate that. Latkes, you fry them in oil — it's symbolic that way," explained Mangalaseril.

You can find her recipe here


Ōmisoka is a Japanese and Buddhist celebration that marks the passing of the old year and welcomes the potential of the new year.

"You're sort of clearing out the old and bringing in the new, a fresh start," said Mangalaseril.

After a big house clean, people enjoy Toshikoshi-Soba or "year-end noodles." 

"They're symbolic — they're long so they represent long life and prosperity and are easily bitten through. So you bite off the bad stuff from the old year so they don't continue into the new"

You can make your own following this reciepe.

Jasmine Mangalaseril brought along some homemade jollof, a classic rice dish popular in West African countries. She says it's a dish that's popular during Kwanzaa, a seven-day celebration honouring African heritage. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)


Kwanzaa is a seven-day celebration of African heritage that began in the United States. 

The great feast of Karamu is on Dec. 31, explained Mangalaseril.

"It can be anything that the family wants [to eat]. There aren't any real rules to the food, so the food can come from the Carribean, it can come from West Africa, the food can come from the southern U.S.," she said.

Jollof is a Ghanaian recipe, a one-pot rice dish with seafood, chicken and chillies. 

Mangalaseril adapted this recipe for her dish.

Bahn Chung

Tet, also known as the Lunar New Year celebration, is the most important period on the Vietnamese calendar and sometimes lasts more than a week. 

"It's really about togetherness," said Mangalaseril. On Tet, there's no work or cooking, just being together with family.

Bahn Chung is the iconic dish: it's a rice cake with mung beans, savoury pork or Vietnamese sausage and steamed or boiled in a banana leaf. 

"Then, you can cut it up, eat it, have it with fish sauce — that would be great," said Mangalaseril.

If you want to make it yourself, it does require a bit of time. You'll have to get started the night before.


Jul is the Danish Christmas — an event that combines the old Norse traditions with new(er) Christian ones. 

Risalamande is a cold rice pudding with a hot cherry sauce, said Mangalaseril, "and the myth behind that is basically there's a little Nisse [elf] and that's his favourite pudding. And to keep him happy, so he doesn't spoil your milk, he doesn't rot your crops, you give him a bowl of this and he doesn't cause you any mischief."

It's typically made on Dec. 24, with a single almond hidden in the serving bowl. Whoever finds it, wins a prize.