Think of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

You’re probably seeing a seasoned turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, ham, yams, corn and some pumpkin pie. 

But now, forget about all that –what we’re about to show you are some international dishes that deserve some recognition at the dinner table.

After checking out these favorite cultural Thanksgiving dishes from some of our staff, you might want to make some room around that turkey this Thursday.


Country: Philippines

Pick by: Adrienne J. Romero, co-founder


(Kawaling Pinoy photo)

Lumpia, or lumpiang shaighai, is the Filipino version of a Chinese spring roll. The history goes back centuries, but the Chinese originally wanted a meal with all fresh vegetables, which were available in the spring. Common ingredients for lumpia include shaved chicken, pork, carrots and sprouts.


Country: Latin America

Pick by: Alexis Morales, staff writer


(Delish D’Lites photo)

The word “pernil” comes from the Spanish word “pierna,” which means leg. It’s also the Catalan — a language spoken in eastern and northeastern Spain — word for ham. The dish was originally used for fresh ham, but roasted pork shoulder has become a staple in Latin American households. The best part? The crispy, tasty skin.

Ensalada de papa y remolacha 

Country: Latin America

Pick by: Neidy Gutierrez, co-founder


El Mejor Nido

This festive salad is seen on dinner tables throughout the holidays or even for a summer lunch. The salad is made from potatoes, beets, carrots and hard-boiled eggs mixed with mayonnaise. A perfect pairing next to your turkey. 


Country: Latin America (Puerto Rico)

Pick by: Kyle Vazquez, contributing consultant


(Leah Moreny / The Spruce Eats)

Pasteles are a popular and traditional dish in Puerto Rican culture. The masa, or dough, is made of green banana, yautia, green plantain and calabazas. The masa gets filled with meat stew, usually containing pork, ham, onion, cilantro and more.

Arroz moro

Country: Latin America 

Pick by: Amanda Sanchez, editor


(Gift of Hospitality photo)

Arroz Moro is also known as Moros & Christianos (Moros y Cristianos). Moros refers to Muslims and Christianos are Christians. The Islamic Moors and Christian Spaniards battled for centuries in Spain, but eventually the two groups came to an agreement and lived peacefully in the Iberian Peninsula. The black beans represent the Muslim Moors and the white rice represents the Spanish Christians.

Leche flan

Country: Philippines

Pick by: Adrienne J. Romero


(Janet / Pinoy Cooking Recipes)

This small dessert was brought over to the Philippines during the Spanish colonization; it’s believed to have originated on the border of Spain and France. It’s traditionally oval-shaped because of tin molds called llaneras. It’s a caramel custard made of milk, sugar and eggs.

Arroz con gandules

Country: Latin America (Puerto Rico)

Pick by: Alexis Morales, staff writer


(Plant Based and Broke photo)

In 1900, immigrants Puerto Ricans were brought to Hawaii to work on their sugar plantations. One of the plants they brought back was a shrub called Gandule, which is the bean in this dish. Arroz con Gandule is considered a celebratory dish. Ingredients include yellow rice, cilantro, green onion and, of course, gandules.

Corn Pudding

Country: Latin America 

Pick by: Kyle Vazquez, contributing consultant


(Goya photo)

This little dessert has been adapted in many parts of Latin and South America. It goes by several names: Majarete (Dominican Republic), Canjica (Brazil), Mugunzá (Brazil) and Curau. But the heart of the recipe is the same — corn. In Brazil, it was introduced by the Portuguese to celebrate the birth of St. John The Baptist. 


Country: Latin America

Pick by: Amanda Sanchez, editor


(A Sassy Spoon photo)

There are many ways to cook these plantains and it varies on where you are in Latin America. The origin is unknown, but some say it’s originated from the Dominican Republic, coming from the word “Tostón,” which was a Spanish currency during the colonial period. In Spain, tostón is slang for money, but in gastronomy — the art of cooking — it means fried or toasted food. 


Country: Philippines

Pick by: Adrienne J. Romero, co-founder


(Kawaling Pinoy photo)

This Filipino dish often gets mistaken for similar Spanish dishes. Its origins probably come from the Spanish afritada and callos, but menudo is famous all on its own. Usually paired with white rice, ingredients include pork belly, potatoes, carrots and peas.

6 thoughts on “SoCul’s 10 Thanksgiving Dishes From Around The World

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