Brisket. Picture: Isaac Taylor
Brisket. Picture: Isaac Taylor

What special foods are eaten during Hanukkah?

By Lutho Pasiya Time of article published Nov 30, 2021

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Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, started on Sunday, November 28, and if you have not settled on how you are celebrating (or what you are serving), we have got your back.

Every year around Christian Christmas time, Hanukkah brings families and friends together to commemorate a miracle in Jewish history.

The eight-day Jewish celebration commemorates the rededication during the second century B.C. of the second temple in Jerusalem, where according to legend Jews had risen up against their Greek-Syrian oppressors in the Maccabean Revolt.

Hanukkah is celebrated with the lighting of the menorah, traditional foods, games, and gifts, and comes to an end on the evening of December 6. Speaking of traditional foods, below we share some of the key foods of Hanukkah to make.

Hanukkah short ribs

Short ribs are becoming a popular food for Hanukkah as they are flavourful and tender meat. While they are fatty meat, the serving size is not as large as serving a brisket. As you know, everything is in moderation. Many recipes recommend for the ribs to sit overnight if you want that ‘melt in your mouth’ dish.

Matzo ball soup

Matzo balls are dumplings made with matzah meal (breadcrumbs made from matzo crackers), egg, flour and may contain schmaltz (chicken fat) or oil. Cooked in chicken soup, they may have a light or dense texture to sink or float in the soup.


Latkes are small fried pancakes. Today, they are made in a variety of ways, from savoury to sweet. They are commonly made with grated or mashed potatoes, flour, egg, cheese, and seasoning. They can also be served in a sweet form, most popularly made with apples. Here is a recipe.


Brisket is a very popular dish that features on most Hanukkah tables. This is a slow-cooked piece of meat that serves as a warming and welcoming dish during winters. Roasted chicken is also included by some families, along with a green vegetable and the latkes. Usually, brisket is cut from the lower chest or breast of veal or beef.


A sufganiyah, or sufganiyot for plural, is a round, deep-fried doughnut typically filled with strawberry jam. Topped with powdered sugar, these delectable treats are one of the most recognisable foods affiliated with the Jewish festival. In recent years, Jewish people in Israel and around the world have become more experimental with their sufganiyot fillings.

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