Last-minute pickled fish recipe.
Last-minute pickled fish recipe.

From hot cross buns to pickled fish - 5 traditional Easter foods served around the world and their origins

By Lutho Pasiya Time of article published Mar 29, 2021

Share this article:

Easter is one of the most celebrated Christian holidays, just like Christmas.

As a Christian, I celebrate Easter to commemorate the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

For some people, the holiday has great religious significance, while others just enjoy the time off from school and work.

There is, however, one common factor of the Easter holidays – and that is having lots of delicious foods.

Beyond decorated hard-boiled eggs and chocolate bunnies, there are several traditional Easter foods that we indulge in this time of year. They vary from country to country and include everything from sweetbreads and cakes to meat and egg dishes.

We take a look at some of the traditional Easter foods eaten around the world and their origins.

Massa sovada

Massa sovada is a traditional Portuguese sweet bread. It can be made year-round but is made special during Easter by putting eggs on top to represent life and the resurrection of Christ. The bread can be eaten with butter.


Chałka is a sweet, braided egg bread used in Sabbath and holiday rituals for Jews. It’s popular in Poland where it is served all year round, but particularly at Christmas and Easter. It may or may not contain raisins, and any leftovers are usually eaten the next day as French toast or in a bread pudding with orange sauce.

Herb soup

A green herb soup is the traditional German meal for Holy Thursday. This day commemorates Christ’s last supper and is also known as Maundy Thursday, or Green Thursday.

Pickled fish

Cape Malay-style pickled fish is a traditional Easter food from Cape Town. It’s usually served with hot cross buns or freshly baked bread. It’s believed that eating fish pickled in vinegar on Good Friday symbolises Jesus being offered vinegar to drink at his crucifixion. This is also why it’s usually eaten together with hot cross buns.

Pickled fish recipes differ from household to household as recipes have been handed down from generation to generation.

Hot cross buns

A widely known and loved Easter food tradition comes from the UK: hot cross buns. These buns have a long history and are traditionally eaten on Good Friday, to signify the end of Lent.

Here is a last-minute pickled fish recipe.


2kg yellow tail, cut into pieces

Sunflower oil

6 onions

5 cloves

6 garlic cloves

1 cup vinegar

1 tbs brown sugar

4 tbs Cartwright’s curry powder (medium)

2 tsp borrie (turmeric)

Salt to taste

6 bay leaves


Wash fish and pat dry.

Season fish and fry in sunflower oil until golden brown.

Place on a paper towel to drain oil.

Cut onions into rings and fry in a little oil.

Add remaining ingredients (except bay leaves) into the pot.

When the mixture boils, remove it from the stove and pour it over the fish.

Add bay leaves, cover the dish and let it stand for a few days.

Share this article:

Related Articles