What are traditional Hanukkah foods?
Most people associate fried potato latkes with Hanukkah. But latkes are really only traditional for Jews of Ashkenazi, or Eastern European descent. Jews have always lived around the world and so they’ve always adapted local foods to Jewish dietary laws.
While no one dish can be considered the symbol of Hanukkah, there are a couple of ingredients that do symbolize the holiday: oil and cheese. The oil symbolizes the oil that lasted eight days. Cheese, or dairy, is incorporated into dishes to honor Judith, a Jewish heroine who saved her village from the invading Assyrian army.
In Israel sufganiyot, or strawberry jelly donuts, are traditionally served on the holiday. Many Greek Jews cook fried fish served with ajada, (garlic mayonnaise) as well as fried apple rings and apple fritters. In India, Cochin Jews celebrate with neyyappam, a fried sweetcake made of semolina, nuts, dates, apricots, and cardamom.
Sephardic Jews eat ojaldre, puff pastry with cheese. And Jews of Moroccon and Libyan descent serve atayef, deep-fried pancakes stuffed with cheese.