Finger Food Traditions Around the World

Need ideas and global inspirations for your event menu? Here are some great finger food ideas to snack on!

Dolmades, Greece: Have you ever had stuffed Greek leaves? Then you’ve had dolmades. Legend has it, this dish originated with Alexander the Great’s army while they were making do with the very little food they had. Filled with minced lamb and grains, you can find vegetarian-friendly versions especially around the Greek islands like Crete.  Pictured here is a healthy recipe with a Southern twist on the Greek classic Dolmades.  Instead of grape leaves, collard leaves are filled with a smoky sweet potato puree and topped with pecans.  This dish makes a satisfying dinner and an impressive party appetizer.


Stuffed Eggs, Italy: This classic finger food is traditionally served in the United States at Easter but it is popular around Europe. Originally served as a first-course dish at Roman meals, it often called stuffed eggs in various languages along with hundreds of variations. How did the term deviled come about? People started adding hot spices to the creamy mustard-mayo-yolk filling. (In the spirit of Italian cuisine, check out the beautiful Venetian Room — it’s a great space for weddings, business events, and cocktail parties.)

Coxinhas, Brazil: This popular Brazilian street food has a unique shape that’s best described as tear drop and it literally means little thigh. Why? It is claimed a cook invented it because there was not enough chicken thighs for the son of the Imperial Princess of Brazil. To emulate it, a savory dough with a creamy chicken filling was molded into a drumstick-like shape and then battered and deep fried. The ways a chef can be inspired is amazing!

Samosas, India: Some claim that it originated in the Middle East and then was brought to Central Asia, but this tasty snack is well loved around the Middle East, North Africa, and Southeast Asia where it is called sambusa, samosha, and sambosa. Fried or baked, you ma
y have seen this appetizer at your local Asian restaurant. Samosas are often filled with savory surprises like spiced potatoes and minced meat, with a small dish of fresh Indian chutney to compliment it.

Calabash Fingers, Burma: Calabash is a bottle-shaped gourd that’s used in a variety of ways in Burmese cuisine. In a typical Burmese meal, fried snacks like calabash fingers are often served with soup and the main dishes. These finger friendly bites are calabash “fries” lightly breaded in non-wheat flour and then fried.

Hungry for more? Check out our appetizers at Glorious Events explore a menu of possibilities for your next cocktail party.