Whether they’re served on a side table, on a plate, on a silver platter, or by a white-gloved butler, delicious finger foods (or hors d’oeuvres, if you prefer) can often be the highlight of many a party. Regardless of what kind of a shindig you’re throwing, having some beautifully presented and expertly made finger foods can delight your guests and keep them talking for days.
To qualify as a finger food, the dish needs to be small. How small, you ask? Well, the key is in the name, really, they are meant to be eaten with your fingers, or speared with little cocktail picks and eaten from your hand, or even slurped out of a wee handheld cocktail glasses (like cocktail shrimp). Foods like pancakes and soups don’t count (no matter how small the portions) because they require plates or utensils. The goal of finger food is to allow you to munch on tasty treats while mingling at a party or event… no sit-down meal required.
Depending on where you are in the world, your finger food choices will be a tad different — hors d’oeuvres often favor local tastes and flavors of the region. Snack foods are often regional favorites reflecting culture and local ingredient availability. Delicious finger foods can be anything from deep fried cheesy balls to creamy local dips meant to be scooped up with a piece of bread or pita.
In Latin America, snack foods like alcapurrias (from Puerto Rico) and coxinhas (from Brazil) are local favorites that are often served as finger foods at parties too. If you go across the ocean to Europe, Italy in particular, bruschetta alla Romana is a quick and easy-to-prepare finger food.
Each part of the world has their own preferred favorites when it comes to hors d’oeuvres. Read on to find out more about the different kinds of finger foods enjoyed across the globe.
Baba Ghanoush — Turkey
This iconic eggplant dip is smoky, rich, creamy, and an incredibly popular dish all over the Mediterranean and Middle East. It’s most often eaten with chunks of pita.
Bao — China
These fluffy soft dough buns are usually steamed (though sometimes they come baked too) and are stuffed with a variety of fillings (pork, beef, vegetables). They’re light and buoyant and are often dipped in a soy-based sauce for extra flavor.