Philadelphia, PA - In South Philly, the Feast of the Seven Fishes is a traditional Italian-American celebration hosted on Christmas Eve, and the meal consists of, you guessed it, seven different seafood dishes.
The Italian-American Feast of the Seven Fishes
The traditional Feast of the 7-fishes dinner has become very popular, especially in South Philly. Many restaurants in Philadelphia have taken the tradition to a new level and are now hosting the annual Feast. Some are strictly Italian, while others serve seafood and a mix of other cuisines.
The original Feast of the Seven Fishes was celebrated in Italy during the 12th century. The Italian-American feast typically consists of seven fish-inspired dishes.
While the ingredients may vary from family to family, the main course usually includes seafood. Depending on the location, you might find a menu with oysters, clams, and mussels, as well as shrimp, squid, lobster, and baccala.
One thing is clear, there are no hard and fast rules for the meal; many people opt to include 12-13 dishes to satisfy their guests. Some people like mussels and spaghetti, while others eat mussels, fried calamari, or whiting with lemon. Some recommend lobster fra Diavolo.
Suppose you are planning to host your own Feast of the seven-fishes. In that case, you can purchase a variety of seafood from any reputable fishmonger. When ordering seafood, remember to order at least a week ahead of time. The more fish you cook, the better. And if you plan to serve it as a main course, it will be even more delicious.