Until the 14th century, there were no records of traditional Hanukkah dishes. Then two types of foods emerged — fried foods and dairy foods. Fried foods, associated with the lighting of the menorah (candelabra), became the principal type of Chanukah fare. Does eating dairy relate to the previous links between Chanukah and Sukkoth or in relation to the books of the Apocrypha, Judith?
Typical foods include:
Sephardim: doughnuts and fried pastries
North African Jews: debla, dough rolled to resemble a rose, deep-fried and dipped in sugar or honey.
Italians: honey-dip deep-fried diamond-shaped pieces of yeast dough called frittelle.
The Bene Israel in India: milk-based fried pastry called gulab jamun.
Ashkenazim: blintzes, doughnuts, and especially latkes (pancakes). The original latkes were made from curd cheese, fulfilling the two predominant Hanukkah culinary customs in one dish.