Don't bring salad to a potluck, get invited again with these great ideas for sharing food!

By LeAnn Nguyen
December 20, 2017

If you are in the group of people for whom the word potluck brings up warm and exciting thoughts about sharing homemade dishes, if it immediately gets you planning which recipe you’ll personally make and bring to the party, enjoy the rest of the article knowing you already have a leg up on everyone else.

On the other hand, if the mere mention of a potluck causes you to panic and reassess your friendship with the person who had just invited you, then hopefully this article will help ease some of the anxiety. We understand! It can be hard for busy folks and those not-so-skilled in the culinary arts to get something together for a potluck.

But before you grab that bag of salad from QFC (unless your goal is to not be invited to future potlucks), consider the following list of interesting dishes that’s guaranteed to earn some oohs and aahs.

At the end of the day, potlucks are great opportunities to be with family and friends and shouldn’t be a chore. You can impress your fellow partygoers and guarantee yourself future invitations with these crowd-pleasing potluck ideas.

This dish bear a passing resemblance to donut holes, but these Japanese fried dough balls are actually a savory snack. They’re filled with octopus, and typical toppings include bonito (dried fish) flakes, green onions, and mayonnaise. You can buy enough for a party from Hiroshi’s Catering, Take-Out, & Deli in Beacon Hill.

These Eastern European fried dumplings have versatile fillings, making them easy to tailor to different tastes. What unites the varieties is their heartiness—sausage, salmon, and potatoes are among the typical fillings. Piroshky Piroshky Bakery in Pike Place Market sells them by the dozen and offers both meat and vegetarian options.

Jollof rice
A staple of West African cuisine, jollof rice is a great option for vegetarians. There are different regional varieties but the main ingredients are just rice and vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, and onions. Add in some seasonings and spices and you have a dish that looks simple, but is full of flavor. When they’re not selling the Nigerian variety from their food stand at local farmers’ markets, Naija Buka can cook it for your events in party platter form.

Barbeque pork fried rice
It’s hard to go wrong with fried rice garnished with chunks of juicy, tender barbeque pork (as well as some vegetables like peas and carrots, so it’s not entirely unhealthy). Kau Kau BBQ in the International District is famous for its barbeque pork, having been in the business for over 30 years, so you know you’re getting the real deal when you pick up their fried rice platter.

Tamales are known for their soft, moist dough and flavorful, savory fillings, as well as for the intense labor that goes into making them. Time and effort certainly come at a premium during the holiday season, but fortunately for you, you can pick up ready-made tamales by the dozen from Carniceria El Paisano in White Center.

Vietnamese sticky rice
If you want a dessert that’s more subdued in sweetness, consider getting a type of xôi ngọt, or sweet Vietnamese glutinous rice. Some popular varieties include those flavored with corn, mung beans, and baby jackfruit seed. Not only are they an interesting alternative to more typical baked desserts, they also come in fun colors (red, green, yellow, orange). You can buy multiple varieties by the pound at Thanh Son Tofu in the International District.

Guava cake
For those out there with a sweet tooth, guava cake will satisfy your sugary cravings. The Polynesian dessert features whipped cream and guava gel sandwiched between layers of moist cake in an appealing pinkish color. Cakes of Paradise in Georgetown sells it with customizable decorations, making it easy for you to bring a bit of tropical flavor to your get-together.