An all-American breakfast is not as standard as one might think. Like in most countries, breakfast options vary by geography, although eggs and toast are pretty much an American staple. Cheesy grits and beignets are common breakfast items in New Orleans, while smoothies and healthy omelettes are big in California.
So it is not surprising that breakfasts in other parts of the world would be completely different. In fact, each country’s breakfasts also vary geographically. For instance, a continental breakfast of croissants and coffee might be the norm in Paris, while in the French countryside they are likely to dine on a full breakfast of fresh eggs, sausage, croissant and potato galette.
Anyway you cut it, most residents throughout the globe enjoy a good breakfast. It’s time to travel the world and do a virtual taste test to see what might be enjoyable. Some of the fare will sound completely foreign. Of course, everyone in the world learns to love that which they were brought up eating. So the question remains: what do people have for breakfast in other countries and just how tasty is it?
The cuisine in India varies by region, particularly the north and the south. In the past, many people in the country were vegetarians due to the high volume of Hindus and Buddhists. Now, more and more of the country’s residents are eating meat.
Although there are many options, typical breakfasts include roti (flatbread), dosas (thin lentil crepes), dips, chutneys, spiced potatoes and idlis (rice-dough pancakes that are steamed). Idlis is actually the most popular south Indian breakfast and is available pretty much everywhere in the country.
Since the continent is so large, the breakfast foods are varied by country and region. For example, in North Africa, a traditional continental breakfast is the most common. However, other offerings include fish, bean dishes, stews, porridge, eggs and yogurt. The Middle Eastern influences on the food in this region are due to the proximity of the mid-east to North African countries, like Tunisia.
For those who know much about South African culture, it won’t surprise you to learn that it is considered a tea and coffee culture due to the centuries of European influence. That means the residents are dining on eggs, bacon, sausage, baked beans, broiled tomatoes and bread options. In West and East Africa, breakfast is much more simple. Beignets and egg dishes are available, but with a twist. The beignet might be dipped in a sweet and sticky liquid and the omelets might be filled with sardines or beans, so there’s always a twist.
8. South Vietnam
Pho is by far the most popular Vietnamese breakfast. It is a noodle soup made with different meats, such as beef, chicken and pork along with the main ingredients of vegetables, lemon and chili. So all pho dishes basically include the same elements.
Another popular Vietnamese breakfast is Bun, which is similar to Pho, but with rice vermicelli noodles instead. Then there is Mien, which is made with glass noodles, sticky rice, Vietnamese bread (Banh Mi) and a porridge called Cháo. Porridge and broth dishes are a mainstay of this country’s early morning meal.
Iceland sounds like a far away land that many people don’t even think about. So is wondering what they eat for breakfast a bit of a stretch? If you’re thinking fish, you are partially correct, as salmon is readily available. But Icelandians’ breakfasts are a bit more common than one would guess.
Eggs, bread, cheese, lamb pate, liver or blood sausage and oatmeal are the most common menu items. Now, the addition of a yogurt type food seems to be a staple. It is more like a kefir cheese that is thick, spreadable and delectable.
Brazilians tend to eat lighter meals in the morning compared to other cultures. Lunch is the big meal of the day, so coffee is the main ingredient to the Brazilian breakfast. The additional foods that make up their breakfast are breads, fruits, cheeses, cold cuts, cereals and baked goods.
The breads are called Pao frances, which means French roll in Portuguese and they are eaten with a butter spread. The cheese and cold cuts are used to make a sandwich, with mozzarella as one of the more common cheeses. The fruit selections are plentiful with papaya leading the pack, depending on the region. Like in most countries, breakfast fare is slightly different in other parts of Brazil.
Japanese breakfasts are quite interesting to Americans especially, who would consider the fare to be perfect for other meals of the day rather than breakfast.
Rice, of course, is served with almost everything. Rice porridge is one of the ways rice can be included, but even regular steamed rice is common. Miso soup is also a staple, as well as Natto (fermented soy beans). Natto served with soy sauce and a variety of toppings is often eaten on top of steamed rice and is very hearty.
There are always a few side dishes available, such as grilled or steamed fish, a rolled omelet (much like that which is served at sushi bars), marinated pickles and seaweed.
Russian food is one of the heartier cuisines, and that includes their breakfasts. The morning beverage is more along the lines of black tea with sugar and lemon instead of coffee. Cheese and sausage sandwiches are definitely the most portable of the breakfast items. Since the winter weather can be very cold and work time often starts when it is still dark outside, there is generally some type of filling porridge, such as oatmeal, buckwheat or rice.
Pancakes with meat, cabbage or cottage cheese fillings are favorites and are made in advance so they can be warmed and grabbed, as needed. Cottage cheese dumplings (syrniki) are served with jam, sour cream or both. Russians are big on adding sour cream to just about anything, and breakfast is no different.
Spanish folk eat a heartier lunch than breakfast – after all, it’s a late night culture. The common custom is to eat a very late dinner so it is likely they are barely hungry in the morning.
Their inner hunger clock is very different from most other parts of the world, with lunch consumed closer to 2 o’clock and dinner closer to 10 – 12 o’clock at night. So breakfast is more continental style and includes a croissant, jam, sweet roll, soft cheese, ham and toast with butter. Churros, which are lightly fried dough topped with sugar or honey, are also typical fare and can be eaten on the run. Bread pudding that is served with cinnamon, sugar and honey is also a filling option. Cafe con leche (coffee with milk) is the staple for beverage.
Since the country has such a history of English influence, it makes sense that the typical breakfast has many similarities. Australians enjoy a big breakfast that includes vegemite, which is a salty spread for toast.
The other main dishes that are served down under are eggs, bacon, sausage, baked beans, tomatoes and mushrooms; again, very similar to the English breakfast which is comprised of baked beans and eggs.
1. Saudi Arabia
This country’s traditional breakfast is served while sitting on the ground with the spread beautifully laid out on a plastic sheet. Coffee made with Arabian beans or Arabian style tea are the most common breakfast beverages.
Typically, the items are served in separate bowls, much like a buffet, so everyone can make their own plate of delicious fare. Options generally include cheese, olives, jam, Pakistani nan bread, Arabian scrambled eggs and breads such as chapati or paratha.