Breakfast is often called the most important meal of the day. This meal is often heavily connected to a country’s traditions and can tell you much about it. Breakfast around the world offers a window into different cultures and regional variations.
While breakfast around the world may not be the rich, heavy meals they once were, they are still an important way of getting your day started off right. To explore this, here are 35 delicious breakfast dishes around the world:
Breakfast is not the biggest meal of the day in Brazil. This is reflected in the Portuguese word for breakfast, café da manhã, which literally means “morning coffee”. Strong coffee is usually accompanied with dishes like pão de queijo (cheese flavoured rolls), ham, cheese, pao frances (small loaves of bread eaten with butter), or fruits like papayas.
A popular Cambodian breakfast is kuy teav. This rice noodle soup is made with pork or beef broth, along with shallots, garlic, and herbs. It is served with pork or fish balls, chilli paste, and half a lime.
Also read: 13 Cambodian dishes you must try.
Breakfast in China is a lot like lunch or dinner. It can consist of noodles, rice, sticky chicken, fried veggies, dim sums, steamed buns, and hot soups like congee. However, one common feature is fried dough sticks (called you tiao), which are meant to be dipped in warm soy milk.
There are many regional varieties to Colombian breakfasts. However, two popular dishes are arepas (dense, slightly sweet corn cakes) served with butter, or eggs, meat, and jam, and the changua (an egg, cheese, and milk soup).
5. Costa Rica
A popular breakfast in Costa Rica is gallo pinto. It is made with rice stir-fried with black beans, red pepper, and onions. It is topped with salsa and sour cream and served with eggs, avocado, cheese, or tortillas.
Breakfast in Denmark, like most Nordic countries, is usually an open-faced sandwich covered with various spreads, sometimes accompanied by a pastry. The base is usually rye bread, which is covered with everything from cheeses, cold cuts, pâté, honey, jam, vegetables, hard-boiled eggs, and even chocolate.
An Egyptian breakfast of ful medames is made with fava beans and chickpeas stewed and spiced with cumin, parsley, onion, lemon, and chilli. It is served with hard-boiled eggs, diced veggies, or a piece of pita.
Also read: 11 things you must not miss while in Egypt.
A French breakfast is not usually heavy. It usually consists of coffee or tea along with bread and butter or pastries and croissants. Salty foods (like meat and eggs) are not often eaten, making place for the richer dishes eaten for lunch and dinner.
Also read: French food customs to keep in mind.
A traditional German breakfast, or frühstuck, is a simple affair. It often consists of an assortment of fresh bread, sausages, cold sliced meats, local cheeses, butter, and jam. This is washed down with coffee. However, in Bavaria, a common breakfast is white veal sausages with sweet mustard, pretzels, and beer (Weisswurstfrühstück).
Greek and Mediterranean breakfasts are made up of various dishes. The most popular are savoury pies (such as spanakopita) or kagianas (scrambled eggs with tomatoes and feta). This can be accompanied with yoghurt with honey and walnuts, pastries, bread, and cold cuts. In Crete, a full breakfast has olives, cheese, tomatoes, cucumber, yoghurt, bread, paximadia, honey, hard-boiled eggs, orange juice and coffee or tea.
Also read: Delicious authentic Greek food to try.
A Hungarian breakfast very often consists of pogácsa, a focaccia-like bread that can be can be stuffed with potatoes, ground beef, or cheese. Different ingredients can also be sprinkled on top before baking.
Breakfast cuisine in India varies hugely depending on the region but South Indian breakfasts commonly consist of idlis (fermented rice and lentils steamed to form a soft cake) or dosas (similar to crepes or pancakes but made with fermented batter usually with rice or black gram) with sambar (a vegetable stew) and chutney. Other common breakfast items are poha (flattened rice) and upma (a savoury dish made from semolina). In North India, breakfasts may include various parathas, aloo-puri, and other dishes.
A staple of a traditional Iranian breakfast is varieties of flatbreads (such as barbari, noon-e sangak, lavash, or noon-e tâftoon), served with butter, fruit jams, honey, heavy cream, feta cheese, cucumbers, tomatoes, and walnuts. However, other breakfasts, which require more preparation, are omelettes, kaleh pâcheh (a stew of lamb’s head and hoof), haleem (thick wheatmeal porridge with meat), and adasi (lentil soup). This is accompanied with tea, and much like Italians who have cappuccino just with breakfast, Iranians have chai shirin, tea with granulated sugar, only at breakfast. (Throughout the day, other sweeteners like sugar cubes, dates, or raisins, are used).
Israel is known for its kibbutz breakfast of various dishes like breads with a variety of cheeses, omelette, tuna, olives, butter, jams, salad and spreads. However, another popular dish is the Shakshouka (eggs poached in a tomato sauce).
An Italian breakfast, much like the French and Spanish is very light. Consisting of a cappuccino e cornetto, or a cappuccino and Italian croissant, or biscotti. Also, like the French, it allows for the more heavy meals eaten for lunch and dinner.
Jamaicans often eat a savoury dish of ackee and saltfish in the morning. Ackee is a fruit that looks like scrambled eggs when cooked. It’s served with salted cod, onions, tomatoes, spices, rice, and fried plantains.
Traditional Japanese breakfasts (known as wafuu breakfast) are made up of many little dishes. These include rice, miso soup, sticky soybeans, nori seaweed, pickled vegetables, and fish or omelettes.
Korean breakfasts are very similar to their lunch or dinner, much like in China. There is usually a bowl of rice, vegetable soup, some fish or beef, and a plate of kimchi.
Lebanese breakfasts often consist of a combination of various staples. These include flatbreads (manakish) covered in zata’ar, creamy labne, cheese, tomatoes, olives, eggs, foul mudammas, shakshuka, tea, and savoury pastries called mouajanet.
Breakfast in Mexico is a hearty meal which consists of dishes like chilaquiles (fried tortillas topped with green or red salsa, refried beans, and shredded chicken, or even leftovers). Huevos rancheros (traditional Mexican eggs) is another popular choice.
Moroccan breakfasts are often sweet, consisting of bread and semolina pancakes with some chutney, jam, cheese or butter, honey, eggs, olives, and dates, as well as Turkish coffee and mint tea.
Myanmar’s most iconic breakfast dish is the mohinga. Also the country’s national dish, this comforting rice noodle and fish soup is flavoured with lemongrass, fish paste, ginger, onions and chickpeas. It is served at roadside stalls across the country and has many regional variations.
People in the Netherlands usually eat slices of buttered spiced bread (ontbijtkoeken) topped with various things like ham, cheese, jam or hagelsag (sweet, flavoured sprinkles). Cereals and fry-ups (called een uitsmijter) are also common.
Breakfast in Nigeria differs based on region, community and tribe. However, a popular dish is Ogi and Akara (cornmeal and bean cakes) often accompanied with yam, fried eggs, and fried plantain.
In Pakistan (and parts of North India), a common breakfast is stuffed parathas (flatbread stuffed with various vegetables, usually potatoes and cooked) eaten with butter, yoghurt, and pickle. Another popular dish is aloo-poori (potato curry with fried dough), or halwa-poori (poori with a sweet mixture). Nihari (a spicy meat curry) served with naan is also eaten. They are served with coffee or tea.
Breakfast in the Philippines is usually the largest meal of the day and often consists of fruit, pan de sal (bread rolls), and hearty rice dishes like tapsilog (rice with dried meat and eggs) or little sausages, known as longganisa, which can be fried with garlic, eggs, meats, and beans.
Traditional Polish breakfast is often jajecznica, scrambled eggs topped with kielbasa (sausages) and potato pancakes. It may also feature an open sandwich, topped with a range of ingredients like cold cuts, cheese, sausages, or eggs.
A popular Russian breakfast is small girdle cakes. They come in many varieties like the cheese-stuffed syrniki, the crepe-like blini (made with kefir), and the fluffy oladi. These are often served with soured cream, honey, jam or fresh berries.
Singaporean food is inspired by various cuisines, such as Malaysian, Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, and European. So, their breakfast food is a mixture of all of these. However, one of the most popular breakfast foods is kaya toast. This sweet sandwich is made with white bread spread with butter and kaya jam, a Southeast Asian spread made of coconut, egg, and sugar.
A popular Spanish breakfast is the Pan a la Catalana, or Pan con Tomate. Originating in the Catalan region they consist of bread rubbed with garlic and tomato drizzled with olive oil. This can be topped with cheese, ham, or sausages if required, and is served with café con leche.
Swedish breakfast also often consists of Nordic open sandwiches covered with cold cuts, fish, cheese, or vegetables (knäckebröd). However, another popular dish is pannkakor. These thin crepe-like cakes are usually topped with sweet fruity fillings made with cloudberries or lingonberries.
In Turkey, breakfast consists of bread, cheeses, olives, cucumbers, tomatoes, spicy Turkish sausages, honey, jams, omelette, and fruit. This is accompanied by baked dishes like börek (filled phyllo pastry) and served with delicious Turkish tea or coffee.
33. United Kingdom
The famous British fry-up, popularly known as a full English breakfast usually includes eggs, sausage, thick-cut bacon, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, hash browns, and toast. Regional varieties include the Scottish breakfast with has added black pudding and haggis and the Irish breakfast which has white pudding and soda bread. Whatever version, it is often accompanied by a cup of tea.
34. United States
Much like the full English breakfast, American breakfasts usually include eggs, crispy bacon, hash browns and toast. This can be accompanied with thick, fluffy, pancakes and maple syrup. There are any number of variations and combinations of these dishes, though they are often accompanied by orange juice.
A typical breakfast in Venezuela is arepas (flat corn cakes). As with many other countries, arepas accompany most meals. For breakfast, they are fried or baked and topped with cheese, ham, chicken, pork, or fish. Another popular dish is empanadas (pastries filled with fresh cheese, minced meat or any combination of veggies and beans).
Of course, these are just a few of the many dishes that serve as breakfast around the world, and if we’ve forgotten any, be sure to share them in the comments below.