Typical Breakfast Around the World

What did you have for breakfast

What did you have for breakfast this morning? A bowl of cereal, a donut or Danish? How about bacon and eggs with toast? Maybe you stopped at McDonalds and had an Egg McMuffin or if you had time you might have been treated to pancakes or French toast. Breakfasts across the globe seem to share one characteristic, they rely on carbohydrate rich foods as the backbone and the remainder is built around some type of starch, not especially good news for a nation of obese diabetics.

Toulouse Lautrec at Breakfast
Toulouse Lautrec at Breakfast

The Unbalanced Breakfast -This may turn you vegan!

Breakfast in Indonesia
Breakfast in Indonesia
Hotel breakfast in Kyoto
Hotel breakfast in Kyoto
Breakfast at home in Japan
Breakfast at home in Japan

Pacific

Australia: The typical breakfast of Australians is very similar to breakfast in other Western countries. Breakfast may be very light in the warmer parts of the country but in the cooler areas breakfast may be as full and heavy as a traditional English breakfast with fried bacon, egg, mushroom, baked beans, sausages, tomatoes, porridge, and toast with spread. Drinks A popular breakfast food in Australia is Vegemite, a black, salty spread made from yeast extract similar to Marmite, applied to toast or bread.

Indonesia is a vast archipelago with influences from all of the surrounding areas as well as the West. As in most of Asia rice makes up the bulk of calories eaten and depending on the area many Indonesians like their food hot, very hot with chilies. Sundanese in West Java likes to eat fresh vegetables and sambal (Hot sauce made of chilies). Javanese likes to eat sweet. Tea will be sweet and dishes sweetened with much coconut milk used. Padang (West Sumatra) likes to eat hot/spicy food. Common breakfast dishes found in Indonesia would include Nasi Goreng – which is a fried rice flavored with chilies and spices, vegetables, soy sauce and chicken or prawns. This can be topped with a fried egg and sliced cucumber and then called Istimewa. Toasted breads, pancakes and omelettes in various forms, eggs and of course fruits will also feature almost everywhere, all from the Western influence.

Japan: The Land of the Rising Sun. Japan has been thoroughly westernized and nowadays they enjoy most of the same foods that we eat. Traditionally Japanese breakfast is based on rice, seafood, and fermented foods, these are the same foods as are eaten at other times of the day. The Japanese do not have a different selection of dishes served at breakfast the way we do in the West. An exception is Natto (a type of fermented soybeans), which is most popularly eaten for breakfast. A typical Japanese restaurant breakfast presentation would be Miso soup, rice with Nori or other garnishes, Natto, rice porridge, grilled fish, raw egg, and a pickled vegetable.


American Family Breakfast

Cambodia, rice with eggs
Cambodia, rice with eggs
Cambodian market
Cambodian market
Congee
Congee
Dim Sum in Hong Kong
Dim Sum in Hong Kong

Cambodia and China

Cambodia. In Cambodia, rice congee (bobor or babaw) is widely eaten for breakfast. Chicken congee, pig's blood congee, and seafood congee are also commonly eaten. The other typical Cambodian breakfasts: Noodles (mee cha) or noodle soup (khtieau), (similar to Vietnamese Pho Soup). Cambodians also enjoy rice served with sliced pork (bai sach chrouk), or chicken with pickled vegetables). Caw (a pork or fish soup dish made with caramelized sugar) is also eaten with congee or rice for breakfast.

Chinese Food. In China Many begin their day with a warm bowl of congee, a watery rice gruel that looks a lot like our porridge. Congee tends to be rather watery and serves as a beverage as well as a meal. Most of us would object if we had to eat porridge every day but the Chinese treat their congee more like we treat grits in the south, no it isn’t as thick as we make grits but they serve it and season it in a variety of ways. It may be sweet today and have marinated chicken tomorrow. If you are in Hong Kong or Guangdong your friends might ask you out for Yum Cha, (literally Drink Tea). Yum Cha is a dining experience that involves eating various Dim Sum and drinking tea, this is definitely not fast food but the variety of possibilities is huge. Dim Sum is a wide variety of small dishes and may include dumplings, steamed or fried, noodles, steamed buns, spring rolls, congee and even some sweet dishes for dessert.
You may be in more of a hurry and just want something quick, that’s when you stop at a street vendor for a “deep fried devil” those are the equivalent of our donuts, deep fried twisted dough about a foot long.
In other parts of China you might enjoy a hot bowl of noodles, in Guizhou, a big bowl of wheat noodles may be served smothered in pork fat.
Another popular dish for the Chinese is Zongzi. Zongzi are bamboo leaves, stuffed with sticky rice and a variety of ingredients ranging from sweet to savory and steamed. The sweet ones will usually have a sweet bean paste filling the rice but the savory ones can have any of a long list of ingredients depending on the cook and the location. Zongzi may be available in your Chinese city from street vendors to pick up on your way to work or school.

Khichri in India
Khichri in India
Hoppers Sri Lanka
Hoppers Sri Lanka
Roti
Roti

How to make Roti

Sri Lanka and India

Sri Lanka: The Singhalese traditional breakfast usually includes warm bread, roti, (flat Bread) pittu, (cylindrical cakes made of rice, coconut and wheat flour)  or kappa puttu, (Steamed Tapioca, Yucca) string hoppers, hoppers, or (idiyappam) are made from rice noodles curled into flat spiral and Hoppers are equivalent to a bread, made of fermented rice flour cooked into a bowl shape  milk rice, or green gram (Mung beans). These are eaten with curry (meat or vegetable), sambol (coconut, fish or onion fried with chili and sugar) or with jaggery (unrefined sugar) and plantains. Sri Lankans also have a traditional soup-like drink called Kanda. A typical everyday breakfast can simply consist of bread with butter, and cheese or jam, plantain banana and tea.

Indian breakfasts will vary from southern to northern areas. In southern India are rural areas where rice porridge (congee, kanji or ganji) is a traditional breakfast item. Congee is served with various condiments such as spicy pickles, coconut chutney or curry. Breakfast dishes are often served with chutneys. In the south dosa, upma, appam, idi-appam (rice noodles eaten with either sweet coconut milk or a meat curry), idli and puttu are eaten whereas in North Indian breakfast the Hindi breakfast dish, khichri is made with a mixture of rice, lentils, and spices. The English took this dish, adding smoked haddock, cream, and eggs, and renaming it kedgeree. Tea is widely consumed along with coffee in the south. Across India eggs scrambled with spices, potatoes, and onions are popular in the morning, as are fresh fruits and yogurt.  Dosa is a rice and urad dal (black lentil) batter made into thin, round pancakes.  Upma is a spicy porridge prepared with broken wheat, semolina.  Chapati is an Indian flat bread prepared with wheat flour

Turkey, Burek Trokut
Turkey, Burek Trokut
menenem
menenem
Kaymak
Kaymak
Greece Bougatsa
Greece Bougatsa
Spanikopita
Spanikopita
Tyropita
Tyropita
cappuccino, Italy
cappuccino, Italy
PPastry
PPastry
Churros and chocolate
Churros and chocolate
Baguette
Baguette
Tartines
Tartines
Croissant
Croissant
Fertige_Wurstbruehe
Fertige_Wurstbruehe
Wurst platter
Wurst platter
Irish breakfast
Irish breakfast
Full English Breakfast
Full English Breakfast

Turkey, Greece, Italy, Spain

Turkey: Turkey uses many of the same breakfast dishes that are common in the Arab Mediterranean world. Breakfast consists of bread, white cheese (feta), yellow cheese (kaşar), jams or preserved fruits, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, butter, honey, kaymak (Similar to our clotted cream but made with water buffalo milk) or labneh, (Cheese made of strained yogurt) sujuk, (a dry sausage similar to salami) and a boiled egg. Pastries are served less often than in the West. Menemen is a Turkish specialty often served at breakfast, made similar to a frittata with egg, onion, tomato and green peppers paprika, spices, and mint. Olives can be included as ingredients. Falafel may be served, especially in the Arab countries, and the Egyptians serve taameya (similar to falafel but made with fava beans). Breakfast is usually served with hot black tea in small tulip-shaped glasses although Turkish coffee may be available.

Greece. Greek food. A typical breakfast would include sliced rustic bread with honey, marmalade or Nutella (Hazlenut and chocolate spread) or Merenda (Greek Nutella) spread over slices of bread. Children typically drink chocolate or plain milk. Various kinds of pastry are often part of the traditional Greek breakfast. Tyropita, (flaky pastry of cheese and egg) spanakopita, (Greek spinach pie) and bougatsa (Bougatsa is a layers of phyllo with a filling of Myzthra cheese, spinach, spinach & cheese, ground meat or, for breakfast, custard). are eaten, usually accompanied with Greek coffee

Italy. Italian foods, breakfast in Italy, known as prima colazione or just colazione is usually fairly simple, Caffè Latte or Cappuccino, (hot espresso coffee with milk) with bread or rolls, butter, and jam. Italian breakfasts tend to be sweet; there is no tradition of savory foods at breakfast. Cookies (biscotti) and cakes are commonly eaten. Children drink hot chocolate, plain milk, or hot milk with very little coffee.

Spain: A simple breakfast in central Spain includes Churros (warm fritters) with hot chocolate for dipping. The hot chocolate is very thick and sweet and a churro is a deep fried tube of dough shaped like a star in profile. In the South and West breakfast is a little lighter, consisting of café con leche (coffee with milk) and bread with olive oil or, butter, jam, Serrano ham and local sausages. Of course southern Spain is known for its oranges so orange juice is available to replace the coffee. In late morning there is a break known as almuerzo when there is a snack so breakfast tends to be fairly light.

France, Germany, Scandinavia, England

France. In France breakfast will consist of French bread, baguette or tartines with butter, jam or chocolate paste, and sometimes croissants. A cup of black coffee or café au lait, is the most usual drink it can also be tea or hot chocolate, usually served in big bowls, accompanied by a glass of orange or grapefruit juice. Brioches and other pastries such as croissants, pains au chocolat and pains aux raisins are also traditional. Breakfast cereals, fresh fruits and yogurt are making inroads but are not part of traditional breakfasts. A typical French breakfast does not include any savory product so you will not find eggs and bacon here.

Germany & Austria. The typical German breakfast may resemble a deli platter her in the States, cold meats including their seemingly endless array of sausages (said to be 1500 types of sausage produced in Germany) and cheeses are served alongside some of their wide variety of breads with jam, marmalade and honey. Soft-boiled eggs, cereal and fruit would round out a large breakfast. Yogurt, granola and fruit are beginning to appear, as well as eggs cooked to order. You may notice that the sausages here are whiter than what you are accustomed to, this is because Germany has restrictions on the additives which are allowed in their food. (unlike the US where business is in charge)

Scandinavian countries (Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland) Breakfast was traditionally simple. Fish (particularly herring), meat and potatoes were served. Spices were sparse. Famous dishes include Swedish meatballs, traditionally served with gravy, boiled potatoes and lingonberry jam; pancakes, lutfisk, and Smörgåsbord, or lavish buffet. The traditional flat and dry crisp bread has developed into several variants. Breakfast many times includes Filmjölk (sour-milk yogurt) with muesli and banana slices.

England The traditionalEnglish breakfast is a cooked hot meal which, is rarely eaten these days as it is considered too heavy. Breakfast in England now is about the same as here in the US. Fifty years ago half or more of the population would enjoy a full cooked hot English breakfast sometimes called a fry up, consisting of bacon and eggs, hash browns, toast, sausage, black pudding, beans, grilled tomatoes, sautéed mushrooms, porridge, and kippersThere are numerous variations on the English breakfast, named for the regions they borrow from; Scottish breakfast, may also have, Potato Scones (Tattie Scones), Haggis and Oatcakes. Irish breakfast would also have White Pudding and Soda Bread. A full Welsh breakfast wouldWelsh sausages and the all-important Penclawdd cockle (Penclawdd is a town in Wales) and laverbread cake. (These are neither bread nor cakes but are fried patties made with long simmered seaweed, bound together with oatmeal and grilled, some say they resemble cow patties)

Pasteles
Pasteles
Breakfast in Brazil
Breakfast in Brazil
bread
bread

Cuba, Latin America

Cuba Cuban food breakfast consists of a tostada and cafe con leche or a cortadito.  The tostada is a slice of buttered grilled Cuban bread.   Café con leche is espresso coffee with warm milk. Cubans break the tostada into pieces and dunk them into the cafe con leche, some may also eat ham croquetas, (deep fried ham croquettes) As a treat you might enjoy Pastelitos, (assorted Cuban pastries).

Latin America Latin American breakfasts will have many of the same items as are enjoyed in North American and continental European breakfasts. Corn based breads, such as tortillas or arepas, are usually served along with wheat breads or pastries. Baguettes, brioches, cheese buns, biscuits, yogurt, and cereal may also be eaten in the morning. Menus will vary according to the local society with some serving beans and rice, while others will be having mangu (mashed plantains) eaten with eggs and sausage (much like Southerners eat grits) Fried bananas are not uncommon as well a variety of local tropical fruits. Café, café con leche, hot chocolate, and tea are common beverages. Along with orange, guava, mango, cashew and passion fruit juices depending on locale. Aguadulce, is another beverage which may be served, this is made from sugar cane syrup which is warmed up in water or milk.

What's in Your Breakfast?

As a diabetic, I find breakfast the most difficult meal to plan, I wrote this hub hoping to find a cuisine which offered good choices for breakfast.

So, What do you eat for breakfast?

Please comment, especially diabetics!

More by this Author


Comments 3 comments

AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

What a detailed and entertaining hub! It’s loaded with fascinating information. I’ll be reading it several times to absorb all the wonderful details. I loved the photos too - the food looks very appetizing!


Kimmicake profile image

Kimmicake 4 years ago from Cape Town South Africa

I can see after reading it that you have researched this hub to the tea(lol) I love how the pictures makes me suddenly peckish


chefsref profile image

chefsref 4 years ago from Citra Florida Author

Thanx Kimmicake

I started this hub looking for a low carb breakfast for myself (diabetic). Turns out that the whole world eats carbs to start the day

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