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The Great British Breakfast

Updated on October 18, 2010

The Great British Breakfast!

Nothing quite sets you up for the day like a Full English Breakfast. Whether you have to get up for work or get up after a late night on the tiles, there are few things that can entice you out of bed like the prospect of a Full English (especially if you can convince someone else to cook it for you!)

There are only a handful of countries in the world that are as fanatical about having eggs and bacon at breakfast as the UK and US. I live in Continental Europe, where breakfast is usually nothing more than a light snack such as coffee and a pastry. I never get tired of the expression of skepticism that appears on the faces of the locals when I try explaining to them the concept of eating fried food at breakfast time! But of course the beauty of a Full English is that it can be enjoyed at any time of day.

In my restaurant we literally sell hundreds of Breakfasts every week to the British Ex-Pat population in search of a bit of home-from-home. Below I wanted to highlight some of the regional variations that you will experience when having a cooked breakfast in Britain. Some of them might sound slightly strange, but I can tell you from experience that all are delicious!

The Full English

The normal ingredients of a traditional full English breakfast are bacon, eggs, fried or grilled tomatoes, fried mushrooms, fried bread, baked beans, toast and sausages. In many regions of England, Black pudding is also a standard part of the traditional breakfast. No full English should ever be served without the mandatory tea which can either be served in a pot and drank from a cup, or served in a mug.

In many cafes throughout Great Britain the Full English is often referred to as the Full Monty when it is ordered to contain every available item.

The Full Irish breakfast

An Irish breakfast traditionally consists of sausages, black and white pudding, bacon and fried eggs.

In Ireland, as elsewhere, the exact constituents of a full breakfast vary, depending on which part of the country you are visiting at the time. Traditionally, the most common ingredients are bacon, sausages, fried eggs, white pudding, black pudding, toast, fried sliced potato, and fried tomato.Fried mushrooms are normally always included as is Soda Bread. A full Irish breakfast should be accompanied with a strong Irish Breakfast Tea such as Barry's Tea, or Lyons Tea, and served with milk and sugar.

The best place to enjoy a Full Irish is in one of the many quaint B+B´s that adorn the Emerald Isle, where your host will ensure that you are fit to burst before finally relenting and allowing you to leave the table!

The Full Scottish breakfast

In Scotland, the traditional breakfast is porridge but the "Full Scottish Breakfast", along with the usual eggs, bacon and sausage, you will find Scottish-style black pudding, fried haggis and tattie scones. It will undoubtedly also include fried tomato, baked beans, fruit pudding (also fried), and oatcakes. One of the defining characteristics of the Scottish breakfast is to add traditional “Square” sausage which is a delicious fried square of flat sausage meat.



As a Scotsman I have a deep affinity with the Scottish breakfast. The prospect of having it cooked for me by my mother when I return home is one of the things I dream about during the plane journey home!

So where ever you live in the world, and whatever you’re having for your breakfast, the most important thing is to enjoy it! After all- it’s the most important meal of the day!


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      Tony 5 years ago

      looks good