12 breakfasts from around the world worth getting up for

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Our moms told us that breakfast was the most important meal of the day but do we listen? Sometimes we’re so time poor that breakfast is a cup of tea and a cereal bar at work.

Our moms told us that breakfast was the most important meal of the day but do we listen? Sometimes we’re so rushed that breakfast is a cup of coffee and a cereal bar at work. Feast your eyes and break your fast with these 12 delicious morning meals from around the world.


Breakfasts of the world
Vegemite “proudly made in Australia since 1923”. Photo: Pascal Vuylsteker

Generations of Australians have grown up strong and healthy on a regular breakfast of Vegemite. It was promoted originally as a healthy food for children. During the Second World War it was sold as a medicinal food. “Vegemite fights with the men up north! If you are one of those who don’t need Vegemite medicinally, then thousands of invalids are asking you to deny yourself of it for the time being.”

The dark, salty paste is made from leftover brewers’ yeast extract, vegetable and spices and it’s a popular spread for sandwiches, toast and crackers. There’s a cheesy version now too, but purists hold that the original Vegemite is the gold standard of breakfast spreads.


Breakfasts of the world
Ghana – Waakye, Kelewele and Fried Yaw. Photo: Mac-Jordan Degadjor

Waakye is the best-named breakfast. A favorite in Ghana, it’s a dish of rice and beans (boiled together) served with kelewele (fried plantains seasoned with spices), fried plantain, fried fish, fried chicken or boiled eggs. You might also find wele (cow hide) as a side.


Breakfasts of the world
A lavish spread of meats and cheeses will set you up for the day in Istanbul. Photo: Scott Dexter

There are local variations of course, but the main ingredients of this well-balanced breakfast are cheese, meat and bread.

Take some white cheese (feta-style), some old cheese (kaşar peyniri), a boiled egg or sucuklu yumurta (an egg and ground-beef sausage omelet that’s seasoned with spices such as red pepper or cumin), some sliced cucumber and tomato, olives and some bread, jam or honey to round off the meal.


Breakfasts of the world
In Mexico, chilaquiles (with chicken like the above, beef or vegetables) are a spicy and filling way to break your fast. Photo: SanFranAnnie 

Chilaquiles (or Chilequiles) are one of those “recycling” recipes where you use up the previous evening’s leftover tortillas and salsas.

There are slight differences throughout Mexico, but the bulk of the meal is made up of tortillas, salsa (green or red) or mole sauce and eggs (scrambled or fried). Add some pulled chicken, soft cheese (Queso blanco) and refried beans.


Breakfasts of the world
Breakfast in Berlin. Photo: Britt Selvitelle

While some Europeans like to start the day with a light breakfast – a high-octane coffee and a little sweet bready something for example – there’s a methodical start to the day in some German households.

Plates of meat (ham, cured meats, liverwurst), an assortment of cheeses, boiled eggs, sliced vegetables (tomatoes for example) and fruit, some smoked fish on special occasions and different types of bread rolls – soft pretzel rolls (Laugenstangen), multi-seed (Vollkornbrot) and poppyseed-studded (Hörnchen) – and different types of jam. In some parts of Germany, Bavaria for example, they have a second breakfast, called zweites Frühstück.


Breakfasts of the world
Cereals, fruit compote and yogurt are finding their way onto breakfast menus in France but the coffee-croissant combo is still the favourite. Photo: SimonDoggett

Le petit dejeuner translates as the little lunch so there’s no table groaning with food here. This is a bijou breakfast. There’s good coffee as you’d expect, often a cafe au lait, or hot chocolate served in a big bowl-like cup. The carbs come in sweet form.

Tartines (sliced baguette topped with butter and jam or a chocolate spread) are popular – and dunkable. Brioches, croissants, pain au chocolat and pains aux raisins also make an appearance, especially on weekends. Hotel breakfast menus will often feature ham, cheese and eggs  too.


Breakfasts of the world
Changua, a poached egg and milk soup with restorative properties. Photo: manuela y daniel

In Colombia, a popular breakfast is Calentado. It’s leftover rice and beans served with an egg, chorizo, grilled beef and a flatbread (arepa). Unsurprisingly, in this part of the world, hot chocolate is the beverage of choice.

Changua has breakfast all sewn up. It’s an egg and milk soup with bread on the side (or in the soup) that’s served in the central Andes region especially the Boyacá and Cundinamarca area, which includes Bogota. It’s served in a bowl, garnished with scallions and cilantro. The bread, called “calado,” softens in the soup. It’s also a great cure for a hangover.


Breakfasts of the world
The Lard have mercy! Grits with country ham and redeye gravy. Photo: beccapie

We could have gone for beignets from New Orleans (that’s our featured image at the top of this post by the way) or pancakes, but the country ham, gravy, eggs and grits combination summed up the American South for us.

The rib-sticking fare is a heart-warming fusion of English, Scottish, German, French, Irish, Native American and African American cuisines. Foods such as corn (grits is a derivative) and squash were inherited from American Indian tribes while the breads, biscuits and cheeses came from European immigrants.

The country ham is salt cured, bone-in, and a national treasure. And the gravy… The Red Eye Gravy is also known as bird-eye gravy, poor man’s gravy, red ham gravy or muddy gravy.


Breakfasts of the world
Churros are a rocket-fuel breakfast for the morning after the night before. Photo: sasha diamanti

Also known as a Spanish doughnut, a churro is a fried pastry that’s sprinkled with sugar and then dipped in cafe con leche (a coffee with milk) or hot chocolate.

There are two main types – thin ones that are sometimes knotted (most popular in the north of Spain) and long, thick ones (popular in the south). They’re also known as porras. The long, thin, knotted churros are often dusted with sugar while the thick churros are eaten on their own.


Breakfasts of the world
Blueberry French Toast. Photo: Martin Cathrae

In France it is known as pain perdu – “lost bread” that could be revived with cooking. In Quebec, French Toast is called pain doré – golden bread.

Although French Toast, in one form or another, has been around since medieval times, some credit the logging camp cooks in Quebec with popularizing it. For lumberjacks gearing up for a day of back-breaking labor, its warm, sweet and carby fare was a key part of breakfast. Even more so when paired with local maple syrup.


Breakfasts of the world
The Full English Breakfast. Photo: flickr4jazz

It’s the legendary fry up. The inner organs of beasts and fowls served as fuel for workers and those who have been up all night. It’s so popular that it has transcended morning and morphed into an “all-day breakfast.”

The Full English Breakfast consists of several pieces of back bacon, a couple of plump sausages, black pudding, baked beans, a fried tomato, fried mushrooms and a couple of fried eggs. A slice of fried bread (a fried slice) should be crispy and dry to the touch.


Breakfasts of the world
It’s the haggis and potato scone that makes this fry Scottish. Photo: oosp

The Scottish breakfast is similar to the English breakfast but it has some local additions – a side of haggis and a potato scone.

“Arbroath smokies” (smoked haddock), oatcakes and a “buttery” (a croissant-type bread) might also be on your plate.

(Featured image of beignets in New Orleans by tibbygirl)

12 breakfasts from around the world worth getting up for was last modified: June 26th, 2019 by Oonagh Shiel
Author: Oonagh Shiel (48 posts)

Content Manager at Cheapflights whose travel life can be best summed up as BC (before children) and PC (post children). We only travel during the school holidays so short-haul trips and staycations are our specialities!