Breakfast Around the World

10 September, 2018

From VOA Learning English, this is the Health & Lifestyle report.

Breakfast is the first meal of the day. Some people love it! They look forward to breaking their nighttime fast with a big meal. Others may like to eat something small. For those who skip breakfast all together – this article might not be for you!

There are many common foods shared between countries, although they may cooked differently. But whichever side people fall on -- a big breakfast or small one -- chances are it involves a cup of coffee or tea.

Americans are not very creative when it comes to breakfast. That is not to say we don't many choices. We do. Common breakfast foods are bacon and eggs; bagel with cream cheese; pancakes or waffles with a side of sausage; sandwiches with egg, cheese and vegetables; oatmeal topped with dried fruit and nuts; or if we're in a hurry, a bowl of cold cereal with milk.

Blueberries pancakes are a breakfast favorite in the U.S. These are made with granola and are served with fresh raspberries on the side.
Blueberries pancakes are a breakfast favorite in the U.S. These are made with granola and are served with fresh raspberries on the side.

But some foods are simply not on the family breakfast menu -- things such as a whole fish, olives, tofu, pasta or rice. In fact, if you serve salmon leftover from dinner for breakfast, you may hear people say, "That's not a breakfast food!"

So, what does breakfast look like around the world?

We looked at several websites to find out. On, writer Julie Gerstein lists 28 breakfasts from around the world. And in the U.K., writer April Wallago did the same for The Independent.

A little of everything

In some areas of the world, breakfast includes just about anything. There is seemingly nothing that is not a breakfast food.

Turkey is one such place. People in Turkey seem to have endless choices for breakfast. A morning table may have eggs, bread with butter, honey or jam. Tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, Turkish sausage and tea are also common dishes in a Turkish breakfast.

On a German breakfast table you might see different kinds of bread, cold meats and cheeses with butter and jam on the side. You may also have some sliced vegetables or yogurt with fruit.

In Poland, a common breakfast food is an open-faced sandwich with meat and cheese. They also commonly have scrambled eggs, hot dogs (without the bun) and pickled vegetables. In spring and summer, they eat more fruit and vegetables for breakfast. They may also add donuts filled with jam to the breakfast table.

Several food websites also say that Koreans eat the same foods at breakfast that they may eat at lunch and dinner. So, you might have rice, kimchi (a traditional spicy pickled cabbage), soups with tofu and pickled vegetables. One website says Korean people like to add any leftovers from dinner the night before to breakfast – which is simply a great idea.

A typical breakfast in Japan may look the same. People may begin their day eating rice with pickled vegetables, fish, or egg and miso soup.

In a country as large as China, breakfast looks different from region to region.

People may eat a fried dough called you tiao with a cup of warm milk or rice soup with pickled vegetables. Or you may have a hot, roasted sweet potato. In some parts of China, breakfast could be noodles with vegetables and meat.

India is the same. Breakfast in each part of the country can look very different. One common meal might be pan-fried bread served with vegetables and a variety of chutneys or sauces.

A breakfast in Mexico could be as hearty as beans, eggs, cheese and tomato on top of a toasted corn tortilla. Or it could be as simple as a churro -- a thin deep fried dough topped with sugar and cinnamon -- dipped in coffee or hot chocolate.

In the Andalusian part of Spain, you might simply have a crusty roll with olive oil and salt on top to go with your coffee. In Cuba, grilled buttered bread, or tostada, with coffee and milk is a common breakfast as well.

People in Mozambique may eat breakfast sandwiches made with eggs or fish. People there may also eat a type of sweet cake for breakfast.

The website Awesome Amsterdam lists some of the most famous breakfast foods of the Netherlands. Many people there like to eat bread with a fried egg, meat, cheese or thin slices of chocolate. A ham and cheese sandwich is also a common breakfast food. Or you may simply choose to have a piece of sweet spice cake to dunk in your coffee.

In Colombia, you may have a sweet corn cake. These are fried and topped with meat, eggs and cheese or just butter and jam.

People in Nigeria may eat a deep-fried dish made from black-eyed beans and spices. They often eat them with a bowl of a thick corn pudding.

In Russia, breakfast may include sausage, a bowl of porridge, dark rye bread or cakes filled with cheese and then fried in a pan.

Keeping it simple

People in some countries keep things very simple at breakfast -- just coffee or tea and some sort of bread.

In Italy, breakfast is often a cup of coffee with milk and a bread roll with jam. In Tanzania, a common breakfast is a cup of tea with bread or maybe a thin pancake.

People in Kenya may start with their day with fruit, a type of bread called flatbread and a cup of hot tea. And in France, strong coffee with a croissant, plain or filled with chocolate, is a common breakfast.

Several websites say that in Brazil breakfast is not a big deal. That honor goes to lunch. To start their day, Brazilians often drink coffee with milk -- even the children. With that, they may simply have a slice of toasted French bread. Papaya is a very common breakfast fruit. But any seasonal fruit is often a part of breakfast. Or instead, many Brazilians may simply eat a lightly-sweetened cake.

There are simply some breakfast dishes from around the world. We have only scratched the surface.

Or maybe we got some things wrong.

That's where you can help us out! In the Comments Section, tell us where you are from, describe a traditional breakfast from your culture and then share your favorite dish to eat for breakfast.

And if you would to see some of the items mentioned in this article, watch this video on YouTube.

Courtesy of Buzzfeed

I'm Bryan Lynn.

And I'm Anna Matteo.

Anna Matteo wrote this story. George Grow was the editor.


Words in This Story

open-faced adj. served without a covering layer (as of bread or pastry) : an open-faced sandwich

pickled adj. preserved with salt water or vinegar

spicy adj. of food : flavored with or containing strong spices and especially ones that cause a burning feeling in your mouth

chutney n. a thick sauce of Indian origin that contains fruits, vinegar, sugar, and spices and is used as a condiment

hearty adj. large enough to satisfy hunger

tortilla n. a thin round of unleavened cornmeal or wheat flour bread usually eaten hot with a topping or filling (as of ground meat or cheese)

crusty adj. of food : having a thick or crisp crust

dunk v. to dip (food) quickly into a liquid (such as coffee or milk) while eating

croissantn. a type of roll that has a curved shape and that is usually eaten at breakfast

scratched the surface phrase deal with, understand, or find out about only a small part of a subject or problem