For a long time now, the idea that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and shouldn’t be missed has been a popular one all over the world, even though the people offering such advice don’t necessarily always follow it themselves. Recent scientific research has cast doubt upon this idea, indicating that the benefits of eating breakfast may vary depending on a number of factors, such as a person’s lifestyle and the nature of the breakfast itself.Everyone has their own favorite or ideal breakfast of course, but every now and then, it’s fun to try something different. It can get a bit boring both to prepare and to eat the same handful of breakfast dishes day after day, for years on end. To shake things up, here are ten breakfasts from around the world that are likely to be particularly different from anything the average expat is used to. Some of these breakfast dishes might not suit everyone’s tastes, but we recommend that you give each one at least one fair chance.
Waakye – Ghana
For many people, the idea of eating a rice dish at breakfast might seem a little strange, but waakye is a very popular breakfast dish in Ghana. It’s a combination of rice and beans that is often made at home but is now most common as a street food. From being a regional favorite in the northern part of the country, this simple dish has gone on to become popular all over Ghana as well as in some neighboring countries. There are many different versions of waakye, some lightly seasoned and others intensely spicy. Sometimes the rice and beans are cooked separately and then combined, but most often they are boiled together. Some versions of waakye include meat along with the rice and beans, but the simplest recipes involve only rice, beans, salt, and a handful of spices. The dish is almost always dry, and is usually served with a spicy pepper sauce as well as a meat stew, boiled eggs, fried fish, and/or kelewele (hot plantain crisps).
Find the recipe on African Bites.
Vegemite on toast – Australia
Marmite is something of a British icon, but the sticky yeast extract is about as popular – and about as polarizing – in Australia too. In fact, while most popular breakfast in the UK is the “full English” and variations of it, the only really popular (but by no means universally loved) breakfast in Australia is probably Marmite on toast. For this to be authentic, you’ll need to get your hands on the Australian version, Vegemite, which is said to be slightly different in taste from the British one, which doesn’t have much sweetness and is more intense in its yeasty, tangy flavors. And in case you hate both, just consider that you may not have found the right way to eat it yet.
Marmite on toast is usually just that – Marmite spread thinly on toast, perhaps with butter – but even some Marmite lovers find that minimal combination to be too intense and unbalanced. If that’s how you feel, adding a little cheese to your toast can help; other recommendations include marmalade or avocados. You probably don’t need a recipe for Marmite on toast, or even for any of its variations, but BBC Good Food has a rather entertaining recipe – one that is improved by its comments section – so here it is.
Find the recipe on BBC Good Food.
Cheese, olives, meat, jam, and more – Turkey
The typical Turkish breakfast is an impressive spread that has converted many an expat to being a morning person who relishes a large breakfast. The spread can include bread, butter, honey, jams and preserves, clotted cream, eggs, olives, cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, yogurt, meat, fruit juice, and tea.
Although Turkish coffee is famous around the world, it’s usually not part of breakfast, as most locals prefer tea. The type of bread varies, but it’s almost always bread that has been freshly baked. The meats too vary – many hotels today serve pork sausages, but the traditional option is usually some sort of Turkish beef sausage. The jams and preserves are usually home-made, and tend to be the favorites at the table, along with the cheeses, which are usually of several types, some young and some aged. For the most part, the Turkish breakfast doesn’t even need a recipe – what it needs is access to good, fresh produce. However, here’s a detailed description of what goes into it, along with a recipe for one possible egg preparation.
Find the recipe on Afar.
Pora – India
Eggs are a common part of breakfasts around the world, and India is no exception. The country has numerous popular egg preparations, many of which are dishes that can be loosely described as types of omelets and scrambled eggs with chopped vegetables and complex mixes of local spices. These dishes often vary from region to region and from one cook or household to the next, and it’s difficult to find anything close to a standard across the country. Pora is one of these dishes: a kind of spiced omelet made by the Parsis, a Zoroastrian community that migrated from Persia to India between the 8th and 10th centuries. It’s a tiny community that’s mostly concentrated in and around Bombay, so the dish is rather obscure, but it’s one of the most delicious egg preparations you’ll ever find.
With chopped onions and tomatoes, garlic and ginger, salt, pepper, chili powder, turmeric powder, fresh green chilies, fresh coriander, and a few more ingredients, and with a crisp, brown outer surface and a soft inside, this is a simple and yet richly flavored and textured dish. Pora is usually eaten with buttered toast and a squeeze of lemon.
Find the recipe on Peri Spice Ladle.
Cornetto and cappuccino – Italy
Italy is one of those rare places where breakfast doesn’t seem to be particularly important. The first meal of the day here is a rather sparse one. The coffee seems to be the star of the meal – an espresso, cappuccino, or caffè latte – and it’s usually accompanied only by bread or pastry. The traditional bread/pastry option is a cornetto, which is the Italian version of the French croissant, usually softer, sweeter, and with less butter. At most cafes and bars in Italy, breakfast is a cornetto and a cappuccino; the other option is a pastry and an espresso, but this is less common.
Find the recipe on Silvia’s Cucina.
Khash – Armenia
Khash is a kind of Armenian soup – not just any old soup, but a festive delicacy in the winter. The soup is prepared by boiling cow’s or goat’s feet (sometimes along with the head and tripe) all through the night, with no salt or spices. In the morning, the resulting thick broth is served hot, and each person seasons it to their own taste, adding salt, garlic, and lemon juice, as well as peppers, radishes, greens, cheese, and dried, crumbled lavash.
Traditionally, a khash meal isn’t a mere breakfast, but a rather elaborate ceremony. There are a lot of conventions that go along with eating khash, including one that says that you should eat it only in months that have the letter ‘r’ in their name. One of the most important conventions, however, is accompanying it with vodka. The vodka drinking itself is accompanied by three traditional toasts and, usually, several more spontaneous toasts.
Another tradition, especially with “experienced” khash eaters, is to eat with their hands, separating the meat from the broth and using lavash as a sort of spoon. Many people also avoid eating dinner the previous night, so as to work up an appetite and ensure that they have enough belly space for a generous amount of khash. Clearly, this is a breakfast that requires a lot of time – to plan, to prepare, and to eat – and with all that vodka and toasting, it’s also a breakfast that you can indulge in only over the weekend.
Find the recipe on Ostarmenia.
Joke – Thailand
Here’s one more rice-based breakfast dish – this is a rice congee with pork meatballs and a few other variable ingredients. Rice congee is a kind of porridge or gruel that is popular in many parts of Asia, and there are many local variations of it. The Thai version is known as joke (sometimes spelled as chok), and is a popular street food. It’s been described as Thailand’s substitute for cornflakes and milk and is mostly eaten for breakfast. In addition to the pork meatballs, other elements that may be added to the congee include crispy fried noodles, chopped liver, chopped spring onions, garlic, ginger, pickles, a fried breadstick known as youtiao, and an egg. The egg is usually raw, and gets slightly cooked with the heat of the joke itself, after it has been served.
Find the recipe on Thai Table.
Chicharrón – Colombia and Peru
Chicharrón is a popular dish all over Spain and Latin America, but Colombia and Peru are the two main countries where it’s commonly found as a breakfast dish. The dish is a rather simple one, consisting of fried pork belly or pork skin/rind, with minimal seasoning. Skin or rind is the more traditional cut of meat that is used, but this is said to be trickier to cook, which is why many people choose to use pork belly instead. There are now also variations that use chicken, mutton, or beef. Purists tend to dismiss these variations, but the chicken skin option is a rather tasty one, even if it’s not 100% authentic or traditional. In Colombia, chicharrón is served with bollo limpio or bollo yuca, and in Peru, it is usually served on a baguette with relish, and sometimes with fried yuca too.
Find the recipe on Serious Eats.
Ful medames – Egypt
Ful medames (sometimes spelled as ful mudammas, as well as foule mudammes) is a dish that consists of fava beans with oil, seasoning, and garnish. It’s sometimes described as Egypt’s unofficial national dish, and is popular as a breakfast dish all over the country. The popularity of ful medames has spread to most of Egypt’s neighbors, including Sudan and Libya, and even as far as Saudi Arabia and Ethiopia, but Egypt is still the one place where you’ll find it everywhere, from street stalls to expensive restaurants.
It is said that the dish has a history going back all the way to the pharaohs, but again, this is probably just a popular legend. In any case, ful medames makes for a delicious, nutritious, hearty breakfast without being excessively rich or sleep-inducing. The beans are cooked – sometimes with onions, tomatoes, and garlic, and with seasonings such as cumin – salted, and served with accompaniments like olive oil, butter, tomato sauce, béchamel sauce, lemon juice, and fried or hard-boiled eggs. Doing the beans right is probably the trickiest part of the recipe. Traditionally, the cooking would be done in a pot that was buried in the ground, but of course this method is relatively uncommon today.
Find the recipe on Epicurious.
Katogo – Uganda
Katogo is a traditional breakfast dish in Uganda, a combination of several ingredients, of which the most common are bananas, beans, peanuts, and beef. The bananas are a specific local variety known as matoke, and the meat often includes offal, particularly tripe and sweetbreads. The offal is used to make a sauce known as byenda, in which the peeled bananas are cooked. Other ingredients include peas and greens, and substitutes for the bananas include Irish potatoes and sweet potatoes. Traditionally, katogo is eaten along with an assortment of steamed greens and fruit juice.
Find the recipe on Monitor.
What are your favourite breakfast recipes? Let us know in the comments!