Eat + Drink

8 Ways to Do Breakfast Around the World

It’s no secret Americans are big on breakfast, and have definite ideas about what foods belong on a morning menu.You might have to adjust your expectations if you’re traveling abroad. Luxury hotels generally offer buffets with a mix of European and local choices, so consider it an opportunity to expand your breakfast horizons. Here are nine local treats you’re likely to find on breakfast menus around the world.

  1. Japan: Traditional breakfasts in Japan contain many of the same foods you see at lunch. Rice plays a central role, sometimes topped with raw eggs or boiled fish. If you’re feeling adventurous, try natto, a pungent dish made from fermented soybeans.
  2. India: Their breakfast looks a lot like lunch. Favorites vary by region, but usually there’s a carb-y base like roti (flatbread) or idlis (steamed rice pancakes) served with dips and chutneys.
  3. Brazil: Here, a cup of coffee and a pão francês (French roll) with butter are the only pre-lunch essentials. You might find cheese and cold cuts (so you can make yourself a little sandwich) and fruit, especially papayas.
  4. France: The French stick with espresso and bread, most likely a slice of baguette spread with Nutella or jam. Or treat yourself to a perfect flaky, fresh-baked croissant with a steaming espresso.
  5. Saudi Arabia: Breakfast includes Arabian coffee or tea, plus a variety of foods on small plates. There’s usually bread (maybe naan) plus olives, cheeses and the Saudi version of scrambled eggs. Traditionally, plates are arranged on a plastic sheet spread on the floor, and diners use the bread to scoop up food instead of utensils.
  6. Australia: Given Britain’s influence on Aussie history and culture, it’s not surprising a classic breakfast in Brisbane looks a lot like breakfast in Bath, with eggs, tomatoes, baked beans and sausage. Add local flavor by topping your toast with Vegemite (a salty, yeast-based spread) instead of jam.
  7. South Africa: It’s an enormous continent and typical breakfast foods vary by region. In the north, you’re apt to be served continental spreads with Middle Eastern–influenced dishes like stews or porridge. Breakfast in South Africa is influenced by its history with Britain, and usually includes eggs, sausage, tomatoes and beans. In eastern and western African countries, beignets are served with a sweet, syrupy dip, and omelets with beans or fish might be on the menu as well.
  8. Iceland: Start a cold morning in Reykjavik with piping-hot oatmeal and strong coffee. Fish will probably be an option, and skyr, which is similar to thick yogurt, is an Icelandic breakfast staple.