12 classic breakfasts from around the world

This is how people start their day, from India to Brazil.

Press Association
Last updated: 5 August 2018 - 12.35pm

Breakfast is considered to be the most important meal of the day, so it’s no wonder we spend so much time thinking about it

Typical breakfasts vary hugely from country to country, so we’ve taken a look at some of our favourite ways to start the day. Obviously the French love a pastry, and everyone knows what a full English is, but what about the countries with delicious breakfasts you might not have heard of?

We’re by no means saying everyone in these countries eats the exact dish we’ve picked out every day. Of course, different breakfasts might be popular in different areas, but these are just some common dishes from countries around the world.

Chances are they will want to make you upgrade your soggy cereal.

1. Brazil

Brazilians definitely know how to please a crowd. Their classic breakfast item of pao de queijo ticks all the boxes: cheese and bread. They’re small baked cheese rolls, who wouldn’t love that?

2. Bulgaria

Bulgarian food doesn’t generally have a reputation for being particularly light, so don’t expect the country’s popular breakfast of banitsa to be any different.

Its simple: eggs and cheese whisked together, layered between filo pastry and baked. It can be eaten either hot or cold, and is often served with yoghurt.

3. Colombia

Arepas are a big deal in Colombia, and if you try one, you’ll see why. They are essentially corn cakes, made with ground corn meal. They can be filled with almost anything – from meat or eggs, to cheese or even chocolate (depending on whether you fancy something sweet first thing).

4. India

India is such a vast country that cuisine hugely varies from region to region. Take the state of Punjab – here parathas are particularly popular for breakfast. Parathas are a type of fried flatbread you can have either plain or stuffed. For example, methi parathas have finely chopped fenugreek mixed into the dough, and aloo parathas are stuffed with potatoes.

They’re traditionally served with yoghurt and mango or lime pickle. Parathas are popular across northern India, but you will likely encounter other dishes elsewhere in the country – for example, dosas (thin crepes made from lentils) are more common in the south.

5. Israel

Thanks to its increasing prominence on brunch menus, shakshuka is no doubt a familiar dish to many people. It’s a staple in Arab and Israeli cuisines, with “shakshouka” literally meaning “a mixture” in Arabic. It is a combination of eggs, tomatoes, chilli, onion and spices all baked together. It’s a simple dish to make yourself at home.

6. Kenya

Who wouldn’t want doughnuts for breakfast?! Luckily for Kenyans, this is what would be on the menu for a typical breakfast – particularly in the coastal regions. Mandazis are a type of deep-fried doughnut that are less sweet than the ones you’re probably used to, and are shaped a little bit like a samosa.

7. Lebanon

One of the most popular breakfasts in Lebanon are manakish – round flatbreads covered with spice mix zaatar, olive oil and baked. They’re so well-loved you’ll find dedicated bakeries for them all over the country. They’re often considered a Lebanese pizza and are cheap and quick to prepare, making them a winner of a breakfast.

8. The Netherlands

Believe it or not, a hugely popular breakfast in the Netherlands is actually bread, butter and chocolate sprinkles. In Dutch the word for sprinkles is “hagelslag”. We’re not sure how nutritious they are, but they’re definitely tasty and incredibly easy to whip up. Australians will recognise this dish as fairy bread, which is commonly served at children’s parties instead of with your morning cup of coffee.

9. Pakistan

In Pakistan, many people start their day with halwa poori. It’s essentially a plate full of Pakistani delights, and normally includes: deep fried bread, potato and chickpea curries, mango pickle, yoghurt and some kind of halwa – a type of confectionary.

10. The Philippines

Fun fact alert: The “silog” that is a favourite Filipino breakfast is actually the marriage of two different words. “Sinangag” means fried rice and “itlog” means egg. This pretty much sums it up: it’s fried rice with egg, and will often have other elements added to jazz things up a bit. For example, “longsilog” adds “longganisa” into the mix, which means sausage in English.

11. Russia

In Russia, you are likely to have an open sandwich with a bit of cheese or meat if you are in a hurry in the morning. However, if you have the luxury of a bit more time on your hands, a typical Russian might make syrniki.

Syrniki are pancakes made using cottage cheese, and are popular across eastern Europe. As with normal pancakes, toppings depend on your tastes, whether it’s sour cream, jam or honey.

12. South Africa

Putu pap is like a type of porridge, but probably not as you know it. In South Africa, it is made with cornmeal and very little liquid, meaning its texture is quite dry and crumbly. For breakfast, it would normally be served with sugar and butter, but can also be a side dish at dinner with gravy poured on top.

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