We often save our culinary explorations for lunch or dinner. But breakfast should get a break too from our ordinary, domestic treatment. These breakfast traditions from across the globe are delicious, more exciting ways to start the day. So morning-meal makers, accept this challenge to look at your eggs, fruit, and grains in a new light.
1. Ethiopia: Teff Porridge with Honey and Dates
Tired of oatmeal? Try this whole grain, most commonly seen in fermented Ethiopian flatbread, to make a quick porridge. With dates and honey, it’s not only a nutritious meal full of iron and calcium, it’s more interesting. Get our Teff Porridge with Honey and Dates recipe.
2. France: French Ham and Cheese Quickbread
Gâteaux, or French rustic quick breads, fuses with the classic ham and cheese on baguette, and the result is a hearty, savory breakfast bread. To make this recipe even faster, pour the batter in a 12-well muffin pan. Get our French Ham and Cheese Quickbread recipe.
3. Thailand: Rice Congee with Pork Dumplings
This is the Bangkok street breakfast we often crave—we have fond memories of sitting on a plastic stool on some sidewalk, as the city lurches to life, eating warm, comforting rice porridge, garnished with fish sauce, chiles in vinegar, and a soft egg. The pork dumplings in this recipe are delicious and super easy. Get our Rice Congee with Pork Dumplings recipe.
4. United States: Joe’s Special
An old diner specialty from San Francisco, this is a scramble of eggs, ground beef, and spinach, as comforting at 7 in the morning as it as at midnight. Some food historians speculate that it might have been the specialty of Chinese-American short-order cooks, fusing Western scrambled eggs with classic Cantonese stir-fry. Get our Joe’s Special recipe.
5. Turkey: Menemen
Bring a bit of Istanbul to your breakfast table with menemen, a scramble of eggs, tomatoes, green peppers, and olive oil served in a copper pan with a side of good bread. Top it off with a soft feta cheese for extra-creamy effect.
Photo and recipe from Serious Eats
6. India: Parsi Pora (Parsi-Style Omelet)
The Serrano pepper and raw mango are optional in this traditional Indian omelet, but the chickpea flour isn’t. With fresh mint and cilantro, this could be your new favorite way to eat your morning eggs.
Photo and recipe from Peri's Spice Ladle
7. Vietnam: Pho
The broth-centric noodle soup called pho is breakfast to most Vietnamese. Unlike in Ho Chi Minh City, there are no street stalls in America to gather 'round at daybreak, but simmering your own pho at home is surprisingly simple.
Photo and recipe from Inspired Taste
8. Brazil: Açaí-Blueberry Smoothie
Açaí is a South American berry enjoying a lot of attention in recent years as a superfruit because of its antioxidant power. Brazilians often eat frozen, mashed açaí in smoothies or bowls topped with granola, other fruit, and agave syrup. Get our Açaí-Blueberry Smoothie recipe.
9. Hong Kong: Dim Sum
Contrary to popular belief, dim sum isn’t eaten for breakfast across China every day. It’s actually a specialty of the Guangdong Province, and a tradition full of small plates and dumplings (like har gow) to be savored with tea on weekends.
Photo and recipe from Rasa Malaysia
10. Northern China: Jian Bing
Breakfast is big in China, but at the same time, it’s almost always an on-the-go affair. Jian bing, or scallion- and chile-filled egg crêpes, do the trick.
Photo and recipe from La Fuji Mama
11. Mexico: Chilaquiles
Chilaquiles—crispy tortilla triangles simmered in red or green chile sauce, topped with crema, queso, and avocado, and often served with eggs—are one of Mexico’s greatest gifts to mankind. Get our Chilaquiles recipe.
12. Egypt: Ful Medames
Even if you can’t travel to Cairo right now, you can still indulge in one of Egypt’s famous morning pleasures: ful, or fava beans, mashed with olive oil and cumin, then topped with garlic, onion, lemon, and parsley. Serve it with hard-boiled eggs and pita on the side.
Photo and recipe from Saveur
13. Costa Rica: Gallo Pinto
In Costa Rica and Nicaragua, the first meal of favor is gallo pinto, a wholly comforting platter of white rice, red or black beans, garlic, and green bell peppers, accompanied by plantains or scrambled eggs on the side.
Photo and recipe from The Perfect Pantry
14. Tunisia-Israel: Shakshuka
You can enjoy this simple dish of eggs poached in spicy tomato sauce for breakfast or dinner, with pita or some sort of bread on the side. A North African dish originating in Tunisia, shakshuka has become so popular in Israel, it’s often referred to as a Middle Eastern Dish.
15. United Kingdom: Full Breakfast
In the UK and Ireland, a complete breakfast—also referred to as a fry-up—typically includes eggs, back bacon, and sausages, cooked mushrooms and tomatoes, baked beans, and toast with butter or fried bread. Opt for the blood-based black pudding as sausage, and wash everything down with a cup of tea.
Photo and recipe from Lavendar and Lovage; header image from Savvy Mom
Original story by Susannah Chen, updated by Amy Sowder