To say that we have a big breakfast culture here in Australia would be a massive understatement. Not only are some of our most iconic foods breakfast staples (vegemite and weet-bix, anyone?) but it’s now almost as common to meet your girlfriends for brekkie or brunch than drinks. Yep, breakfast is definitely a ‘thing’ here and we do it damn well. In fact, we almost have too much choice when it comes to ordering brekkie at a cafe. Oh, you want eggs—do you want them scrambled, fried, poached, Benedict, baked or sunny side up? Which one of our 10 milk varieties would you like in your coffee? Do you want your avo smashed or straight?
We get so accustomed to the way we do breakfast that it can be a bit of a culture shock when we head somewhere different. Every place has its own unique breakfast culture, influenced by its traditional customs and local foods. So, whether you want to shake up your brekkie or are looking to be prepared for your next trip abroad, here’s how 9 different cultures around the world do breakfast.
How 9 different cultures do breakfast
A traditional breakfast in Japan is possibly the furthest you could get from your typical Western breakfast. It normally consists of grilled fish, rice, miso soup and natto—fermented soy beans. That said, you can sometimes find things like pancakes, ham (generally not bacon) and eggs in some Japanese cafes—albeit in much smaller portions than what we’re used to.
In some ways, American breakfasts are quite similar to ours. They usually feature things like bacon, eggs, pancakes and waffles. However, they tend to keep things a bit simpler—you’re less likely to find elaborate banana ricotta hotcakes or smashed avo with feta and kale. Oh, and their bacon is helluva lot crispier, too!
German breakfasts are an absolute dream for people who like to have a little bit of everything. Called a Frühstück, it generally consists of everything from pretzels, bread and pastries to eggs, cheeses and cold cut meats. Wurst (sausage), cereal and museli are other common fixtures.
The traditional English breakfast isn’t too different to those in Australia or the States, but there are some other very important additions. No fry-up would be complete without sausages, baked beans and black pudding! It’s also not uncommon to find people enjoying marmalade on toast for brekkie and more often than not, this will be washed down with an English Breakfast tea.
While Chinese breakfasts vary from region to region, you’re likely to find meals like Zhōu (a rice porridge dish, otherwise known as Congee), dim sims and dumplings. Another popular breakfast dish is Crollers (or You Tiao) which are like Chinese fried Churros, often served with warm soy milk.
It’s no secret that crossiants and coffee are the typical go-to breakfast in France. However, some other popular staples are tartine (baguette sliced lengthways and served with butter and jam) cereal and milk and pain au chocolat. Despite being rather carb-centric, breakfast is kept quite simple and the portions are conservative.
Much like in China, Indian breakfasts vary greatly depending on the region. But generally, it’s quite similar to what is eaten for lunch—things like roti (flatbread), dosas (thin crepes made with lentils) and idlis (steamed rice-dough pancakes), served with different dips and chutneys.
The types of things you’d normally think of when you think Mexican food—beans, salsa and tortillas—are common in their breakfast dishes. However, these are often paired with egg, such as in dishes like Huevos Rancheros and breakfast burritos. Another common Mexican breakfast is Chiliaquiles—fried corn tortilla chips topped with green or red salsa (or mole) eggs, pulled chicken, cheese and refried beans.
The typical Swedish breakfast (known as a frukost) is kept quite light— a simple porridge or museli, a smörgås (open faced sandwich) or crackers served with a range of cheeses, cold cuts and sometimes, caviar and pickled herring. However, it’s not uncommon in Sweden to forgo breakfast and hold on for a mid-morning Fika—a coffee break often accompanied by pasties.