Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And no matter what studies and research might say (Will it help you lose weight? Or make you put on the kilos) this morning meal is enjoyed in one way or another in countries all around the world.
In European countries like Spain, France and Italy, the first meal of the day is a quick piece of bread or pastry, and strong coffee. Meanwhile, in Thailand, breakfast is a sweeping event that crowds the table just as much as dinner.
Here are some typical breakfast options around the world. Just add coffee or tea.
Fijians love their pancake called saparaki or babakau with syrup made up of freshly squeezed lemon juice and sugar. This is accompanied by rice cooked in lolo (fresh coconut milk). Boiled ripe vudi (plantain) with tea is also popular. Fijian topoi, which is similar to Chinese dumplings, and lolo buns are an indulgence. Fried tapioca (cassava) with tea makes for a quick and tasty breakfast snack. A hot cup of lemongrass (coboi) tea or masala tea helps wash it all down.
Best place to have it: The Ocean Terrace at the Westin Fiji Resort & Spa, Danaru, serves all the traditional Fijian dishes along with chilled champagne and an awe-inspiring view to boot.
Like most European countries, the first meal of the day usually is a quick piece of bread or pastry, and strong coffee. In Flanders, too, things are no different. Varieties of cheese, bread, muffins and, of course, Belgian waffles rule the taste buds of the Flemish, apart from the delicious cold cuts and sausages available in plenty across cities.
Best place to have it: The luxurious tearoom at Wittamer in Brussels comes with not just a stellar breakfast, but also a stunning view of Sablon. Don’t miss the pepper pralines, delicious cakes, tartlets, and ice creams. Even the royal family of Belgium is a fan of their chocolates.
Thais are serious about food and that includes breakfast. They usually start off the meal with a heavy dish that includes one important ingredient, rice! Joke or rice porridge with marinated minced pork and a soft-boiled egg has been a Thai breakfast staple for decades. Kai krata, pan-fried eggs, shares the same popularity. This instant energy-booster comes topped with peas, sweet sausage and pork. It’s the most favourite Thai way of having eggs in the morning. Patongo, a Chinese doughnut, is an absolute breakfast must-have. Imagine churros, but not as crispy. It’s dipped in condensed milk or dunked in hot coffee.
Best Place to have it: You really can’t choose a better location than So Sofitel, Hua hin for a truly soul-satisfying breakfast in Thailand. The artistically designed hotel is just a few blocks from the waterfront, and the enormous breakfast spread is a microcosm of Thailand’s buzzy food scene.
Breakfast in Bahrain in an elaborate affair with dishes such as balaleet, a sweet vermicelli dish topped with an omelet, and baydh tomat, eggs scrambled with crushed fresh tomatoes. Bahrainis also love their nikhee, which is a dish made up of chickpeas fried in a special sauce. Alo Chab or fried potato kebabs are a constant, as also khubz tannoor, a traditional Bahraini flatbread. And no breakfast is complete without chai haleeb — tea brewed in fresh milk and flavoured with cardamom.
Best place to have it: Saffron by Jena in Muharraq, nestled among traditional houses, souks, and ancient forts, offers a lovely atmosphere to tuck in the specialties. Do check out the traditional Bahraini date press or madbasa that has been preserved under the floor of the restaurant.
Breakfast in Italy is not a huge meal like it is elsewhere. Home-cooked ones usually include espresso, milk, dunking biscuits or bread, fresh fruit, or juice. Breakfast at a neighbourhood café is either cappuccino and croissant, or a simple espresso, freshly squeezed orange juice, and perhaps a savoury sandwich.
Best place to have it: If you are in Rome, check out La Bottega del Caffè in Monti, which overlooks Piazza della Madonna dei Monti. Simply enjoy a Cornetto, or go for a more wholesome breakfast of fresh fruit with yogurt or an omelet. If you feel like a cup of tea, it will be accompanied by delicious homemade biscuits free of charge.
Cambodia’s quintessential breakfast dish is num banh chok, simply called Khmer noodles. This simple soup bowl is made with of fresh rice noodles with a subtle curry made from locally caught Tonle Sap fish. Another one of Cambodia’s most popular breakfasts is the rice porridge bobor. It’s often had with fried fish. The Cambodian coffee is bitter and highly caffeinated. To offset the bitterness and cater to the Cambodian sweet tooth, it’s served with sweetened condensed milk or ‘black’ with several heaping spoonfuls of sugar, usually over ice.
Best place to have it: The Khmer breakfast at the Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf & Spa Resort in Siem Reap is humungous and cooked by chefs who bring their family recipes to use. The taste is authentic and the spread hearty.
An Israeli breakfast is a feast made up of a variety of cheeses, salads and breads. Freshly made hummus, baba ganoush, pickled fish, olives (in various colours and shades of green to black) and flakey bourekas find pride of place on the breakfast table. And no breakfast is complete without shakshouka — eggs cooked in a stewed tomato sauce with plenty of garlic and spices, and served in its cast-iron pan. The accompanying side of the bread is perfect to wipe up that glorious shakshouka swamp.
Best place to eat it: Benedict in Tel Aviv is a breakfast haven. Popularly known for its signature egg preparations, the outpost serves breakfast 24/7.
A typical New Zealand breakfast consists of cereal (especially the iconic Weet-bix for kids) and some toast, which is accompanied by a cup of coffee, tea or a glass of juice or milk. A weekend indulgence could include scrambled eggs, bacon, cooked tomatoes, mushrooms, hash browns and baked beans. It’s easy to want to skip lunch after such a big breakfast.
Best place to have it: Main street — Kingsland, Auckland. It’s a wonderful spot for great coffee and tasty salads. The courtyard here is a particularly restful spot; there’s a yoga studio upstairs.