Congee | China
yipengge/istockphoto

40 Delicious Breakfasts from Around the World

View Slideshow
Congee | China
yipengge/istockphoto

Fresh Starts

In the United States, breakfast tends to be pretty similar wherever you go. At any restaurant, you'd expect to find the same types of dishes on the menu, like pancakes, eggs and bacon, with some minor regional variations. But, those aren't the foods people are used to all around the world. In other countries, you can expect to find a lot of soup, stews, beans, and plenty of porridge made from all kinds of grains. Each culture has its own norms for the morning meal, so expand your taste buds and check out some of these common breakfasts around the globe. (Beyond breakfast, here are 50 Fast-Food Menu Items You'll Only Find Abroad.)

Medialunas | Argentina
PfeifferV/istockphoto

Medialunas | Argentina

Medialunas are breakfast pastries that look similar to French croissants. They're a little smaller, and made with either butter or lard. The butter version is plump, soft and coated in a sticky sugar glaze, while the lard version is a little drier and not as sweet. They can be eaten with condiments like jams or dulce de leche, or plain with coffee or yerba mate, a traditional herbal tea.

Recipe: Pilar's Chilean Food & Garden

Pho | Vietnam
mariematata/istockphoto

Pho | Vietnam

You're probably familiar with Vietnamese pho, the beef or chicken-based clear soup filled with rice noodles, herbs, and meats. What you might not know is that it's actually most popular in the morning in Vietnam, in part because it's the coolest part of the day. You can buy it from open air vendors on the street, who usually rise in the wee hours of the morning to start their broth, if it doesn't simmer overnight. If you don't catch it for breakfast, it's becoming more and more common to eat it at night too as tastes in the country evolve.

Recipe: Serious Eats

Chilaquiles | Mexico
Latsalomao/istockphoto

Chilaquiles | Mexico

Chilaquiles are a popular Mexican breakfast, and they're made with staples of the cuisine. Corn tortillas are cut into chunks and lightly fried until they start getting crispy. Then they're heated in a skillet with salsa roja or salsa verde until they start to soften again. Crumbly fresh cheese, fried eggs, crema, avocado, and onions are often added on top. It's a great way to use up leftover tortillas and salsa from the night before.

Recipe: Pati Jinich

Shakshuka | Israel
JMichl/istockphoto

Shakshuka | Israel

Shashuka's history isn't known with certainty, but it probably came from North Africa to Israel, where it's most popular today. It's a quick-cooking tomato-based stew with mild peppers and spices like paprika and cumin. After cooking the vegetable mixture, eggs are cracked gently into it and left to cook, usually with the whites set and the yolks runny. It's often served with bread on the side for scooping it up.

Recipe: The Mediterranean Dish

Congee | China
yipengge/istockphoto

Congee | China

Prepared all over China and in other parts of Asia, congee is a simple rice porridge. It's made by cooking rice in a large amount of water or other liquid until the rice is very soft and it becomes a thick stew. It's eaten plain or topped with any number of things, from cooked meats to eggs, vegetables, or even sugar. Besides breakfast, it's also served to people who are ill or otherwise can't handle much food.

Recipe: Food & Wine

Kaya Toast | Singapore
jmkh/istockphoto

Kaya Toast | Singapore

Kaya toast is a popular snack in Singapore that's often served with coffee or tea, so it's particularly common at breakfast. It's incredibly simple: just kaya, a thick jam-like spread made with coconut milk, eggs and pandan leaf, and sometimes butter spread between two slices of toasted white bread. It was probably created by Hainanese immigrants as a local spin on British toast and jam. It's often served with a soft-boiled egg on the side.

Recipe: Rasa Malaysia

Full English | England
DronG/istockphoto

Full English | England

The full English breakfast, or "fry up" as it's often called, is not for the faint of heart. It's a huge meal consisting of fried eggs, sausage links, back bacon (as opposed to American-style bacon made from the belly), a slice of black pudding (a type of blood sausage), baked beans, fried mushrooms and tomato slices, and fried bread. It's served all over the U.K. with regional tweaks like oatcakes and haggis in Scotland.

Recipe: Culinary Ginger

Arepas
Juanmonino/istockphoto

Arepa | Colombia

Arepas are an iconic staple in Colombia with a history that dates back thousands of years.They're eaten for every meal, including breakfast and are made from ground corn. There are countless regional variations, so some arepas are thin, thick, soft, fluffy, or dense. One of the most common is a soft, thick corn cake cooked on a griddle, then topped with butter and crumbled fresh cheese. You can also find some stuffed with ham, eggs, or chicharron for breakfast. (For other Latin dishes you may have overlooked, check out these 23 Traditional Hispanic Foods Most Americans Don't Know About but Should.)

Recipe: Epicurious

Related: 19 Savory Pies From Around the World

Churros con Chocolate | Spain
Ana Iacob/istockphoto

Churros con Chocolate | Spain

You may be familiar with churros already, but the traditional Spanish churros are a little different than those eaten in the U.S. They're usually thinner and fried in a big spiral, and instead of rolling them in sugar, they get just a sprinkle, if any. They're most popular in cafes, and often served with a cup of hot chocolate — which is much thicker and richer than in the U.S. — for dipping.

Recipe: Spanish Sabores

Ackee and Saltfish | Jamaica
bonchan/istockphoto

Ackee and Saltfish | Jamaica

Ackee and saltfish is Jamaica's national dish, and chances are if you've ever vacationed there, you've heard about it. Ackee is a fruit that grows in tropical climates and was brought to the Caribbean from Ghana. To make the dish, ackee, either boiled or canned, is sauteed with saltfish (a type of preserved cod), along with onions, peppers, scotch bonnets, and tomatoes. It's usually served along with breadfruit, rice and peas, or fried plantains.

Recipe: Grace Foods

Syrniki | Russia
Ihor Smishko/istockphoto

Syrniki | Russia

Syrniki are Russian sweet cheese pancakes. They're made by mixing quark, a type of soft, mild farmer's cheese, with eggs, a little flour, sugar and sometimes vanilla, raisins, or other chopped fruit. The batter is browned on a griddle, but the inside of the pancake remains creamy and soft. They're usually served sweet and often with fruit or sour cream, but they are sometimes made with onions for a savory version.

Recipe: Natasha's Kitchen

Menemen | Turkey
scottiebumich/istockphoto

Menemen | Turkey

Eggs are popular for breakfast in Turkey, and especially when they're cooked in menemen. It's a one-pot dish of chopped or grated tomatoes, mild peppers, olive oil, and spices like Aleppo pepper mixed with lightly beaten eggs and cooked just until the eggs are set. It's usually served with, or scooped with, fresh bread. Adding onions to the mix is a hotly contested subject, with many arguing that onions turn it from a breakfast item to a later-in-the-day main dish.

Recipe: Serious Eats

Gallo Pinto | Nicaragua and Costa Rica
reisegraf/istockphoto

Gallo Pinto | Nicaragua and Costa Rica

Rice and beans are staple foods in Central America, so it only makes sense that one of the most popular breakfasts in both Nicaragua and Costa Rica is gallo pinto, which translates to "spotted rooster." Small red beans are cooked separately from rice, and then they're combined and fried together usually along with bell peppers, onions, other vegetables and seasonings. (And if you're looking for the distinctive Costa Rican flavor, don't forget the Salsa Lizano, an addictive condiment.)The result is a nutritious dish that is great on its own or can act as a side to other items.

Recipe: Eats by the Beach

Popara | Bulgaria
robynmac/istockphoto

Popara | Bulgaria

Popular in the Balkans, popara is a simple bread-based porridge. It was probably created to use up stale bread leftovers so nothing went to waste. It's made by heating liquid, which can be water, milk, or even brewed tea, with chunks of stale or toasted bread. Soft, fresh farmers cheese similar to feta is sometimes crumbled and added, or a slightly sweet version is made by adding sugar.

Recipe: Instructables

Upma | India
vm2002/istockphoto

Upma | India

Popular in southern India, upma is a breakfast dish made with semolina. Unlike the Cream of Wheat porridge that Americans are usually familiar with, the semolina for upma is dry roasted first, and then cooked until it can hold its shape. It's generally flavored with cumin and mustard seeds, onions, chiles, nuts, and lemon for a simple but flavorful dish.

Recipe: Veg Recipes of India

Genfo | Ethiopia
Teferi Kassa/istockphoto

Genfo | Ethiopia

Genfo is a simple porridge made of only a few ingredients, but it's unlike a lot of other porridges on this list. It's generally made with barley or wheat flours, not whole grains, and it's mixed and stirred with water continuously as it cooks for a long period of time. That turns it into a smooth, thick and slightly sticky dough. It's seasoned with salt, and then formed into a ring on the communal serving plate. The hole in the middle is filled with clarified butter and bright red berbere spices. To eat it, pinch off a small piece and dip it into the spicy well in the center.

Recipe: How to Cook Great Ethiopian Food

Tapsilog | Philippines
raksybH/istockphoto

Tapsilog | Philippines

Tapsilog is a portmanteau word that combines three things into one breakfast dish: a sliced beef dish called tapa, garlic fried rice called sinangag, and a fried egg, or itlog. Tapa is the centerpiece of the meal, and traditionally it used cured or dried beef, though now it's often made with fresh beef and seasonings like oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar and garlic.

Recipe: This Delicious Side

Oatmeal
Brent Hofacker/shutterstock

Puuro | Finland

Purro means porridge in Finnish, and it's one of the most commonly eaten breakfast dishes in the country. It's usually made with rolled oats and similar to America's typical oatmeal with water or milk, but also commonly made with barley, rye, or semolina. It's generally not made sweetened, but jam, fruit, butter and sugar are typical toppings that get stirred in. It's hearty and warming to get you through the dark, cold winter mornings.

Recipe: The Atlantic

Nasi lemak | Malaysia
gahsoon/istockphoto

Nasi lemak | Malaysia

Though nasi lemak can be found in many neighboring countries, it's most closely associated with Malaysia, where it is considered the national dish. The centerpiece of the dish is rice, which is cooked with coconut milk and pandan leaf, giving it a distinct fragrant, floral aroma. It's served with sambal, a thick condiment made with chiles, along with dried anchovies and eggs. Because the base of the dish is a simple rice, there are many regional variations to the toppings, including with Indian-style curry or fish cakes.

Recipe: Rasa Malaysia

Haleem | Iran
highviews/istockphoto

Haleem | Iran

Haleem is a type of porridge made with meat and served most often at breakfast. It's created by cooking lamb or turkey with pelted wheat (pelted means the outer bran has been removed, making it softer) until both things break down into a creamy, thick, and somewhat elastic stew. Nowadays, instead of cooking all night, the mixture is often pureed before serving. Cinnamon and sugar are often sprinkled on top for a savory, rich and sweet combo.

Recipe: Taste Cooking

Mohinga | Myanmar
Andrei Kravtsov/istockphoto

Mohinga | Myanmar

Considered by many to be Myanmar's national dish, mohinga is a fish-based stew served mostly in the mornings from street vendors all over the country. The broth is flavored with lemongrass, ginger, fish sauce, and turmeric, and thickened slightly with roasted rice powder. Rice noodles, shredded catfish, hard boiled eggs, and lime wedges are almost always included in the bowl.

Recipe: Food Republic

Lablabi (with the egg option) in a Tunis restaurant
Lablabi (with the egg option) in a Tunis restaurant by Habib M’henni (CC BY-SA)

Lablabi | Tunisia

Another breakfast soup, lablabi is filled with tender chickpeas in a thin broth. It's flavored with onions, cumin, garlic and lemon, and comes with a variety of garnishes that eaters can add to their bowls, including briny capers, harissa, olive oil and lemon wedges for squeezing. It's usually ladled over top of slices of stale or toasted bread that quickly soak up the broth.

Recipe: Food 52

Pastel de Nata | Portugal
tataks/istockphoto

Pastel de Nata | Portugal

The origin of Portugal's famous egg custard tarts is an interesting one: Monks and nuns as early as the 16th century used egg whites as a laundry aid, so they created the tarts to use up the leftover yolks. The small, round and creamy tarts flavored with cinnamon have become a local obsession for breakfast or snacks. They're baked in a hot oven, so the top of the custard develops distinctive black spots.

Recipe: Bon Appetit

Vegemite on Toast | Australia
Ben185/istockphoto

Vegemite on Toast | Australia

Vegemite is a commercially produced spread that's best known for being very polarizing — people either love it or hate it. It was developed in Australia in 1922, so most Australians are fond of it, especially on toast in the morning. It's a dark, thick and savory spread made from leftover brewers yeast extract and vegetables. It's very salty and strong, so if you decide to try it, only scrape a thin layer on your toast, especially the first time.

Jianbing | China
Larry Zhou/istockphoto

Jianbing | China

Jianbing is a street food found all over China. It's said to have been created almost 2,000 years ago when an army that lost its woks needed to be fed. To make it, vendors spread a paper thin layer of crepe dough on a griddle, then crack an egg on top and spread it around. It gets a sprinkle of cilantro and pickles, smears of hoisin sauce and chili paste, and a filling of lettuce and crunchy fried wontons. It's then folded up into a portable package of varying textures and flavors.

Recipe: Food.com

Idli | India
Lisha_ved/istockphoto

Idli | India

In many parts of India, especially in the south, idli are eaten for breakfast. They're soft, round disks made from rice and dal (lentils). The ingredients are soaked, ground into a paste, and then fermented until the batter rises like bread dough. When it's ready to be cooked, it's poured into trays and steamed to make the idli fluffy and light. They're always served with something on the side for dipping since they're rather plain, usually sambar, a kind of soup, or chutneys.

Recipe: Indian Healthy Recipes

Hagelslag | Netherlands
Merinka/istockphoto

Hagelslag | Netherlands

Sprinkles are what's for breakfast in the Netherlands, and they're just as popular with adults as children. Back in 1919, hagelslag were invented by the head of a licorice company with a name that means "hailstorm." They're eaten by sprinkling an even, solid layer on top of buttered toast. Chocolate is the most popular now, but they come in all sorts of flavors, like fruits and anise, and different colors for various holidays.

Related: Traditional Christmas Dishes Around the World

Ful Medames | Egypt
ALLEKO/istockphoto

Ful Medames | Egypt

Ful medames is a traditional breakfast dish that's still widely popular in Egypt, even though it dates back thousands of years. Remnants of the dish have been found in ancient tombs, and thanks to its simplicity, probably not much has changed since that batch was made. Fava beans are stewed slowly with oil, cumin, onions, lemon, and other seasonings. It's often garnished with hardboiled eggs and fresh parsley.

Recipe: Serious Eats

Baianas de Acarajé
Wikimedia Commons

Akara | Nigeria

Akara is a type of fried bean cake made from ground black-eyed peas. Besides breakfast, it's traditional to serve it in large quantities when an elder dies in some Nigerian tribes. The smashed beans are mixed with onions and salt, and then deep fried to form a golden, crispy exterior. Because of the slave trade, it's also a popular dish in parts of Brazil.

Recipe: All Nigerian Recipes

Smorgas | Sweden
Edalin/istockphoto

Smorgas | Sweden

In Swedish, smorgas means sandwich, and a smorgasbord is a buffet of sandwiches, not the catch-all term for a variety of food as it's used in the U.S. At breakfast, open-faced sandwiches are the norm, and there's often a variety of breads and ingredients laid out to make your own. Rye bread or crispbread like crackers are common, which are then often spread with butter and topped with smoked salmon, small shrimp, cucumbers, cheese, dill, and caviar that comes in a tube.

Halwa Puri | Pakistan
Arundhati Sathe/istockphoto

Halwa Puri | Pakistan

Halwa puri is made up of two different things. Puri is a type of wheat flour-based deep-fried bread that puffs up as it cooks and becomes flaky and soft. It's served with halwa, a sweet, thick porridge made from semolina, honey or sugar, and often nuts or dried fruit. Those are the two essential components to this popular morning meal, but dishes like chana masala and chutneys are often served with them for a heartier meal.

Recipe: Fauzia's Kitchen Fun

Baguette and Croissant | France
mediaphotos/istockphoto

Baguette and Croissant | France

Breakfast in France is a simple affair. Usually, there's some sort of bread, along with spreads like butter and jam, plus coffee and juice. The two most popular breakfast breads are baguette and croissant, and they're the two items that boulangeries take the most pride in making well. Croissants are flaky and crisp on the outside, and rarely need anything spread on them considering they're made with so much butter, while crunchy, chewy baguette usually gets a swipe of butter and jam. Sometimes simple is the best.

Pão de Queijo | Brazil
YES BRASIL/istockphoto

Pão de Queijo | Brazil

Little cheese buns called pão de queijo are available everywhere around Brazil, and they're especially popular in the morning and as an all-day snack. They're made with cassava instead of wheat flour, likely because it was much easier to grow in Brazil and more readily available in the past. A type of cow's milk cheese similar to parmesan called Minas is mixed into the dough and they bake up soft, airy and chewy.

Recipe: King Arthur Flour

Mielie Meal
Mielie Meal by Aleph500Adam (CC BY-SA)

Mealie Pap | South Africa

Loved by all kinds of South Africans because it's easy to make and inexpensive, mealie pap is a porridge made from ground white maize, similar to grits. Depending on how much water or milk you use, the result will either be soft like porridge or firmer, like a dumpling. For breakfast, it's usually made thinner and topped with syrup, milk, sugar or butter.

Recipe: Yahoo

A variety of Scottish scones
A variety of Scottish scones by Dave souza (CC BY-SA)

Tattie Scones | Scotland

Tattie scones are potato scones, but they're probably not like the kind of scone you're imagining. They're thin and look more like pancakes, and are made primarily of mashed potatoes with only a little flour and egg holding them together. The dough is pressed into rounds and then cut into wedges. They can be eaten like other scones with jam or clotted cream, tucked into a roll for a breakfast sandwich with eggs or meat, or serve as part of a full Scottish breakfast.

Recipe: Extra Crispy

Msemen | Morocco
PicturePartners/istockphoto

Msemen | Morocco

Msemen is a traditional flatbread made from wheat flour. It's rolled out and folded in a way that the end result is square. Butter and semolina are spread between the layers so they stay separate after cooking on a griddle, resulting in a flaky, chewy bread. They're usually served with honey and mint tea for breakfast, or they can be stuffed with a meat filling for a substantial snack.

Recipe: My Moroccan Food

Rice, Miso Soup, Fish | Japan
helovi/istockphoto

Rice, Miso Soup, Fish | Japan

There isn't one particular item that is most common for breakfast in Japan, but a meal of rice, miso soup and a protein typical. Often, a raw egg is cracked over and mixed with the rice. A simple miso soup with dashi broth accompanies it, and the protein is often simply cooked fish like salmon, eggs, natto, or tofu. Depending on the size of the meal, other sides are often included, like pickled vegetables and nori.

Recipe: The Spruce Eats

Cured Meats, Cheese, and More | Germany
golero/istockphoto

Cured Meats, Cheese, and More | Germany

Traditional breakfasts in Germany include lots of components, similar to a Swedish smorgasbord. There's always rolls or brown breads along with butter and jam, and plenty of sliced ham, salami and cheese for layering on the breads. Soft boiled eggs, juices, and fruit are often included too, making for a real morning spread.

Muesli | Switzerland
Tassii/istockphoto

Muesli | Switzerland

Though muesli is available all over Europe now, it was invented in Switzerland by Maximilian Oskar Bircher-Benner in the early 20th century as a health food for patients in his hospital. It was originally intended to be eaten at every meal, but has become synonymous with breakfast. The initial recipe contained oats, nuts and fruit, and today's commercially produced products aren't much different.

Recipe: Cookie + Kate

Banchan | Korea
Pinkybird/istockphoto

Banchan | Korea

Koreans don't traditionally have specific foods only eaten at breakfast. Like their other meals throughout the day, breakfast usually includes rice, stews and soups, meat dishes, and what's called banchan, or countless little bowls of side dishes. Many of them will contain kimchi, or fermented vegetables, in all its endless forms, and things like spicy cucumbers, wilted spinach, and salad-like vegetable dishes. It's a veritable feast to start the day.

Recipe: FutureDish