Travelers going to Japan dream of sushi and sake, and someone en route to Italy probably can’t wait for that first slurp of pasta. But breakfast, though humble, is still steeped in history and culture. Better still, in many countries you can eat as well in the a.m. as you can in the afternoon.
By Chris Malloy, CNTraveler.com
FULL IRISH BREAKFAST
Bacon, fried eggs, black pudding (blood sausage), white pudding (blood sausage minus the blood), fried tomatoes, and soda bread could make up an Irish breakfast. The components vary based on where in Ireland you’re eating. Usually, this hefty plate comes with a glass of juice or mug of tea. It isn’t uncommon, however, especially in pubs, to wash all of this down with a Guinness.
The Lebanese (and other people in the Middle East) strain yogurt for added thickness, to the point that it isn’t quite yogurt anymore. It’s labneh, and it’s on the breakfast menu. Drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with mint, paired with olives and cucumbers, the creamy meal takes on a savory disguise that seems unusual but tastes refreshing.
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MISO SOUP, RICE, PICKLES
Like eggs, miso soup doesn’t take long to cook—which makes it a great breakfast food. Miso soup—at its most basic, a blend of miso (fermented bean paste) and dashi (stock)—anchors the traditional Japanese breakfast. The soup can be salty or sweet depending on the miso, and loaded with veggies or other additions depending on the cook’s imagination.
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Kasha porridge, made from long-cooked wheat (often buckwheat), has been a popular breakfast in Russia for centuries. It isn’t flashy, but it does the job, especially if you’re in need of a warm, home-style meal on a cold day. Additions such as salt, butter, sugar, and raisins raise the feel-good factor.
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Now common in much of the U.S., this ranch-style meal is pretty much your standard egg breakfast, but with Mexican accents. Eggs come not with toast, but resting on tortillas (with salsa spread under or on top of the eggs). If you’re lucky, there will also be melted cheese and some kind of meat, like chorizo. Add beans and rice, and you’ve got enough food for the whole day.
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The spreadable yeast extract is hugely popular down under, and many Aussies begin their days with a slathering of Vegemite on toast. The taste: like the smell of yeast fermenting in water, like a heady blast of salt. But it’s iconic.
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This milk-white rice porridge isn’t much to look at, but you’ll usually find pork, fish, duck—or just about anything, really—buried inside. To make the dish, rice gets a simmer until it all but dissolves. Congee is common not only in China, but also across East and Southeast Asia. In China, people view congee as a curative food, kind of like chicken soup, but it’s (usually) for breakfast.
COFFEE, FRUIT, PASTRIES
Italians take light breakfasts to save up for big lunches—who can blame them? But you’d have to blame yourself for missing breakfast when in Rome, because that light morning meal is a good one. A Sicilian orange is worth its weight in pasta. So is an Italian apricot or plum. And nothing will ready you more for a full day better than a thick, cream-headed espresso.
Photo: Susan Wright/Alamy
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