Whether it’s fried dough sticks with warm soya milk as enjoyed in China, a smorgasbord of cold meats, pickles and cheese in Turkey or a full meaty English, the first meal of the day sets you up for what lies ahead…
Southern European breakfasts tend to be leisurely: in Greece, pancakes (tiganites) are served with tahini and grape molasses (petimezi), or round pastries (koulori) topped with sesame seeds.
In Turkey, too, a sesame seed-strewn bagel (simit) partners a glass of Turkish tea, or menemen, soft scrambled eggs in a spicy tomato sauce. At weekends enjoy a spread of cheeses, fruit, tomatoes, olives, bread and spicy sucuk sausage.
Eggs feature worldwide, from soft boiled with soldiers to a fried egg on top of rice. Across North Africa, shakshuka – eggs cooked in a pan and mixed with onions, peppers, tomato paste and often harissa – provide a spicy start.
A Colombian breakfast is nutritious and hearty: arepa (slightly sweet corn cakes) are fried in oil, slit open and filled with eggs, salsa and cream or butter and jam, or topped with eggs and meat.
Soup to start? Brazilians often enjoy a hearty breakfast of feijoada, a thick soup made with black beans and different meats.
A full English is a meaty affair: bacon, grilled or fried, sausages, eggs any way you like and tomatoes. Optional extras include black pudding, baked beans and fried bread. The big question is: ketchup or HP?
In southern India, breakfast includes chutneys, dips, and breads like dosa, roti or idli – a savoury cake of black lentils and rice. In the north, carbs are king with poori masala: mashed potatoes, veggies, and spices, served with fried bread.
Breakfast is a regional affair, but fried dough sticks ("yutiao") and warm soy milk is beloved by millions. Taking things up a notch, dim sum and hot, porridge-like congee are also popular.
Coffee and Italy are synonymous, and many Italians kick off with a quick cappuccino (mornings only: never after a meal) and a type of brioche.
In the land of the rising sun breakfast means miso soup, steamed white rice, pickled vegetables and proteins like fish and Japanese omelettes (tamagoyaki).
Pancakes rule the roost. Russians enjoy cheese-stuffed syrniki fritters topped with ham, cream, honey and butter, or blinis made with kefir.
Keep things simple: a Spanish desayuno is often pan con tomate (toast with grated tomato spread) or churros – chocolate sauce optional.
Robust meals are the order of the day: try haleem — a rich stew made from wheat, lentils, meat, and spices that sounds more like a dinner dish.
In Malaysia, nasi lemak is a comfort food kind of wake-up call: rice cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaves served with garnishes.
Here, a favourite is pho ga – noodle soup with chicken and herbs – or sautéed minced beef served with fried eggs and a crunchy banh mi baguette.
Call it kaya toast: thin, soft white bread flattened and toasted then sandwiched with a slab of butter and kaya jam, made from coconut, pandan and palm sugar. Nutritious it’s not; delicious, it is.
After more yummy breakfast ideas? We’ve plenty that’ll set you up for the day.