Breakfast around the world

Caldo de costilla
Caldo de costillo is a typical breakfast in Colombia, especially Bogota

It’s always interesting to see what people in different parts of the world consider normal or acceptable options for breakfast.
Growing up in Southern Africa, breakfast for me usually followed the standard of our colonisers, the British.
We would usually have either cereal or toast or a cooked breakfast of bacon and eggs on the weekend.

easy like
Breakfast with the Sunday papers, Johannesburg, South Africa

More traditional options also included maize meal porridge served with milk and sugar or syrup.
But being African and much more liberal when it comes to food choices and combinations, we could also just as easily fry up a steak or warm up the previous night’s curry for our morning meal.
Pretty much anything went, however even within this liberalism, there are still a lot of things that just seem very alien and even wrong for me in the morning.

Steak, egg and avocado, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Steak, egg and avocado, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Of course there’s no “right” or “wrong” when it comes to what you can eat at a given time of day. It all boils down to what we’re used to or what we’ve been conditioned to believing is right.
While at university in London whenever I stayed over at my Indian friend’s house, we would start the day with flatbreads and pickles.

The salty taste of Marmite is a standard in former British colonies, and most people either love it or hate it. There is very little in between
The salty taste of Marmite is a standard in former British colonies, and most people either love it or hate it. There is very little in between

When confronted for the first time with a Japanese breakfast of grilled fish, rice, salad, I thought “gross! Who eats fish for breakfast?” But once I tried it and became more comfortable and open-minded, it actually became one of the most delicious ways to set the day rolling.

Rice cakes with peanut butter is one of my favourite breakfast or snack options
Rice cakes with peanut butter is one of my favourite breakfast or snack options

Incidentally, while discussing breakfast options with a Japanese friend who expressed dismay at the idea of a mere bowl of cereal in the morning, I discovered that a lot of Japanese people consider cereal as dessert, and might even have a bowl of branflakes or rice crispies to round off their fish, miso soup, rice and pickled veg set.
Cut across back to Europe, and I remember my first time in Paris at age sixteen turning my nose up at the “continental breakfast”, which to me just looked like a bit of dry bread.
The French, on the other hand, might look down their noses at us philistines spreading butter and jam on our croissants in a Parisian hotel.

The perfect setting for toast, eggs, fruit and coffee
The perfect setting for toast, eggs, fruit and coffee – Cali, Colombia

What about the Brazilians eating cake for breakfast? Well actually, come to think of it we do the same in many other countries. We just call them muffins, which really is just cake in a different form, isn’t it? We just trick ourselves into feeling better about the fact that we’re eating cake for breakfast by calling them muffins.

The Colombians drop cheese into hot chocolate  and then eat it melted
The Colombians drop cheese into hot chocolate and then eat it melted

Despite having been offered noodles in Indonesia, grilled fish and smelly fermented beans (natto) in Japan and mango pickle in India, I still get surprised every now and then.

Changua is a milky broth with eggs and bread floating in it typically served around Colombia
Changua is a milky broth with eggs and bread floating in it typically served around Colombia

The server in a Colombian restaurant got me stumped when she told me I could not order the bowl of soup I wanted for supper as it was only served in the mornings.
I thought she was crazy as the picture on the menu of a big chunk of meat and potatoes in a steaming hot broth looked like just the thing I needed to warm me up on a cold Bogota evening, and definitely did not look right for a breakfast option.
Caldo de costilla has since become one of my favourite breakfast options when eating out in Bogota.

Tamale, Bogota, Colombia
Tamale, Bogota, Colombia

*Unfortunately I don’t have pictures of all the foods mentioned above and as it has been my policy to only use my own photos I have just chosen a few of my favourite breakfast snaps. I would love to hear more about what you eat for breakfast where you’re from or what you’ve had while travelling that you thought was interesting or unusual. Post your pics on instagram and tag @travelswiththegypsyqueen

One of my favourite breakfast spots - a Juan Valdez coffee shop in Bogota, Colombia. In my opinion the best coffee ever!
One of my favourite breakfast spots – a Juan Valdez coffee shop in Bogota, Colombia. In my opinion the best coffee ever!
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