Breakfast Around the World

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Breakfast foods are possibly the most interesting and variable as you travel around the world. Through 6 years of travel, 50+ countries, we sampled traditional breakfasts in many countries. Here’s our take on the best, and worst, breakfasts from various countries around the world.

Are you a morning person? I am, so that first coffee and something to eat are very welcome, particularly if I’m sitting overlooking a stunning, deserted Thai beach or a sleepy Central American town just starting to wake up. We’ve been sampling breakfast around the world on our travels, 50+ countries over 6 years. Here are some global breakfast food highlights and disasters, traditional, local, and modern.

Watch our short video on the best, and worst, breakfasts around the world, below.

We try to seek out local and traditional specialties as we go because life is more interesting that way. Some we love, some we hate, but we’ll give them all a try. What do you think? Do you like to try new things or stick to breakfasts from home when you travel?

Breakfast Around the World

Japanese breakfast ramen
Breakfast in Japan, ramen, soup, a little pork, a small amount of vegetables or seaweed, half a hard boiled egg is a good addition. I wouldn’t say Japan has the best breakfasts in the world, but a bowl of good ramen is a delicious way to start the day.

Breakfast around the world, what we were served at breakfast time in the countries listed below. Many are traditional breakfasts from that country, some are Western-influenced and created more for tourists. But this is what you can expect for breakfast if, like us, you set off around the world.

Breakfast in Sri Lanka

Breakfast around the world Sri Lankan egg hoppers
Egg hoppers are just one of many Sri Lankan dishes you may be served at breakfast time. These should be accompanied by coconut and chili chutneys, made fresh.

Forgive me for going on about how much I love Sri Lankan breakfasts (read more here), but they totally rock my world. Chef and the kids are big fans too. When travelling in Sri Lanka breakfast is our most successful meal of the day, at dinner time options sometimes aren’t so great.

Sri Lankan Breakfast
Sri Lankan Breakfast is one of our all-time favourites, we even like it more than Indian, but Vietnam is a strong contender.

Here we have dahl, various roti and hoppers, a delicious coconut curry and fresh coconut sambol spiked with chilies. Click through to the above post for more on authentic Sri Lankan food.

Breakfast in Thailand

Breakfast in Thailand Bacon and Eggs
This is a Thai version of bacon and eggs, using various meats. You’ll see a similar dish in Vietnam, called “op la” it is thought to have evolved from a French dish.

You can expect almost anything for breakfast in Thailand, from a continental breakfast, to an American breakfast, to Thai noodles and curries.

Thai breakfast donuts
These are Thai donuts with pandan jam, served for breakfast. You’ll see very similar fried dough in China, Malaysia and Laos.

Some Thai speciality dishes include a savoury rice porridge (more like a soup) with chicken or vegetables, and Thai donuts, fried dough with pandan jam.

Malaysian Breakfast

Nasi Lamak in Malaysia. Fat rice, with egg, anchovies peanuts and sambol
Nasi Lemak in Malaysia. Fat rice, with egg, anchovies peanuts and sambol. None of us really enjoys this breakfast dish, we usually find it too sweet and fishy. We have found vegan versions which were superb.

Nasi Lemak is the classic Malaysian breakfast dish. Nasi means rice, nasi lemak means fat rice.

In this dish the rice comes with the red sauce (sambal), cucumber slices, a hard-boiled egg, peanuts and those fiendish little dried fish. I’m a big fan of anchovies, but these weren’t what we in the west love for their oily saltiness.

The sauce we had above was sweet and we would have preferred more spice. Nasi lemak comes in plenty of varieties, you should able to find one that suits you. For other breakfast dishes in Malaysia try this post about food options on Penang.

Nasi lemak wasn’t our favourite, but it was an interesting experience as trying new things always is. After a while we discovered vegan Malaysian food and we like this a lot more.

Breakfast in El Savador

Breakfast in El Salvador. Pupusas, black tortillas, enchiladas and pickles
Breakfast in El Salvador. Pupusas, black tortillas, enchiladas and pickles. This one is a big winner in our family, we love pupusas and refried beans.

In El Salvador you’ll find pupusas, yummy little corn-based flat cakes filled with cheese, beans or chicharron ( a pork cracking mixture). They usually come with tomato sauce and a sort of vinegar-soaked coleslaw. We like pupusas a lot and ate them at roadside pupusarias made and cooked fresh to order. The kids dig them too.

Breakfast in the United Kingdom

Breakfasts from around the world, The full English Breakfast
In the UK a ” Full English” or “cooked” breakfast is common. Despite the name, the “fry up” is found in all of the coutries that make up the United Kingdom and will sometimes be called “Full Welsh” or “Full Scottish”.

The Great British breakfast will certainly keep you going all morning. We had a full English every day while staying in hotels in Britain. We thought it was great value, room and a breakfast this size for around £10 each. Cereal, fruit, juices, toast, teas and coffees were also included.

Your traditional British breakfast will include eggs, sausage, bacon, occasionally black pudding and, hopefully, some vegetables, baked beans, tomatoes, mushrooms, sometimes fried potatoes of some sort. Serve with ketchup or HP sauce.

To make a full Welsh or full Scottish, local specialties like lava bread, potato scones or haggis may be added.

Guatemalan Breakfast

Guatemalan breakfast
In Guatemala we ate refried beans at almost every meal. We loved them but it did get very repetitive. This breakfast was in Flores where the beans came with fried bananas, eggs, home-made bread and good coffee.

Breakfast typicos is Guatemala, eggs, refried beans and fried plantains. The home-made bread was a bonus at Cool Beans in Flores, Guatemala. I joke about being over refried beans, they do serve them with everything in Central America, but they’re absolutely delicious. We also tucked into many plates of huevos rancheros while we were in Guatemala, eggs poached with tomatoes and vegetables,  Guatemalans know how to do breakfast!

Australian Breakfast

What do they have for breakfast in Australia -Best Breakfasts Around The World Australia

Eggs Florentine or Eggs Benedict with salmon (not bacon) was always my pick when we went out to breakfast back home in Port Douglas. I guess it’s a fairly typical Australian restaurant breakfast but I can’t think of anything uniquely Aussie for breakfast. Australian food, because of Australia’s history, is very blended but there are some very Australian dishes. You’ll find these two breakfast egg dishes just about anywhere in the world.

Most of the hotels in Port Douglas or anywhere in Australia have buffet breakfasts with the usual western dishes, bacon, eggs, pastries and so on. Sometimes with miso soup for our Asian visitors. When the four of us went out for breakfast in Australia we’d pay $40-$50 upwards with drinks.

Cruise Ship Breakfasts

Cruise ship breakfast
On a cruise ship anything is possible, from something resembling desert to breakfast pizza.

On a cruise ship you can have anything you like for breakfast, so long as you don’t want Asian.

Made to order omelets with lots of vegetables or smoked salmon with capers and lemon are my favourite but if you wanted ice cream, bacon and egg pizza or something resembling dessert (the above was Chef’s breakfast), it was your lucky day!

Endless choices from a buffet that changed daily. Read about finding a budget cruise here, our next is costing us just $30/day.

Breakfast in the USA – The Bad

Hotel breakfast in USA
A cheap ($150) American hotel breakfast. We’ve never seen anything quite this bad before or since.

Breakfasts in cheap hotels during our 1 month USA road trip were interesting, but not the best. They filled a hole and were good value. We’ve not seen anything like this, with plastic disposable plates, anywhere else in the world.

This was one of the better ones, from a hotel in New York. American motel breakfasts were mostly highly processed carbs with eggs, even this microwaved variety, being rare.

A lot of places had waffle machines, which the kids adored. Most had oranges or apples alongside cakes and other sweet things. Coffee was always free, all day. That’s got to be good!

Breakfast in the USA – The Good

Biscuits and gravy, this one with egg and debris. Superb food in New Orleans.

The southern states and better quality restaurants gave us sensational breakfast dishes. In Mother’s Restaurant, New Orleans, we discovered what biscuits (similar to scones) SHOULD taste like. Superb!

We also sampled grits, gravy and collard greens. Beignets (sweet donuts) were another famous NOLA favourite.

Breakfast in India

Indian breakfast dosa
This Indian breakfast, from the south, a plain dosa served with sambar (thin vegetable and dal curry), coconut chutney and a third mystery curry. Very typical, very good.

In 2015 we spent a month in India, our third trip, and we also found some awesome Indian food in Malaysia.  Dosa, roti, vada or idli with sambar and coconut chutney are very typical of Southern India and they are delicious.

Above we have a huge dosa with sambar (thin veg curry), fresh coconut chutney, and an extra veg curry dish on the side. Waiters with huge stainless steel buckets of curries weave between tables replenishing plates as diners enjoy.

A dosa is a type of pancake and comes served in many ways, plain, filled or even sweet.

In Malaysia, you will also find Indian dishes like this served at breakfast time.

Laos Breakfast

Laos breakfast noodle soup
Noodle soup from the noodle soup lady in Laos.

In Laos, like most places on the backpacker trail, you can get just about anything for breakfast.

We had cheese and onion roti, baguettes, excellent shakshuka, (an Israeli egg dish with vegetables), tofu with chilies and ginger and this yummy vegetable noodle soup bought from a street stall.

I guess this is the most typically Laos dish of the bunch and we all enjoyed it immensely.

Breakfast in Cambodia

Breakfast in Cambodia. Breakfast around the world
Cambodian breakfast. Cambodia was hard work food wise, we ate a LOT of fried rice.

Cambodia has some interesting and tasty dishes, we even took a cookery class there and learned to make fish amok and a Cambodian style stir fry dish with chicken and greens.

There didn’t seem to be any particular breakfast meal, we ended up eating a lot of fried rice, or, the backpacker special, omelettes and toast.

Oh, and deep-fried spiders. But not for breakfast.

Turkey- Amazing Breakfasts!

Breakfast in Istanbul Turkey Armada Hotel
Turkish breakfasts were superb!

Turkey gave us amazing breakfasts of local cheeses, olives, breads, fruits, vegetables and pastries. It was foodie heaven. I had no idea Turkey produced such great quality, interesting foods. You could go there just to eat.

Read up on breakfast in Istanbul here, my husband has taken away a few great ideas for his 5 star hotels from the Turks.


Romanian breakfast
Romania is simplicity itself, milk, butter and cheese from the dairy, jams from the orchard, eggs, some home-made bread, rustic perfection.

Not too dissimilar from Turkey, Romania gave us cheeses, tomatoes, home-made bread, milk and butter straight from the cow and jams from the fruits in the orchard.

There were a few processed meats and some interesting dishes such as fried hard sheep’s cheese. We had our best breakfasts in Romania when we were staying with families in homestay-type accommodations with well-practiced home cooks, passionate about good food. We lked Romania so much we kind of never left, but that’s another story.

The World’s Best Breakfasts-Video

We made this video to bring you real photos of different countries making, and serving, breakfast.

Favourite Breakfast Around The World – Vietnamese Breakfast

Mi Quang what to eat in Hoi An Vietnam
Breakfast in Vietnam is always best taken at a street stall. Here mi quang, noodles with pork, quail egg, prawn and herbs, our favourite Vietnamese breakfast

Vietnam is currently favourite breakfasts from around the world. In Vietnam it’s hard to pick between pho, mi quang, cau lao and op la, but the picture above shows our personal favourite, mi quang.

For more on these Vietnames dishes, see here. Vietnamese coffee is also famous around the world look out for egg coffee, coconut coffee and salt coffee in Vietnam.

Best Breakfasts From Different Countries Around the World

That’s it for now, our breakfast around the world favourites from the last few years. What’s your pick for the best breakfast from around the world? Tell us in the comments.

Breakfast around the world food
This breakfast was served to us in a hotel in Indonesia, not typical, but a great eggs florentine.

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About the author
Alyson Long
Alyson Long is a British medical scientist who jumped ship to chase dreams. A former Chief Biomedical Scientist at London's West Middlesex Hospital she started in website creation and travel writing in 2011. Alyson is a full-time blogger and travel writer, a published author, and owns several websites. World Travel Family is the biggest. A lifetime of wanderlust and over 6 years of full-time travel, plus a separate 12 month gap year, has given Alyson and the family some travel expert smarts to share with you on this world travel site. Today Alyson still travels extensively to update this site and continue her mission to visit every country, but she's often at home on her farm in Australia.

28 thoughts on “Breakfast Around the World”

  1. I’m afraid I disagree with your opinion on nasi lemak, I adore Malaysian food. I dislike those dried anchovies though, I always order without them.

  2. Great post! One of the greatest joys of travelling is trying local cuisine! While in Turkey we’ve learnt how to prepare Sucuklu Yumurta and now we make it on a regular basis at home. And I agree with you, Nasi Lemak from Malaysia isn’t our type of breakfast although it wakes you up pretty quickly with all the spice it contains 😉

  3. this is interesting, i love breakfast too, and wonder why every morning i’m bored and out of ideas for breakfast, when there are soo many different types of foods being eaten all of the world each morning!
    i loved buying thin omlettes with sauce and lettuce from the street venders in Beijing, and in finland it was always thin rye slices which you topped with the options of ham, cheese, sliced boiled egg, lettuce, cucumber and sometimes capsicum.

  4. Yum! I’ll have them all although I tend to have breakfast whilst on holiday, brunch at the weekend, and a few cups of tea during the week. I love having “a local” breakfast as much as possible and as much as I loved Vietnamese food and had Pho for lunch and dinner for a fortnight, when I saw an opportunity to have baked beans, I’m afraid that I took it!

  5. Totally better options than the tea I had this morning! Guatemala in particular – after a trip to Mexico I loved having eggs and bread and beans for breakfast, so hearty!

  6. I remember norwegian breakfast : brown cheese on bread with jam … I had to get used to it, but then I loved it!
    We quite enjoyed Malaysian Nasi Lemak, but not necessarily for breakfast. In Kota Kinabalu we had some nice fried stuffed pastry for breakfast… I just can’t remember its’ name. We bought it at the market and it was just too yummy!
    Anyway, I love this post about breakfasts!
    What are you doing for Easter?
    (I don’t know why but this “proove you’re human”-app keeps telling me I may not be human … maybe I should go and see a physician?!)

    • I’ll eat most things for breakfast so long as they’re savoury, I’m not into sweet stuff and unless I get a decent protein hit my blood sugar levels are stuffed, so we usually go with eggs, particularly as I don’t eat meat unless I have to. Neither of us liked Nasi Lemak at all, it was the sugar and those dried fish, together, just no way. We really didn’t get on very well with Malaysian food in general, unfortunately. Really unusual for us.We never do anything for Easter other than Easter eggs Talitha. It wasn’t a big deal for me as a kid either. We’ll be in Flores but there are no chocolate Easter eggs here, we’re hoping we can con the kids into not noticing it’s Easter and then getting them choccy eggs when we arrive in the USA next week. I’m hoping there will be some left in the shops or I’ll be worst Mum on the planet for a while.

  7. I remember norwegian breakfast : brown cheese on bread with jam … I had to get used to it, but then I loved it!
    We quite enjoyed Malaysian Nasi Lemak, but not necessarily for breakfast. In Kota Kinabalu we had some nice fried stuffed pastry for breakfast… I just can’t remember its’ name. We bought it at the market and it was just too yummy!
    Anyway, I love this post about breakfasts!
    What are you doing for Easter?

  8. I remember my first British breakfast at a hostel in Canterbury. Baked beans for breakfast? I thought it was so weird, but I loved the grilled tomato. I’d take the British brekkie over the US cheap hotel one any day. At least it’s free.

    • Seriously? Baked beans for breakfast is weird? Interesting! Admittedly I’d never do it for myself but it’s always been right there in a cooked British breakfast. I never cook one of those at home either, I don’t eat bacon or sausages, but we have eggs with vegetables of some sort most days.

  9. That Laotian brekkie looks really good, as does the Indian, but lord, the American microwave/carb plate makes me gag. I’ve had SO many of those in US hotels! Haven’t had a pupusa but it sounds like a Mexican gordita…

    • The worst motel breakfast we had was frozen toaster waffles Renee. With extra syrup. I was stunned to see our fellow inmates spreading them with butter-like-substance too. Very weird to us Brits. I sometimes make the kids pancakes for breakfast at home ( never with syrup or butter, which you probably find weird), so that’s not odd for us but the packet mix pancakes and waffles in the hotels just tasted of chemicals. Still, it was free and we were hungry so we ate it. The other thing I find really weird at breakfast buffets is the people who pile everything onto one plate, so they have eggs, pancakes, meaty stuff, everything, and then add jam or syrup or something. We would take things bit by bit and take multiple trips to the buffet. I guess these people think you can only go once. We particularly noticed it in Antigua. But isn’t it interesting, inter-national weirdnesses!


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