What is Considered Breakfast
First and foremost, what is considered breakfast? The origin of the word in English suggests the breaking of the fasting period as we sleep, which is why breakfast is typically enjoyed in the morning. Starting the morning off with enough energy to get through your day is almost human nature. It seems like humans have always been eating breakfast, but in fact, the tradition of eating a meal to get your day started is seemingly complicated.
In Europe in the Middle Ages, breakfast was avoided completely! According to The Atlantic, this breakfast avoidance was due to the thought that eating right when you woke up was gluttonous. There are other examples of breakfast avoidance at other times throughout history around the world also. Otherwise, most cultures agree that calories are necessary to perform tasks, and as most tasks happen after you have woken up, a morning meal is essential.
- What The Meal Consists Of: Pastries, cookies, tostadas, sandwiches, omelets
- Where You Can Find It: Cafe de la Pedrera in Barcelona
- What to Drink: Coffee
- Where to stay in Barcelona
In Spain, breakfast is robust in nature and can be sweet, savory, or both. A typical Spanish breakfast consists of a diverse spread, and many people prefer to mix and match their food options! However, a Spanish breakfast is supposed to be light and not too filling. The Spanish prefer to eat their filling options in the later meals of the day.
That is not to say that you will not still enjoy a Spanish breakfast, but if you are used to a big breakfast in the morning, it might take some getting used to. The best part of a Spanish breakfast is that it is what you make of it. If you would prefer to snack on cookies and cakes, that is culturally appropriate! Alternatively, if you would rather stick to eggs and potatoes with a tostada, you’re still eating according to Spanish culture.
- What to read: The 10 Best Bars with Panoramic Views in Barcelona
- What The Meal Consists Of: Bread, biscuits, pastries, butter, and jam
- Where You Can Find It: Caffe Barberini in Rome
- What to Drink: Coffee
- Where to stay in Rome
If you were hoping for pasta for breakfast, you might find yourself disappointed by the traditional Italian breakfast. Breakfasts in Italy are very similar to what you might expect from any other country in Europe. They are not as savory and are more focused on getting a sweet start to the day.
In Italy, breakfast is straightforward, simple, and quick to the point. Simply put, the Italians like to get a quicker start to their days than most of the other countries on this list. But just because the breakfast in Italy is simple, doesn’t mean that it is not just as delicious! You won’t be disappointed by an Italian breakfast, just as you won’t be disappointed by the country’s other delicious cuisine!
- What to read: 10 Things You Should Not Do in Rome
- What The Meal Consists Of: Eggs, bacon, toast, pancakes, hash browns
- Where You Can Find It: Old John’s Diner in NYC
- What to Drink: Coffee or orange juice
- Where to stay in New York
Many people are familiar with American breakfast, so much so that you can find American breakfast restaurants in many places around the world. Breakfast in America varies considerably from family to family, however. Some enjoyers of breakfast find themselves eating simple toast with butter, while others enjoy the full spread of dishes to fuel their days.
From pancakes to hotcakes, there are a lot of regional differences in the American breakfast, but some components stay the same. Fluffy pancakes, waffles, oatmeal, eggs, bacon, and hashbrowns are common breakfast items. Any combination of them will make for a filling American breakfast. Toppings are also common for American breakfasts. Expect syrups, jams, sweet butters, and also sugary drinks in the morning.
- What The Meal Consists Of: Fried eggs, bacon, sausage, baked beans, toast, tomatoes, black pudding
- Where You Can Find It: Terry’s Cafe in London
- What to Drink: Tea, as always!
- Where to stay in London
The English breakfast often gets the short end of the stick from other cultures. People love to laugh at the English for their seemingly bland food and unappetizing spreads, but you can’t go wrong with a traditional English breakfast! Beans on toast is truly a classic, and you must give it a try.
In England, breakfast is also called a ‘fry-up’ due to the fried eggs that are on most plates. The quintessential English breakfast experience, however, is the Full English breakfast, which is standard and considered the English thing you must experience when visiting. While people may call the English breakfast bland, we think it is pretty robust and diverse, just like other options on this list! You get a great variety of protein sources, filling carbohydrates, and some freshness in the tomatoes.
- What to read: A Weekend in London: Non-Touristy Places
- What The Meal Consists Of: Bread, salad, eggs, yogurt, fish, fruit, and vegetables, all seasonally served
- Where You Can Find It: Cafe Xoho in Tel Aviv
- What to Drink: Coffee, tea, or juice
- Where to stay in Tel Aviv
Israeli breakfast is perfect for those who prefer to explore many options with food. In fact, we think that an Israeli breakfast might just give you the most options out of any breakfast on this list. In Israel, breakfasts are more of a platter than an individual meal. The focus on food here is the diversity of nutrients rather than just having enough calories to get through your day. In this way, an Israeli breakfast is sure to be a fan favorite amongst travelers.
An Israeli breakfast is truly an experience to have! We think it just might be the most unique breakfast on this list, but it is up to you to decide if it is the best.
- What The Meal Consists Of: Veggies, olives, cured meats, eggs, cheese, tomatoes, bread, jam, butter
- Where You Can Find It: Privato Cafe in Istanbul
- What to Drink: Black tea
- Where to stay in Istanbul
Traditional Turkish breakfasts might look familiar to you so far, but the spread of a Turkish breakfast is what is most important. In Turkey, breakfast is a wide variety of side dishes and side dippings. You might be familiar with meals like this in the form of French charcuterie. It’s no surprise then to find that the Turkish consider breakfast to be the most important meal of the day.
The Turkish breakfast spread is super satisfying and satiating, and will cure all of your cravings in just one meal. If you’re looking for a great cultural exploration of food, the Turkish breakfast is a great pick.
- What to read: Layover in Istanbul — What to See in a Few Hours
- What The Meal Consists Of: A croissant, butter, jam, and a sweet pastry item
- Where You Can Find It: Le Petit Cler in Paris
- What to Drink: Coffee or orange juice
- Where to stay in Paris
For a country well-known for its cuisine, the French hold no barriers when it comes to a traditional French breakfast. Depending on where you live, you might already be familiar with some of the classic morning staples for French citizens. Items like croissants, eclairs, chocolate croissants, and crepes are considered luxury breakfast foods for international breakfast eaters but are commonplace for the French.
Unlike other breakfast menus on this list, French breakfasts typically are pretty sweet and are light on protein. The meals are meant to be quick sweet treats to get your morning started, but this breakfast can also be enjoyed at a stunning cafe in the heart of France. While you might not be used to eating so much sugar in the morning, we think it’s something everyone should experience!
- What The Meal Consists Of: Eggs, tortillas, chorizo, beans
- Where You Can Find It: El Cardinal in Mexico City
- What to Drink: Traditional Mexican coffee (with cloves, cinnamon, and star anise)
- Where to stay in Mexico
Mexican breakfasts are savory and consist of familiar breakfast staples but with a heavy dash of spices and Mexican culture involved. Swap your typical sausage for spicy chorizo and add delicious chile sauce to eggs over easy or scrambled for a classic Mexican breakfast. Breakfast in Mexico is meant to be filling, satisfying, and heavy on the protein!
Mexican subcultures have other morning staples, too, including chilaquiles, tetelas, and more. Common ingredients include eggs, chorizo, beans, tortillas, salsa roja, and salsa verde. Some families even enjoy tamales for breakfast.
- What The Meal Consists Of: Savory open-faced sandwiches, boiled egg, and warm bread
- Where You Can Find It: Pom and Flora in Stockholm
- What to Drink: A cup of coffee (no sugar, no creamer)
- Where to stay in Stockholm
Scandinavian breakfasts are very standardized. Like other countries, these meals focus on filling the body with nourishment and are very diverse. Open-faced sandwiches with a variety of toppings are very common. If you were expecting fish from your Scandi breakfast, you would be absolutely correct in your assumption! However, fresh salmon is not common at the breakfast table. Instead, Scandinavian breakfast eaters typically use fish paste on their sandwiches to add additional protein that is shelf-stable and easier to put together in the morning.
Unlike other cultures, you will rarely find that Scandinavians venture out in public to eat their first meal of the day. In this way, you can think of a Scandi breakfast as a more traditional at-home meal. Most breakfast joints that serve food early in the morning serve international breakfast foods instead!
- What The Meal Consists Of: Steamed rice, miso soup, pickles, side dishes (vegetables and egg), and a protein option (fish or tofu)
- Where You Can Find It: Hatsufuji in Tokyo
- What to Drink: Green tea
- Where to stay in Tokyo
A traditional Japanese breakfast is less conventional and differs greatly from the other breakfast options on our list. Sitting down for a Japanese breakfast usually consists of a large spread of a variety of food items. These foods can be enjoyed together or separately. Japanese breakfasts have the goal of being full of nutrients to start off the day properly. In this way, the food here is more substance than sustenance.
While other cultures prioritize eating something versus nothing, Japanese breakfast enjoyers see a great variety of protein, veggies, and carbohydrates to start their day. Additionally, Japan’s traditional breakfast follows a formula similar to its other meals with soup (miso), three side plates, and rice.