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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A traditional American breakfast with egg and toast.
Floris Claesz. van Dyck 001.jpg
Part of the Meals series
Common meals
Breakfast · Brunch · Lunch · Tea · Dinner · Supper
Components & courses
Amuse-bouche · Appetizer · Cheese · Dessert · Drink · Entrée · Entremet · Fruit · Main course · Nuts · Salad · Side dish
Related concepts
Banquet · Buffet · Cuisine · Eating · Etiquette · Food

Breakfast is the first meal of the day. The word is a compound of "break" and "fast," referring to the conclusion of fasting since the previous day's last meal. Breakfast meals vary widely in different cultures around the world but often include a carbohydrate such as cereal or rice, fruit and/or vegetable, protein, sometimes a dairy product, and a drink. Nutritional experts have referred to breakfast as the most important meal of the day. This is based on studies of the large numbers of people in the West who skip breakfast, to adverse effect on their concentration, metabolism and weight.[1][2]


Around the world



A typical rice porridge complete with dried minced pork; popular breakfast fare in China.

Breakfasts vary greatly between different regions. In northern China breakfast fare typically includes huājuǎn, mántou (steamed breads), shāobǐng (unleavened pocket-bread with sesame), bāozi (steamed buns with meat or vegetable stuffing), with Dòunǎi or dòujiāng (soy milk) or tea served in Chinese style as beverages.

In central and eastern China, typified by Shanghai and the neighbouring Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and Anhui provinces, breakfast includes some Northern as well as Southern dishes. These may be ci fan tuan, 油豆腐粉絲 → yóudoùfu fěnsī (a soup made by fried tofu and cellophane noodles); plain rice porridge (粥 → zhōu) served with numerous side dishes, such as salted duck eggs, pickled vegetables, and century eggs; or sweetened or savoury soy milk served with shāobǐng or 油條 → yóutiáo.

In southeastern China, such as Fujian province, breakfasts consist of rice porridge served with side dishes such as pickled vegetables and century eggs (also known as thousand-year old eggs).

Chinese steamed eggs constitute a common dish served throughout China. Vegetables, shrimp, scallions, and tofu are commonly added and steamed with the eggs. In southern areas, eggs are usually served with rice congee, but in the northern areas it is served with Mantou (Chinese steamed buns).

In southern China, represented by Guangdong province, breakfasts include rice porridge prepared to a thicker consistency than those sold in Shanghai. Side dishes are not served. Congee is served with yóutiáo if it is plain. In many cases, however, congee is prepared with meats or dried vegetables, such as beef slices, shredded salted pork and century eggs, fish, or slices of pig's liver and kidney. It can be served with or without yóutiáo. Other breakfast fares include rice noodle rolls (cheong fun) (served with Hoisin sauce and soy sauce, without fillings), fried noodles (pan fried noodles with bean sprouts, spring onions, and soy sauce), fagao (rice cakes), jiānbǐng (thin crispy omelets with fillings folded in), lúobogāo (turnip cakes) and zòngzi (another kind of rice cake wrapped in bamboo leaves). The dim sum specialties are in a different class. Dim sum is often eaten as brunch at special dim sum restaurants.

Hong Kong

A typical Hong Kong cha chaan teng breakfast, including a cup of "silk-sock" milk tea.

Traditional Chinese breakfasts in Hong Kong follow those in Canton. Also found are local interpretations of English breakfast and eastern Chinese breakfast fare. The long periods of British colonial rule and the influx of many refugees from Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces and Shanghai around the end of the Chinese Civil War changed eating habits. In Hong Kong cha chaan teng breakfasts might consist of Hong Kong-style milk tea, coffee, or yuen yeung, served with bread, ham, and fried eggs, and a bowl of macaroni soup with ham. The Taiwanese regard this local interpretation of the English breakfast as unique to Hong Kong. In upscale restaurants or hotels, however, standard English and Continental breakfasts are served.

India and Bangladesh

The South Indian staple breakfast item of idly, sambar, and vada served on a banana leaf.

In South India, the most popular breakfast has several possible main dishes, such as idlis, vadas, dosas, uppuma (uppittu), savory pongal, and chapatis. These are most often served with hot sambar and at least one kind of chutney. This is usually accompanied with a tumbler of filter coffee.

In Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh especially, rice porridge (known as congee, kanji or ganji) is also traditional. It is served with various condiments such as pickles, nuts, coconut chutney or curry.

Kerala's traditional breakfast praatal പ്രാതല്‍) includes puttu (പുട്ടു്) (eaten with kadala (കടല) (black chana curry) or ripe bananas (നേന്ത്രപ്പഴം), porotta (പൊറോട്ട) / pathiri (പത്തിരി) or orotti (ഒറോട്ടി) (eaten with chicken, mutton or vegetable curry), appam (അപ്പം) — paalappam, vellayappam, kallappam, idiyappam (ഇടിയപ്പം) or noolappam (നൂലപ്പം) — with egg curry (മുട്ടക്കറി) or vegetarian stew, kappa (കപ്പ) (tapioca) and meencurry / meen varuttathu (tapioca and fish) and other popular breakfast items like idli (ഇഡ്ഡലി) and dosa (ദോശ) or masala dosa (മസാല ദോശ).

Other common dishes include Ada (അട) — Ilayada, Ottadaariyappam, and uppumaavu (ഉപ്പുമാവു്).

The usual North Indian breakfast consists of stuffed paratha breads or unstuffed parathas (they resemble as crepes) with fresh butter, cooked tatse vegetables—especially aloo sabzi. Puri and chholey is also a popular north-Indian breakfast, along with rajma-chawal.

The Muslim breakfast of North India, especially Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, consists of shermal (a heavy but very soft sweet naan-type bread) and taftan (slightly sweet and salty variant of naan).

Popular accompaniments include sweets like jalebi, halwa, and sweetened milk. samosas, and a combination of jalebi with yogurt (dahi-jalebi), comprise stand-alone breakfast items in Uttar Pradesh and its surrounding parts. In Maharashtra, poha, upma, idli, Thalipit, and shira (similar to kesaribath) is frequently eaten for breakfast.

Gujarati breakfast items include haandvo, dhokla, sev-khamni, theplas (a form of paratha), bhaakhri and assorted hard and crispy masala puris with pickles. A dip for the theplas is also made by mixing pickle with yogurt. Tea is a staple item in breakfast. Children are encouraged to drink milk instead of tea.

In urban areas, omelettes and simple butter sandwiches are becoming a popular breakfast food.[citation needed]


Traditional Japanese kaiseki breakfast in a Kyoto ryokan
A typical Japanese breakfast.

A traditional Japanese breakfast is based on rice, seafood, and fermented foods, which do not differ substantially from dishes eaten at other meals in Japanese cuisine. An exception is nattō (a type of fermented soybeans), which is most popularly eaten for breakfast. A typical Japanese restaurant breakfast presentation would be miso soup, rice with nori or other garnishes, nattō, rice porridge, grilled fish, raw egg, and a pickled vegetable. The influence of Japanese travelers has made this traditional breakfast a standard option on the menus of many upscale hotels worldwide. It is common in Japanese households to include left-over items from the last evening's dinner in the next day's breakfast. Western breakfast foods such as toast and boiled or fried eggs are also common, and cereals are becoming popular. The typical breakfast beverage is green tea (traditional).


In Nepal, breakfast contains bread, soup, vegetables, and chappati called puri tarkari. Tea and milk are part of the daily breakfast routine along with Satu (powder of corn) or Chiura (beaten rice) etc. Dal, Bhat and Tarkari are the famous staple food of Nepal.

Malaysia and Singapore

In Malaysia, breakfast sometimes consists of a popular Malay food called nasi lemak. Other food such as roti prata (known as roti canai in Malaysia), kaya toast, half boiled eggs and wonton noodles are also among the favorites. In the Malaysian's East Coast, glutinous rice is eaten as breakfast. Malaysian Chinese from the town of Klang, which is famous for its Bak Kut Teh, frequently eat it for breakfast. In other parts of Malaysia and Singapore however, it is more commonly eaten at other meals.

A typical Singaporean breakfast usually consists of a variety of food options from various cultures. Most common are fried noodle with egg (or other side dishes like vegetables, ham,meatballs, cheese fish cake or tofu), mee goreng (Malay version of fried noodle, albeit spicier), nasi lemak, curry puffs, kueh-kueh (malay cakes) or sandwiches for those on the move. For those who can afford a more leisurely breakfast, it can be noodle soup, kway chap (flat noodles in braised soup along with sides like tofu, peanut, pork and pig organs.), a variety of malay noodle soup dishes like mee soto, mee siam. There are other local favourite like bean curd, sweet soup like black glutinous rice porridge or green/ red bean soup. Others may prefer toast, cereals or an American breakfast from fast-food chains. It is common especially among older students and working adults to skip breakfast.


htamin jaw - leftover or cold rice fried with onions and boiled peas from a streethawker is quick and popular.

In Burma, the traditional breakfast in town and country alike is htamin jaw, fried rice with boiled peas (pè byouk), and yei nway jan (green tea) especially among the poor.

Glutinous rice or kao hnyin is a popular alternative, steamed wrapped in banana leaf often with peas as kao hnyin baung served with a sprinkle of crushed and salted toasted sesame. Equally popular is the purple variety known as nga cheik cooked the same way and called nga cheik paung. Si damin is sticky rice cooked with turmeric and onions in peanut oil and served with crushed and salted toasted sesame and crispfried onions. Assorted fritters such as baya jaw (urad dal) go with all of them.

Nan bya or naan (Indian-style flatbreads) again with pè byouk or simply buttered is served with Indian tea or coffee. It also goes very well with hseiksoup (mutton soup).

Fried chapati, blistered like nan bya but crispy, with pè byouk and crispy fried onions is a popular alternative.

Htat ta ya, lit. "a hundred layers", is flaky multilayered fried paratha served with either pè byouk or a sprinkle of sugar.

Eeja gway (Chinese-style fried breadsticks or youtiao) with Indian tea or coffee is another favourite.

Mohinga, perhaps the most popular of all, now available as an "all-day breakfast" in many towns and cities, is rice vermicelli in fish broth kept on the boil with chickpea flour and/or crushed toasted rice, lemon grass, sliced banana stem, onions, garlic, ginger, pepper and fish paste and served with crispy fried onions, crushed dried chilli, coriander, fish sauce and lime. Add fritters such as split chickpea (pè jan jaw), urad dal (baya jaw) or gourd (bu jaw), boiled egg and fried fish cake (nga hpè jaw).

Another dish, growing in popularity because of its healthier composite and economic friendliness, is the Rakhine Mont-de, a variant of Mohinga, but lighter. It consists of thin rice noodles eaten with clear soup, made from boiled ngapi and lemon grass. Toasted fish flakes, from snakefish and green and red chili paste are also added, with seasoning. Rakhine Mont-de is also called ar-pu-shar-pu (literally "hot throat", "hot tongue") because of its heavy use of spicy ingredients. A salad version also exists. It is now available in many cities and towns across Burma.


Breakfast is known in the Philippines as agahan or almusal. Philippine breakfasts vary from light to very heavy, depending on tradition. In some areas, even leftover lechón (roast suckling pig) is eaten with sinangag (fried rice).

Rice is a predominant staple in the Philippines. As such, a favourite traditional breakfast has fried rice called sinangag. Usually, this is made of leftover rice from the previous dinner (so nothing is wasted, as well as because this yields a firm and "tossed" texture, which is preferred over sticky), and fried with salt and garlic cloves. This is then combined with fried or scrambled eggs, and a choice of breakfast meat: beef tapa (similar to beef jerky), pork tocino (sweet cured pork), longganisa (fresh garlic sausage), dried, smoked fish (such as tuyo), canned sardines, sauteed corned beef, or crispy pork adobo, sometimes with Western-style baked beans, sliced tomatoes and a local pickle (achara) on the side. Alternatively, a cheese-topped breakfast pastry called an ensaymada (a colonial relative of the Mallorcan ensaimada) is also eaten, usually with hot chocolate, as is pan de sal (Philippine breakfast roll) filled with a buffalo milk white cheese, and local barako coffee.

Western-style breakfasts such as pancakes, French toast, and porridge are also eaten at home, as are cold breakfast cereals which are popular with children. There is also a breakfast known as tapsilog, which is a combination of tapa (breakfast steak), sinangag (fried rice) and itlog (egg). Finally, there is champorado, a local chocolate sticky rice porridge, often served with a side dish of crisp-fried sun-dried fish (danggit or tuyo) — an unusual, though authentically Filipino combination.

In the early mornings, hawkers also sell rice porridge (lugaw/goto), and noodle soups (such as mami, lomi, and batchoy) from stalls to those on their way to work. Bakeries also open early for those purchasing pan de sal to eat at home, as well as for people who eat breakfast "on the go". Tahos are also a popular accompaniment to breakfast, especially with children, and these are bought from vendors who carry them (along with other breakfast rice cakes such as puto, pichi-pichi, cuchinta, palitaw and seputo) in two small cans or barrels suspended at the ends of a yoke placed over a shoulder (which culturally recalls an irrigation device used on rice paddies).

Sri Lanka

The Singhalese traditional breakfast includes usually fresh (hot) bread, roti, pittu (rice or manipittu), string hoppers, hoppers, milk rice, appam, or green gram. These are usually eaten with curry (meat or vegetable), sambol (coconut, maldive fish or seeni-onion fried with chili and sugar) or with jaggery and plantains. Noodles and cereals such as Cornflakes are relative newcomers.

Sri Lankans also have a traditional soup-like drink called Kanda.

A typical everyday breakfast can simply consist of "brother bread" with butter, and cheese or jam, plantain banana and tea.


In Cambodia, rice congee (babaw) is widely eaten for breakfast. Plain congee is typically eaten with salted eggs, pickled vegetables, or dried fish. Chicken congee, pig's blood congee, and seafood congee are also commonly eaten. Cambodians also enjoy rice served with sliced pork or chicken with pickled vegetables or a noodle dish (usually a noodle soup called khtieau). Caw (a pork or fish soup dish made with caramelized sugar) is also eaten with congee or rice for breakfast.


In Laos, it is customary to eat soup for breakfast, as well as congee.[citation needed]


There are multiple breakfast menu options across Vietnam, and usually the household will buy this from vendors rather than make it. Breakfast can be quite hearty, depending on whether one chooses to top their meal with a meat roll or pastries. Typical noodle breakfast dishes in Vietnam (which are usually served with a loaf of bread to dip in the soup) include Pho (Vietnamese beef or chicken soup based rice noodle), hu tieu (rice noodles in a pork based soup), Bún bò Huế (spicy Hue style beef soup based noodles), Bún riêu (crab soup based vermicelli noodles) or mi quang (prawn and pork rice noodles). Banh cuon (crêpe-like roll made from thin, wide sheets of rice flour filled with ground pork, minced wood ear mushroom, and other ingredients, including meat loaves and sauce), banh bao (savoury meat buns or sweet bean buns), banh mi (Vietnamese cold cut meat loaf breads), banh mi hot ga op la[3] (Vietnamese French Bread with Sunnyside-Up Eggs. The term op-la is from a French word "oeuf au plat" (which may be served with a hot meat ball soup)), xôi (or glutinous rice, either savoury or sweet), boiled eggs or congee (similar to the Southern Chinese), are common breakfast meals in Vietnam. Often, the Vietnamese will drink coffee, tea, juice, or soy milk to complete their breakfasts.

Australia and New Zealand

In New Zealand and Australia, the typical breakfast strongly resembles breakfast in other English-speaking countries. Owing to the warm weather in some parts of Australia, breakfast is generally light. The light breakfast consists of cereals, bread or toast (sometimes with Vegemite spread), yogurt, fruit, and fruit juices rather than cooked items. However, people in these countries may also enjoy a heavier breakfast when they have time such as at weekends with fried bacon, egg, mushroom, sausage, tomatoes and toast, with tea or coffee and juice (similar to the full English breakfast). In winter porridge made from oats is popular with some.

In summer, a New Zealand breakfast will typically consist of some variation on toast, cereal, juice and fruit. In winter many New Zealanders prefer porridge or Weet-Bix with hot milk. On special occasions some New Zealanders will create a full cooked breakfast after the English tradition — generally bacon and eggs, fried tomatoes, fried mushrooms, and toast. American-type breakfasts (pancakes etc.) are becoming more common in New Zealand. These are usually purchased from a restaurant for weekend brunch.


Continental breakfast

As a general rule, traditional breakfasts are less substantial and less elaborate in the warmer, more southern countries bordering the Mediterranean, while breakfasts are traditionally larger, with a greater variety of dishes and greater prevalence of hot dishes in the cooler northern and central European countries.

Hotels and other types of lodging in Europe typically include breakfast in their rates, and in many cases, especially in larger hotels, it is served as a buffet. Specific items will vary from country to country, depending on local breakfast tastes and habits. In Switzerland, for example, cold cuts (luncheon meats), cheese, yoghurt, prepared fruit, butter, croissants, breads, and rolls are served. Sometimes foods belonging to the English breakfast (eggs, sausages, tomatoes (fresh, grilled or canned), bacon) can occasionally be found as part of the buffet.

Continental breakfast

Continental breakfast is a meal based on lighter Mediterranean breakfast traditions. It is a light meal meant to satisfy one until lunch. A typical Continental breakfast consists of coffee and milk (often mixed as Cappuccino or latte) or hot chocolate with a variety of sweet cakes such as brioche and pastries such as croissant, often with a sweet jam, cream, or chocolate filling. It is often served with juice. The continental breakfast may also include sliced cold meats, such as salami or ham, yogurt or cereal, served with bread or bread roll. Some countries of Europe, such as the Netherlands and those in Scandinavia, add fruit and cheese to the bread menu and occasionally a boiled egg or a small serving of salami.

The Continental Breakfast concept is not limited to Europe and is often served throughout the world in hotel chains.

The term itself is of British origin. "The continent" in Britain refers to the countries of mainland Europe. A "continental breakfast" thus denotes the type of lighter meal served in mainland Europe, as opposed to the "full", or "traditional", cooked British breakfast.

United Kingdom and Ireland

A full English breakfast, consisting of eggs, sausages, baked beans, tomatoes, and toast.
A buttered crumpet

Traditionally, people in the United Kingdom and Ireland have enjoyed a substantial hot meal for breakfast, featuring eggs, bacon, and sausages, accompanied by toast and tea or coffee. These items are sometimes eaten separately on morning rolls. Many other items (for example kedgeree, devilled kidneys, grilled or fried tomatoes, black pudding or white pudding, baked beans, fried sliced bread, various types of fried potatoes and mushrooms) may be included depending on taste and location. Today, this dish remains popular but is not usually served at breakfast time during the week. Many people instead reserve the full cooked breakfast for weekends, or go to a café or pub for it at the weekend. A full breakfast is also a meal available any time at many cafés and greasy spoons. It is also served at hotels where it can be quite substantial in size and variety. The author Somerset Maugham once quipped that "the only way to eat well in England is to have breakfast three times a day." This is sometimes quoted as the origin of the term, and indeed meal, all-day breakfast.[citation needed]

Another popular breakfast in England is the kipper, a type of salted, smoked herring that is then grilled or fried, though in England at least, usually steamed.

This traditional cooked breakfast has largely been replaced by simple, light foods mainly eaten cold: fruit, yoghurt, packaged cereal with cold milk, and toast with a variety of spreads such as butter, jam, marmalade, lemon curd, Marmite, honey or peanut butter. Boiled eggs with soldiers are also a popular breakfast meal in the UK although like the full English breakfast they are mainly eaten at the weekend. Porridge is a traditional breakfast in Scotland as well as the rest of Britain in the winter months. In most British hotels this breakfast is included in the room rate.[citation needed]

A now antiquated breakfast still occasionally found in Wales was a concoction called ‘bara te’ which was made from bread and butter broken up into small pieces and put into a basin. Then some sugar was added and then a pot of black tea was poured over it. This made a wet mush which was consumed for breakfast (sometimes followed by a 'proper' breakfast a few hours later).[4]

Northern Europe

  • Belgium. A typical Belgian breakfast is like that of its northern neighbor, the Netherlands. Belgians do not eat their most famous food, Belgian waffles, which are traditionally sold in tourist areas of large cities, and are eaten as a snack. The breakfast in Belgium consists of breads, toasted or untoasted, with several marmalades, jams, and nut spreads, such as Nutella or just with a bar of chocolate. Other common toppings include sliced meats and cheeses. Pastries and croissants may be served on Sundays, but are mostly not eaten on weekdays. Belgians often enjoy coffee, tea, hot chocolate, water, or fresh juice with breakfast.
  • Netherlands. The Dutch typically eat sliced bread with three choices of toppings: dairy products (numerous variations of cheese), a variety of cured and sliced meats, or sweet or semi-sweet products such as jam, peanut butter or chocolate toppings (hagelslag (chocolate sprinkles), chocoladevlokken (chocolate flakes) and chocolate spread). Some typical, but less common products are apple syrup, honey, stroop (lesser known as bebogeen, a very sweet caramel topping made from sugar beets) and kokosbrood (a coconut product that is served thinly sliced like sliced cheese; also known as Cocosbread). Furthermore are breakfast cereals or muesli popular, served with milk or yoghurt. Tea, drip coffee, milk, and juice are the most popular breakfast beverages. Breakfast may also include (for instance on Sundays) boiled eggs, raisin bread, pumpernickel, ontbijtkoek or croissants.
  • Denmark. A typical breakfast in Denmark consists of cereals or bread, accompanied by tea or coffee. Weekends or festive occasions may call for bread rolls (rundstykker) and possibly Danish pastries (wienerbrød) or a bitters, such as Gammel Dansk.[5]
  • Sweden. Breakfast in Sweden is generally a sandwich made of a large amount of different types of soft bread or crisp bread, cold cuts, caviar, cheese, cottage cheese, cream cheese, goat cheese, eggs, scrambled or boiled, tomatoes or cucumber, or a toast with marmalade or maybe honey, juices, coffee, hot chocolate or tea. Breakfast cereals or muesli with milk, yoghurt or filmjölk, currants and fruits are popular or warm whole-grain porridge with milk and jam, (for example lingonberry jam). Pâté (leverpastej) with pickled cucumber, blueberry-soup (blåbärssoppa) and rose hip soup is also possible sometimes for breakfast.
  • Finland. Breakfast usually consists of open sandwiches. The sandwich is often buttered (with margarine), with toppings such as hard cheese or cold cuts. Finns might eat pies instead of bread, made from rye with rice porridge or potato mash filling (karjalanpiirakka "Karelian pasties") with egg and butter mixture (munavoi, lit. "eggbutter"). Finns usually do not have sweets on their breads such as jam (like the Americans), or chocolate (like the French and the Danes). Sour milk products such as yogurt or viili are also common breakfast foods, usually served in a bowl with cereals such as corn flakes, muesli, and sometimes with sugar, fruit or jam. A third food that is commonly eaten at breakfast is porridge (puuro), often made of rolled oats, and eaten with a pat of butter (voisilmä, lit. "butter eye") and/or with milk, or fruit or jam, especially the sort made of raspberries or strawberries (sometimes lingonberries). Drinks are milk, juice, tea, or coffee.
  • Scandinavia. Breakfasts in other parts of Scandinavia can be quite ample. Fish, cheese, eggs, bacon, hot and cold cereals, breads, potatoes, and fruits are all eaten in various combinations, along with juices, coffee, and tea. or kulturmelk (Norway), a cultured milk similar to buttermilk or yogurt is often eaten with cereals. Whole-grain porridges with regular milk or butter are popular. A funny thing in the Scandinavian languages is that the word for breakfast in Swedish language/Norwegian language ("frukost" = early meal) means lunch in Danish. The Danish language word for breakfast is "morgenmad" (= morning meal).
  • In Russia, with the cold climate breakfasts tend to be substantial. Zavtrak may consist of hot oatmeal or kasha, eggs, cheese, cured meats or sausage, rye breads with butter (Butterbrods), and coffee or tea.

Central and eastern Europe

  • Germany & Austria. The typical German breakfast consists of bread rolls, butter, jam, ham, soft-boiled eggs and coffee. Cereals have become popular, and regional variation is significant — cheeses, cold cuts, meat spreads, yogurt, granola and fruit (fresh or stewed) may appear, as well as eggs cooked to order (usually at smaller hotels or bed-and-breakfasts). A second breakfast is traditional in parts of Germany, notably Bavaria (there also called Brotzeit, literally "bread time").
  • Hungary. Hungarians usually have a large breakfast. It consists of bread, bread rolls or crescent-shaped bread (kifli), toast, pastries with different fillings (sweet and salty as well), butter, jam or honey, eggs in different forms (fried eggs/scrambled eggs/omelette, etc), salami, cold cuts, cheeses, hot dogs with mustard, tea, coffee or milk. Fruit juice in the morning is not that usual, hot drinks are more common. Hungarians sometimes have rice pudding called (tejberizs) or cream of wheat (tejbegriz), usually eaten with cocoa powder or cinnamon sugar. "Lecsó" made from tomatoes and green pepper can sometimes be a breakfast meal as well, mainly in the summer.
  • Poland. Traditional, weekend breakfast may consist of scrambled or fried eggs, or curd cheese with herbs (twarożek), sandwiches or "milk soup" - cereals with milk or in some regions milk with broken bread; regional alternatives include pancakes, salads or sandwiches with various pastes (fish paste, egg paste etc.) Black pudding or sausage is sometimes eaten, usually by itself. Modern breakfast consists of a meat, cheese or jam sandwich, with coffee (roasted grain beverage is still popular), tea, kefir or soured milk, or juice as a beverage. Second breakfast, which replaces lunch at work, is similar or identical the actual breakfast.
  • Romania. The traditional Romanian breakfast consists of bread, cold plates such as mortadella and cheese, feta cheese, cucumber, tomatoes and eggs prepared as an omelette or sunny side up. Also, black coffee or tea usually are served. In addition, natural juice or yogurt are always[citation needed] taken in as an option.
  • Switzerland. Swiss breakfasts are often similar to those eaten in neighboring countries. A notable breakfast food of Swiss origin, now found throughout Europe, is muesli.

Southern Europe

Typical Italian drink for breakfast.
Typical breakfast from Balkans
  • France. In France a typical domestic breakfast will consist of cups of coffee, often café au lait, or hot chocolate, usually served in big bowls, accompanied by a glass of orange or grapefruit juice. The main food consists of sweet products such as tartines (slices of baguette or other breads spread with butter, jam or chocolate paste), sometimes dunked in the hot drink. Brioches and other pastries such as croissants, pains au chocolat and pains aux raisins are also traditional. Other products such as breakfast cereals, fruit compote, fromage blanc, and yogurt are becoming increasingly common as part of the meal. A typical French breakfast does not include any savory product.
  • Greece. Various kinds of pastry constitute the traditional Greek breakfast. Tyropita, spanakopita, and bougatsa (particularly in Northern Greece) are eaten, usually accompanied with Greek coffee. Simpler breakfasts include honey, marmalade or nutella cream (as well a Greek variation thereof, Merenda) spread over slices of bread. Children typically drink chocolate or plain milk.
  • Albania, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Macedonia. Breakfast usually consists of various kinds of savory or sweet pastry, with cheese, meat or jam filling. The most typical breakfast consists of two slices of burek and a glass of drinkable yoghurt or ayran. Breakfast also often consists of open sandwiches. The sandwich is buttered (with margarine), with toppings such as prosciutto and yellow cheese.
  • Turkey In Turkey, breakfast consists of fresh white sourdough bread, white cheese (feta), yellow cheese (kaşar), fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, black and/or green olives, butter, honey, clotted water buffalo cream (kaymak) preserves, soujouk, salami, pastirma and a boiled egg — all accompanied by hot black tea in small tulip-shaped glasses. Breakfasts can be very elaborate for company or on weekends, and may include a variety of breads, pastries, and spreads, and several fresh fruits and vegetables in season, but the essential breakfast ingredients for almost every Turk on a daily basis are bread, cheese, olives, and tea.
  • Italy. The traditional breakfast in Italy is simply Caffè e latte (hot coffee with milk) or coffee with bread or rolls, butter, and jam — known as prima colazione or just colazione. Fette biscottate (a cookie-like hard bread often eaten with butter and jam) and biscotti (cookies) are commonly eaten. Children drink hot chocolate, plain milk, or hot milk with very little coffee. If breakfast is eaten in a bar (coffee shop), it is composed of cappuccino e brioche (frothed hot milk with coffee, and a pastry) or espresso and pastry. Other products such as breakfast cereals, fruit compote (macedonia), muesli and yogurt are becoming increasingly common as part of the meal. It is very common for some Italians, mainly from the Central and Southern regions, to have a quick breakfast snack during the morning (typically a panino, or bread roll).
  • Malta. On the island of Malta breakfast is similar to that of Britain. Usually the Maltese start their day with a bowl of cereal mixed with milk, or with a cup of either coffee or tea. Toasted bread with butter, marmalade/jams or even nutella is also very common.Today cereal bars are becoming also a common type of breakfast on the island. The traditional English breakfast with eggs, sausages and fried bacon is also popular in Malta especially during the weekend.
  • Spain. The Spanish word for "breakfast", "desayuno", means "de-fast", breaking the fast. In French,"déjeuner" is "lunch", and "breakfast" is known as "petit déjeuner" or "déjeuner du matin". In Central Spain the traditional breakfast is chocolate con churros — hot chocolate with Spanish-style fritters, which are extruded sticks of doughnut-like dough with a star-shaped profile. The chocolate drink is made very thick and sweet. In Madrid, churros are somewhat smaller and shaped like a charity ribbon. This meal is normally served in cafeterias. In the South and West it is more common to have a cup of coffee (usually with milk) and a toast with a choice of olive oil and salt, tomato and olive oil, butter, jam, pâté, jamón serrano (cured ham), and other options like sobrasada (a raw cured spiced sausage that is easy to spread), and in Andalucia, pringá. Freshly squeezed orange juice is widely available in most places as an alternative for coffee. The breakfast is not often larger than these two items, because usually in late morning there is a break known as almuerzo when there is a snack. Sometimes, toast is replaced with galletas (a type of cookies made with flour, sugar, oil and vanilla flavour), magdalenas (a Spanish version of the French madeleine made with oil instead of butter) or buns.
  • Portugal. A Portuguese pequeno-almoço comes in two varieties: one eaten running to work and another, more time-consuming one, more common on the weekends. When rushed in the morning, a cup of yogurt, milk, coffee or both and some bread with butter, cheese or jam suffices. Given the time, additions include orange juice, croissants, different kinds of pastry, and/or cereal.

Latin America

Latin American breakfasts feature many items seen in North American and Continental European breakfasts in regional variations, according to their own culture.

In northern South America, maize-based breads, such as tortillas or arepas, may dominate or be augmented with wheat breads or pastries. Caffè, caffè e latte, chocolate, and tea are common beverages.


In Argentina and Uruguay, breakfast consists mainly of some drink: espresso coffee, café con leche, or Mate (beverage). There are also croissants or facturas with or without dulce de leche, filled churros, french bread with jam and/or butter, slim grilled sandwiches of ham and cheese known as tostados, and sweet cookies or crackers. The breakfast varies from province to province, beign more substantial and elaborate in the south or Argentina.


Brazilians use the term café-da-manhã (morning coffee) or, less often, desjejum (des-, un + jejum, fast, fasting) to refer to breakfast. Morning meals are different in the various regions of Brazil. Black coffee, cow milk, yogurt and white cheese are quite popular, and so are fruit juices (especially orange, guava, mango, cashew and passion fruit). The coffee or juice accompanies french bread or sliced bread with jam or butter, grilled sandwiches of ham and cheese called misto-quente, slices of cake such as corn cake, orange cake and carrot cake. As for children, the most popular are sweet cookies or crackers with jam, toasts with fruit compote called tostadinha or torrada com geléia/compota accompanying chocolate milk or hot chocolate,"mingau", a hot porridge made with cow's milk, corn starch, sugar and vanilla with cinnamon sprinkled on top, as well as cornflakes or sucrilhos (frosted flakes) with milk. In the Southern States, adults use to drink a steaming yerba mate infusion in a typical gourd, called chimarrão. The cold version is called tereré.


In Chile, breakfast is a light meal consisting of milk, coffee or tea, juice (typically orange), and two types of bread: marraqueta and hallulla, or toasts. They are accompanied with marmalade, manjar, butter, cheese, ham, margerine, eggs, avocado, cream or jelly.

Costa Rica

In Costa Rica breakfast is traditionally Gallo Pinto which is beans and rice with cilantro, onion, and pepper. Although pinto beans are sometimes used, black beans are more common. Some people may add natilla (sour cream), and a corn tortilla. Black coffee or coffee with milk are the preferred beverages, although orange juice is also common. Usually breakfasts are complimented with things like avocado, ham or some type of cold meat like sausages or salchichón, cheese, bread, eggs, etc. Some of these things are interchangeable, like tortillas for bread, or natilla for Salsa Lizano (a sauce commonly used in Costa Rican cuisine).


Breakfast in urban areas traditionally consisted of café con leche that was sweetened and included a pinch of salt. Toasted buttered Cuban bread, cut into lengths, was dunked in the coffee. In rural Cuba, farmers ate roasted pork, beans and white rice, café con leche and cuajada sweetened with caramel.[6]


In Colombia there are various breakfast staples. In the Cundinamarca region people eat changua: a soup of milk, scallions, and cheese. In the Tolima region, a tamal tolimense is eaten in the company of hot chocolate and arepas. Tamales tolimenses are made with rice, dry legumes, beef, chicken and pork, egg, potato, and seasonings, covered with a maize dough, cooked while wrapped in a banana leaf. In Antioquia the usual fare includes arepa (arepa antioqueña, a typically home-made corn bread), with either cheese, fried eggs, or fried meat as well as hot chocolate as drink.


In Ecuador breakfast depends on the region it is served. Along the Pacific Coast (Litoral) breakfast mainly consists of strong black coffee brewed in a special little aluminium pot (café de olla), fried plantain and white hard cheese made locally. It can include also an omelette and fresh fruit juices. In the highlands (Sierra) breakfast may include some black coffee or herbal teas (infusiones) with some fresh bread rolls, scramble eggs and even a kind of corn called mote.

Dominican Republic

In Dominican Republic the main dish for breakfast is called mangu (mashing boiled plantains). It is prepared with ground plantain mixed with butter and is usually eaten with salami, fried cheese, eggs (fried eggs or scrambled eggs). This dish is usually accompanied by cafe con leche, hot chocolate, or juice. Another main breakfast dish is the sandwich, prepared with cheese, ham, salami, or scrambled eggs. This is often accompanied with coffee, hot chocolate or juice. To make this particular sandwich the Dominican people use a bread called pan de agua (water bread—a simple bread made with water, flour, yeast, and salt). Other kinds of bread are also used to make this simple meal.


In the past, when Mexico's population was predominantly rural and agricultural, breakfast tradition included a light desayuno of hot beverages and breads at dawn and a heavier almuerzo mid-morning, with egg dishes such as huevos rancheros, chilaquiles, meats, beans, tortillas, pastries, and fruits. Commercial cereals are widely spread now, and consumed in the belief of nutrition factors, regarding of it being a product of marketing. Today, almuerzo generally means "lunch," and the Mexican breakfast may be the lighter or heavier version, depending on the person or occasion. Menudo, a tripe stew considered a folk remedy for a hangover, has become a breakfast dish as well as one eaten at other meals.

As in other countries, breakfast in Mexico varies by region. In the north it is usual to eat salchicha con huevo (scrambled eggs with sausage) or machaca con huevo (scrambled eggs with beef jerky, in some places also called machacado), these with wheat tortillas. In the central and southern regions of the country corn tortillas are used. Most breakfast dishes in the state of Veracruz are called antojitos (this word can be used for other meals, which consist of pastries made with corn flour) and are very fatty. The most common ones are picadas (or pellizcadas, a tortilla with a sauce, onion and fresh cheese topping) and "empanadas" (tortillas filled with an ingredient like cheese, chicken or huitlacoche), in the northwest birria (beef or goat stew) and barbacoa (steamed beef or lamb) are also very popular.


Traditional breakfast from many years ago: orange juice, scrambled eggs with black beans or fried eggs with chirmol (English: salsa), "fresh" cheese (fresh doesn't mean is fresh but rather is the name of the cheese) and tortillas or bread. For desert, either banana with cream and honey or sugar, or fried plantains with fried black beans and cream, with coffee and pastry (they like dipping the pastry in the coffee).

Middle East


In the "Mashriq", breakfast varies greatly according to taste, but a typical breakfast consists of tea or instant coffee, juice, a morning salad (cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, mint and olive oil), pita bread dipped in rich labneh, a type of yogurt, or in olive oil and za'atar. Hummus, Ful medames and Falafel are more common on the weekends. Other breakfast items include a variety of olives, cheeses, especially Goat Cheese, variety of vegetables, cereals, jams and pastries.


In Iran, varieties of Iranian flatbreads (naan), Iranian feta cheese (panir-e irani) or Persian feta cheese, butter (kareh), a variety of traditional marmalades (morabba) or jams, honey (angebin or asal), cream (sar sheer (سرشیر)) and hot tea are essential breakfast foods. Other foods, such as heavy cream, walnuts, hard and soft boiled eggs, and omelettes are also popular for breakfast. Traditionally, a choice of butter and cheese, butter and marmalade, heavy cream and honey, butter and honey, or cheese and walnuts are rubbed on fresh bread and folded into bite-sized sandwiches and are to be consumed with hot tea. The tea is preferably sweetened with sugar. Another breakfast food, which is usually consumed between the hours of three to five in the morning, in winter, is called halim. Halim is a combination of wheat, cinnamon, butter and sugar cooked with either shredded turkey/chicken or shredded lamb in huge pots. It is served hot and cold, but preferably hot. Almost everywhere in the country, especially in colder regions, a lamb head stew (kale pache) is consumed, usually on the early hours of weekend (Friday mornings).


In Lebanon, there are several types of breakfast, including include labneh, mankoucheh, lahm bi ajin, kichek, and knefeh.


Flat bread is the universal bread throughout Egypt, similar to pita. It can be made with either refined white flour, or whole wheat flour with bran added. In Egypt the traditional breakfast is ful medames: slow cooked fava beans (sometimes with lentils) dressed in olive oil, lemon juice and garlic. Falafel made of fava beans are also very popular as a breakfast. Eggs prepared in various ways are also consumed, such as hard boiled, fried, scrambled. When fried, they can be accompanied by fresh sausage (bought from a butcher) or spicy dry sausages (available at groceries), or bastirma. People on the move can have a variety of sandwiches for breakfast. These can include feta type soft cheese, romano type dry cheese, various jams (dates, fig, strawberry, orange, bitter orange, mandarine oranges, quince, carrot), honey, halva made from tahini and even a combination of butter and sugar sandwiches.


An Israeli breakfast typically consists of coffee, orange juice, fresh vegetables salad, goats/cows cream cheese, fresh bread or toast, olives, butter, fried eggs of your choice, and some small cookies or slices of cake. For an even fuller breakfast it might include hard-boiled eggs, cottage cheese, quark cheese, and Israeli salad. Another type of breakfast would be fried dough, malawach served with sweet fruits or something spicier. Hotels with continental breakfasts, in addition to the aforementioned items, will usually serve many different kinds of fish and yogurts, as well as a dish of egg and spicy tomatoes known as shakshuka.



Traditional breakfasts in the United States and Canada derive from the full English breakfast and other European breakfast traditions[citation needed] and feature predominantly sweet or mild-flavored foods, mostly hot. Typical items include hot oatmeal porridge, grits (in the South), other hot grain, porridges, egg sausage or small link sausages, pan-fried potatoes (hash browns), biscuits, toast, pancakes, waffles, bagels, French toast, cornbread, potato pancakes, English muffins, pastries (such as croissants, doughnuts, and muffins), and fresh or stewed fruits of various types (stone, citrus, etc.). Steak may be served with eggs on the traditional menu. Cold cereal has become nearly ubiquitous in recent decades, and yogurt is widely popular. Coffee, tea, milk and fruit juices are standard breakfast beverages.

Grits are usually part of a Southern breakfast in the United States

Many regions of the U.S.A. have local breakfast specialties that are less popular nationally. In the South, homemade biscuits served with country-style gravy (also called sawmill gravy), country ham and red eye gravy and grits are one traditional breakfast menu; the Southwest has huevos rancheros and spicy breakfast burritos; scrapple is a favorite in the Mid-Atlantic states; Salmon bagels are popular in the Northwest and pork roll is rarely available outside New Jersey and Philadelphia; and New Englanders still occasionally indulge in fried salt-pork, and pie. Fried eggs with bacon or sausage and American cheese on a seeded kaiser roll is a popular breakfast sandwich in parts of New York. Many Soul food breakfast menus across the country include fried chicken wings, catfish, pork chops and salmon croquettes [2]. Specialty items also vary in popularity regionally, such as linguiça sausage and Spam in Hawaii, crab cakes in southern New England and the Mid-Atlantic regions, andouille sausage, chicory coffee, Chisesi ham and beignets in Louisiana, chorizo in the Southwest, lox and smoked salmon in the Northwest, goetta in Greater Cincinnati.

United States' breakfast customs derive from those of rural England in the 18th century, and some divergences probably reflect changes in the latter since that time. For example, modern English hot breakfasts commonly include lightly fried tomato slices or a sauteed whole mushroom, but neither are found in the U.S. Breakfast kippers are also unknown in the U.S. On the other hand, the steak-and-eggs breakfast is rare in England and probably a recent American import. While crumpets are eaten in the U.S. they are called "English muffins", and are therefore most likely a later import from British practice.

Some regions of Canada especially Quebec, New Brunswick and Parts of Eastern Ontario will commonly include maple syrup with crêpes, French toast, pancakes, or waffles.

Hotels now often serve breakfast buffets for a fixed price, or offer sweet rolls, cereal, and coffee as a free "continental" breakfast. Traditionally, hotel breakfasts were made to order at a restaurant or by rooms service. Omelettes made to order are also an option.

American Breakfast.jpg


Scrambled eggs and pre-made pastries

Today, most Americans and Canadians eat a reduced breakfast most days, but may still enjoy a traditional hearty breakfast on weekends, holidays, and vacations. Having only coffee or skipping breakfast entirely is also common. Eating out for breakfast or brunch is common on weekends and holidays.

Eggs are strongly associated with breakfast.

Waffles with fruit and sausage patties are a contemporary hearty breakfast, and would likely be enjoyed on a weekend or special occasion.

A typical contemporary combination of food for a hearty breakfast consists of eggs (fried or scrambled), one type of meat, and one or two starchy dishes; commonly hash browns and toast. A more basic breakfast combination would be a starchy food (such as toast, pastry, breakfast cereal, oatmeal, pancakes, or waffles) either alone or served with fruit and yogurt. This second option, similar to the Continental breakfasts served in Europe, is especially common in institutional situations where serving hot food is difficult, expensive, or impractical.

Restaurants that serve breakfast typically base their menus around egg dishes and pork meats such as sausage, ham and bacon. Pancakes and waffles are also popular. An assemblage commonly known as a country breakfast in restaurants consists of eggs or omelette, sausage or bacon, hash browns, sausage gravy, coffee, biscuits or toast with jam or jelly, and fruit juice.

A typical breakfast for those that eat ordinary breakfast as a home meal is instant oatmeal or a cold breakfast cereal with milk.

A urban commuter's breakfast often consists only of coffee and prepared food purchased on the way to work or brought from home, eaten during the morning commute or at the workplace just before clocking in. Food items that fit this eat-on-the-go strategy include various sweet breakfast breads and pastries, bagels (often with cream cheese), sweetened flavored yogurt cups, smoothies and milkshakes, fresh fruit, granola or "energy" bars, toaster pastries, and fast food. Many fast food restaurants sell breakfast versions of their typical offerings that include eggs and are usually sweeter and less spicy. Examples of such breakfasts-to-go are: egg-filled sandwiches on croissants, biscuits or muffins, and breakfast burritos filled with eggs, cheese and sometimes sausage.

Healthier breakfasts are gaining in popularity in some parts of the country such as California, featuring yogurt, whole-grain cereal, fresh fruit or egg-white omelets.

Coffee is the most common breakfast beverage. In the United States, 65% of coffee drunk during the day is with breakfast.[7] Also common are tea, milk, hot chocolate, orange juice, and other fruit juices (grapefruit, tomato, etc). Occasionally, caffeinated carbonated beverages may be substituted for the more traditional coffee or tea. Espresso drinks such as cappuccino and latte have become increasingly popular since the 1990s. In Washington State and British Columbia, the cappuccino and latte are the default way of buying coffee for breakfast.

The modern options typical of the U.S.A. and Canada are representative of Western-style breakfasts that have become common worldwide, especially in industrialized nations.

Breakfast is thought as the foods typically eaten during morning hours, that are distinct from other foods even if eaten outside of the morning. In this sense, some serve breakfast for dinner. There are several fast food and casual dining chains in North America, such as IHOP and Denny's, that specialize in hearty breakfast-style foods, such as pancakes and country breakfasts, and offer them all day. Like greasy spoons in the UK, American coffeeshops and diners typically serve breakfast foods all day.


As the preceding regional descriptions show, beverage choices at breakfast are fairly uniform worldwide, comprising

  • Fruit juices (orange juice is popular),
  • Milk (hot, cold, possibly cultured), milk analogue or hot soya bean milk in Vietnam and China,
  • Hot caffeinated and non-caffeinated beverages (tea, coffee, and chocolate).

Cultures around the world commonly shun or restrict alcoholic beverages at breakfast. (Alcohol is a depressant and a psychoactive drug, and so its effects might not be desired during working hours.) Notable exceptions would be the Mimosa cocktail: champagne and orange juice (known as Buck's Fizz in the UK); Bloody Mary cocktail: vodka and spiced tomato juice; and Liqueur coffee: a coffee brew with a 25 ml (1 imp fl oz; 1 US fl oz) shot of liqueur, which generally has a lower alcohol content than spirits (around 15 to 30%). Still, a Mimosa is normally served at brunch, and rarely consumed before 10 am. Another notable exception is the Champagne breakfast, a full western breakfast accompanied by sparkling white wine; usually saved for special occasions.


Breakfast has commonly been practiced worldwide and is a concept easily transferred between cultures, but there have been many regional interpretations over the years. In Medieval Europe, for instance, the basic format of meals differed from what is currently 'standard', in that only two meals were to be had – a heavy dinner at noon and a light supper, largely due to the influence of the Church.

However, exceptions existed, most notably for children and the infirm. They were allowed a small breakfast meal, and many labourers, farmers, and other physical workers also took the meal despite criticism and social pressure on them not to, and by the 15th century even the nobility had begun to ignore the rules and mores of polite society and took breakfast.[8]

The earliest appearance in print of the idea that "breakfast is the most important meal of the day" occurs in the novella Metamorphosis, published in 1915 by Franz Kafka, which includes the line, "for Gregor's father, breakfast was the most important meal of the day".


Some restaurants devote themselves to breakfast or have special breakfast menus. The field is dominated on one hand by greasy spoons, diners, cafés, cafeterias, and fast food places, and by hotels. However, some breakfast places resemble standard restaurants in procedure, selection, and price.

Special occasions

The serving of a pancake breakfast is traditional on Pancake Day (Shrove Tuesday), and some celebrate a festive breakfast on Christmas morning.[citation needed]

See also


Further reading

Rampersaud G.C., Pereira M.A., Girard B.L., Adams J. and Metzl J.D.; Breakfast habits, nutritional status, body weight, and academic performance in children and adolescents. J. Am. Diet. Assoc., May; 105(5):743-60, 2005. Abstract in PubMed

External links

Simple English

A typical English breakfast

Breakfast is the first meal of the day. It is usually eaten in the morning. The word comes from two other words; "break" ("end") and fast ("not eating for a long time").

Definition: [1463] from break (v.) + fast (n.). Cf. Fr. déjeuner "to breakfast," from L. dis-jejunare "to break the fast."

People around the world eat different things for breakfast:

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