The most important meal of the day is often the first meal of the day, but it doesn’t mean that it’s the same for everyone in the world. Most of us would be familiar with a western breakfast: some toast, a side of butter or jam, some fruit, and a cup of warm coffee, tea, or milk. But what does a morning meal look like for the rest of the world?
It depends on where you are in Pakistan, but phitti, a traditional bread made with wheat and sourdough, is popular in the Gilgit-Baltistan territory. The bread was once baked over hot coals, but now it is cooked in an oven. Sometimes people add milk, eggs, and butter. It is often eaten for breakfast with tea. ;
Banitsa is what most Bulgarians prefer to have for their morning meal. A bread that can be eaten, whether hot or cold, it is filled with eggs and cheese and is served with yogurt. Many people prefer to drink a fermented grain beverage called boza or a yogurt-based beverage called ayran when eating banitsa.
In a country as large as China, you might think that breakfast meals would vary greatly. But many in the country love you tiao or fried dough sticks and soy milk, congee or rice porridge, dim sum, and hot soups. These are also available in other countries like Singapore, Taiwan, and Vietnam, where Chinese culture has had an effect.
Jamaicans prefer a breakfast that reflects their environment and culture: saltfish and ackee. Ackee is a fruit and sauteed with the salted fish, tomatoes, onions, garlic in scrambled eggs. Though it looks like it, the meal has a salty, spicy, and sweet taste that reflects the variety of this island nation.
Many of us see muesli in the healthy section of the grocery stores, but the blend of cereals, oats, nuts, raisins, and dried fruits that is often eaten with yogurt is a staple in Switzerland.
Tunisians love to eat lablabi, a spicy chickpea soup, for breakfast. The soup is sometimes thickened with bread or yogurt to make it more filling. They also put olives or a squeeze of lemon to give the soup some a sharp taste. They often eat it with poached egg, so it’s a filling morning meal that can last you throughout the day.
Malaysians love to eat nasi lemak for breakfast, a combination of rice cooked in coconut milk wrapped in pandan leaves served with fried anchovies, sambal, peanuts, cucumbers, and sometimes fried fish or chicken. The rice is sweet because of the coconut, while the sambal gives it a spicy kick.
So the next time you travel or visit another country, ditch your continental breakfast or the usual breakfast spread you usually get from those fast-food restaurants (no matter how delicious their meals could be). Try the traditional meals and dishes the country offers, and experience a variety of tastes and textures that could make you a true citizen of the world.