Get rid of the ho-hum and mix it up in the morning by adding some exotic breakfast recipes to your family repertoire. Camilla M. Mann of Culinary Adventures with Camilla shares her tips and recipe links for traveling the world one dish at a time.
Towards the end of last school year, one of my boys’ teachers wanted to reward his class with a pancake breakfast. Knowing that I’ve taught several cooking electives over the years, he asked for my help. “Can you whip up some pancake batter and bring it in? I’ll take care of cooking them.”
“Ummmm,” I hesitated. Then I took a deep breath and admitted, “I can’t make pancakes…not even the batter.”
“What kind of help?”
“Well, mine don’t puff up…except at altitude. The only place my family requests my pancakes is when we are at Lake Tahoe!”
As a pancake flunkee, I needed some breakfast alternatives for my family. So, as part of our Cooking Around the World Adventure, we began exploring how people from all around the globe eat to start their day.
American breakfasts run the gamut, but eggs, potatoes, and bacon or sausage is the common trinity. Breakfast foods around the world vary more wildly. So, with a little research and an adventurous spirit, you can add some international flair to your morning table.
In China, traditional breakfasts vary from region to region, but dim sum and hot soups are popular – such as this Mushroom Ginger Oat Congee. I loved discovering a savory way to enjoy oatmeal because brown sugar and raisins can get tiresome week after week. Brazilians also indulge in a savory soup for breakfast. Feijoada is a thick soup made with meat and black beans.
Breakfast in Colombia centers on the arepa, a dense corn cake that can be served with a smear of butter or topped with eggs, meat, or jam. I have stuffed them with cheese and even made a version with blood sausage – Arepas De Queso Con Morcilla.
Cubans typically grill and butter their bread, then dunk it into café con leche. Like Cubans, the French also have coffee and bread – either baguette or croissant – in the morning.
For breakfasts in India, you might find a tray crowded with chutneys, dips, and breads such as dosa, roti, or idli. We enjoyed Aloo Tiki and have made them multiple times with different savory condiments.
Several countries include pickled vegetables in their morning repertoire. Traditional breakfasts in Japan include rice, miso soup, fish, and omelet alongside some pickled vegetables. Here’s a kinpura gobo that we made with carrots and burdock root. And a Korean breakfast looks remarkably similar to a Korean dinner: rice, soup, some kind of protein, maybe leftovers from dinner the night before, and the ubiquitous kimchi.
Also on the savory side, breakfasts in Spain might include Pan con Tomate, toast with a tomato spread. For those who prefer sweet breakfasts, street vendors in Spain peddle churros. We made a Andorran churro, Xurro, during our tabletop travel.
When we explored the cuisine of Scandinavia, we discovered that a typical breakfast at home in Denmark might include an open-face sandwich layered with fish or meat, cheese, and vegetables such as a cucumber or tomato. Those are called Smørrebrød.
And, when we were discussing our cultural heritage, we circled back to pancakes as my mother-in-law is half-Swedish and half-Portuguese. So, I gathered some courage and made Swedish pancakes.
Cooking breakfasts from around the world may have begun because I make terrible pancakes. But we’ve continued because we love learning more about other cultures through the foods that they eat.
Are you stuck in a breakfast rut? Why not try a few of my suggested exotic breakfast recipes?