If you are travelling from different parts of the world, then making the most of the breakfast spread at your London hotel or at Lancaster Bed and Breakfast may come as a shock to you. The British often take for granted that a number of countries would consider a hunk of black pudding to be quite a horrifying breakfast addition, like how a Londoner visiting Japan may be shocked by a sushi-spread at 8am. Well, to ensure you know what to expect when travelling the world, here are some of the typical breakfast foods from across the globe.
A prime example of a typical full English breakfast item that is totally uncommon in other countries is Black Pudding. It is a type of blood sausage originating in the United Kingdom and Ireland which is made out of pork blood, with pork fat or beef suet, and cereal of some sort, like oatmeal, oat groats or barley groats. Though this seems like quite an unusual combination of ingredients for those who haven’t tried it, it comes as complete second-nature for your average Brit to see it on the breakfast menu. It is always worth experiencing something new, so why not see if you can order it the next time you find yourself making the most of Central London accommodation?
The Scottish dish of haggis is another breakfast food that comes to mind, which although similar to Black Pudding is a dish in its own right. It’s a savoury pudding, made out of sheep’s pluck, finely diced onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt. It is traditionally encased in the animal’s stomach, but in modern times an artificial casing is often used as an alternative.
United States of America
Though you are probably able to find a waffle just about everywhere in the world, you will find that most of the time, it is in a dessert bar or a sweet afternoon treat. Though not inherently sweet – it is all about the toppings – they tend to be eaten more in this environment. In the USA, however, it is not unheard of to tuck into a waffle at breakfast-time. Another classic American combination is eating items like pancakes with maple syrup and bacon.
America is a big place, so it is not shocking that the different parts of it have their own traditions as if they were their own country. A popular Southern breakfast dish is biscuits and gravy. It is a simple dish which combines soft dough biscuits and either sawmill or meat gravy which is made with cooked pork sausage drippings and bits of sausage, bacon, ground beef, or other meat. The biscuits are not what people in the UK would call a biscuit. In fact, they are more reminiscent of the scones you’d find from afternoon tea London offers.
A traditional Japanese breakfast includes a lot of food which Westerners would consider to be more appropriate for lunch or dinner. But when in Japan, you need to do things the way they do – it is the best way to really get a taste for the culture. A Japanese breakfast spread will include steamed rice, miso soup, some sort of protein like grilled fish, and various side dishes. Side dishes include items like nori, the dried seaweed you find in your sushi, natto, fermented soybeans and even a leafy-green salad. Another popular Japanese breakfast dish is tamagoyaki, which is basically an omelette. However, it is expertly woven up tight to make more of a cake. You can expect all your items to come in small, compartmentalised containers like a bento box, and that you will need to use chopsticks!
South Africa is a melting pot of cultures, so you will struggle to find anyone who can pin down one sort of “typical” breakfast food. Like anywhere, it would depend on where you are visiting. However, quite a unanimous breakfast-time food is a “rusk”, which is essentially a scone-type, twice-baked bread, dried to the point that it can only be eaten when dunked in a hot beverage.
In the way that a lot of Japanese food and food culture centres around rice, South African cuisine similarly centres around maize-meal, which is a fine, coarse flour made from maize corn plants. It is then made into carbohydrate-dense, gloopy substance which is served in similar portion-sizes to a side of mashed potatoes. At breakfast time, this would likely be served with tomato salsa and a boerewors sausage, which is usually ground pork and beef blend.
Breakfast in China is not all that dissimilar from what you would be tempted to eat at other mealtimes, like stuffed buns or noodles. The dish congee is very popular for breakfast in China, especially in the South. It is primarily made with rice – though some also use cornmeal, millet, sorghum and the likes – and has the consistency of porridge. It is a savoury porridge, though, so instead of adding toppings like berries or honey, you would add pickled vegetables and bamboo shoots.
Off from mainland China, you will also be able to experience ‘The Hong Kong Brunch’, which is almost an institution as much as it is a meal-time. It is all about variety, indulgence and decadent flavours. They often come in an all-in format, with free-flowing fizz to go with it. Some of the dishes you will be able to choose from at a traditional Hong Kong buffet breakfast are noodles, egg and luncheon meat or satay beef, or even Peking duck. The attitude is very much of the “if you fancy it, you can probably have it for breakfast” variety when in Hong Kong.
So whether you have a hotel room waiting at the Lancaster Gate Hotel or in Tokyo, you have a general idea of what sort of food you can expect across the world and means that wherever you go, you will have at least an inkling of what to look out for! If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, then you ought to ensure you are always doing it like a local to make the most of your travel experience.