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Breakfasts around the world: sweet vs. savory

Sure we have bacon and eggs, but we also have cereals.

Every time I watch a travel food show that goes someplace other than Western Europe, it strikes me how different, and often savory, the breakfasts in other parts of the world are.

Have you noticed more emphasis on savory? What really different kinds of breakfasts in other countries do you really like, and what don't work for your palate?

(I know plenty of countries have buns, but there are also places that emphasize things like spicy fish stew... I think it was fish... items I'm not often ready for till dinner somehow.)

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  1. Vegemite, to be eaten on toast as we in the US eat jelly - Thanks, but No Thanks. While visiting Australia, I was told it's a staple on the breakfast table; and that was the case, as every morning, it would be on the table of various hotel restaurants - in those individual jelly-type containers (as found in the US). Thankfully, for my likes, jelly/jam was along side.

    (Certainly no offense intended to those of you down-under! I loved the Snowy Mountains in (your) early spring!)

    1 Reply
    1. re: CocoaNut

      That was my first reaction when my father brought back a jar of Vegemite from Australia on his last trip. However, learned to put a thin layer on a (heavily) buttered piece of toast and now it's something I crave ;-)

    2. My tastebuds have really changed over the years—particularly as I've moved toward Chowhoundism—and now I vastly prefer savory breakfasts: leftovers, soup, cheeses...I'll eat just about anything for breakfast, though I still prefer (despite current nutritional wisdom) that it be the smallest meal of the day. It's not the thought of any particular flavor that puts me off early in the day; it's the thought of a large portion.

      1. In order:

        Tamales and atole in Guatemala and Mexico
        Six courses, Hainan Island, China
        Pho in Vietnam
        Capybara and rice, Pucallpa (Amazon), Peru
        Dal, naan or roti, mutton, atchara, and tea in India
        Guinea pig and rice, highland Cajamarca, Peru
        Miso soup and rice in Japan or my house
        Black beans, rice, fried cheese, Costa Rica
        Full English breakfast

        3 Replies
        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

          khao tom in Thailand - boiled rice porridge with ginger, onion, garlic, egg, meaty bits

          thukpa in Bhutan - another version of rice porridge

          aloo paratha with curd in India - spicy potato flatbread & yogurt

          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

            Roti canai or roti telur in Malaysia, YUM!

          2. In Singapore, anything goes; for example, it's perfectly ok to have nasi lemak (savoury) and kaya toast (sweet). Because hawker centres offer a diverse array of items, families may share a number of different items.

            1. I've always preferred savory to sweet, no matter the meal. I hated Cream of Wheat as a kid because of the sweetness; now, as an adult, I eat it with parmesan cheese and olive oil for breakfast on camping trips. Yum.

              I adore a traditional Japanese breakfast. Rice, pickle, miso soup, an egg or bit of grilled fish. And yes, natto!

              I think I'm one of the rare Americans who really likes Vegemite and Marmite on buttered breakfast toast. And in Sweden, our hotel breakfast buffet included tiny tubes of preserved cod roe to spread on toast, also several types of pickled herring. And cheese, and sliced meats. All of that was great. I didn't even touch the sweet stuff. Oh, and in Taipei, our hotel breakfast buffet had a Western section--we avoided that (bacon and eggs, pancakes, etc.)--and an Asian section. Congee, noodles, other foods you'd expect to see at lunch. Great way to start the day!

              2 Replies
                1. re: happycat

                  What a great idea for cream of wheat; thanks!