Waking up to a hot bowl of what-the-fuck-is-this? seems unpleasant first thing in the morning. Depending on where you may find yourself in the world, breakfast can be completely different than what you're used to. Get to know what the world eats for breakfast to avoid early morning shockers.
Australians keep it light in the morning with just toast topped with a smidgen of smelly, sour beer yeast. Good morning Vegemite! Everyone down under swears it's an acquired (good) taste but we'll just leave you guys the beer by-products while skimming the good stuff off the top.
In Spain, waking up to churros and chocolate is quite possibly the best feeling in the world. The churros aren't your Disneyland limp, lifeless sticks of cinnamon sugar. Instead, the pastry is slightly curved and dense, with a satisfying chew and a hint of sweetness. Churros are dipped in a cup filled with thick, warm chocolate that has a stretchy, almost caramel-like, consistency. The combination of these two, first thing in the morning, will give you a boner on top of the tent you're already pitching. Decide to eat dessert for breakfast and the rest of the day should pan out nicely.
This massive country's breakfast habits are split into two regional varieties. The South likes to wake up with a bowl of idlis, rice and fermented lentil cakes that look like little clouds. Idlis are served with a variety of dipping sauces that range from savory to sweet chutneys, or a perfect combo of both. The North, like the Punjab region, likes to munch on a lunch-worthy combination of bread, potatoes, cottage cheese and a spread of yogurt and various chutneys. India is massive and its breakfasts range in variety and heaviness across the country.
If you're looking to wake up and then need a nap immediately thereafter, get yourself some Turkish breakfast which comes with a whole bunch of shit. Sure they have fast, grab-and-go morning meals but if you're looking for indulgence in the a.m., this is your jam. Often set up like a buffet, the meal will consist of bread, jam and/or honey, butter, olives, tomatoes, cheese, cold cuts, yogurt, juice, eggs, and tea. After you've combined all the bits and pieces together and are properly stuffed, Turkish coffee is a good way to avoid going straight back to bed.
Nobody said you can't have sushi for breakfast but if you want to save the raw fish for later meals, a traditional Japanese breakfast consists of enough interesting little plates to keep your tongue entertained until lunch time. First up it's miso soup to get things lubed. Then, plain ol' steamed rice, which tones down the strong flavors of the rest of breakfast, which consists of natto (pungent, fermented soy beans), nori, rolled omelet, mackerel (the fishiest of fish), and an assortment of pickles.
The Full English Breakfast necessarily consists of bacon, eggs, hash browns, sausages, black pudding, beans and toast. Your body will arise empty and if the English have anything to say about it, will be out the door with every crevice stuffed full of breakfast. Combined with the abundance of food found at a traditional Sunday Roast, Mondays in England are pretty fucking lethargic as they're dedicated to nothing more than digestion. P.S. That black pudding isn't made of chocolate.
Nothing beats the luxurious simplicity of a perfectly flaky croissant. France keeps it classy with just a little butter croissant and a coffee for breakfast. Since the meals later in the day will likely be overflowing with butter and richness, a small pick-you-up in the morning is all that's necessary to set you on the path for good eats as the day rolls on.
Colombians cook up some delicious things for breakfast, and half of what makes it to the breakfast plate comes from last night's dinner. A great way to use up leftovers and make meals more efficient, Colombians normally eat beans and rice for dinner then reheat the leftovers and serve them with arepas, eggs, meat (chorizo or beef), and hot chocolate in the morning. A perfect balance of salty and sweet, the calentado (literally, “reheated”) breakfast is a great way to both reminisce on dinner and start you day off strong.
Sirniki are a morning must if vodka had anything to do with the prior evening. A fried hunk of sweet farmer's cheese, sometimes dotted with raisins, sirniki are a delightfully greasy way to welcome in the day. They are often served with sour cream and a sprinkle of sugar. Should you feel like hopping right into another shot of vodka, sirniki will be right there to soak up the excess.
The perfect Nigerian breakfast is one hell of a flavor bomb. Called acraje, the dish is a mound of deep-fried, black-eyed-peas, split down the middle and filled with spice. The fillers usually consist of a paste made from cashews, shrimp, and palm oil, and salads of tomatoes and fried shrimp, heavily spiced to jolt your taste buds from bed. To mellow things out a bit, acraje is often served with ogi, a milder corn porridge made creamy with evaporated milk.
While many countries around the world offer versions of your classic American breakfast, don't be afraid to wake up to something new. Whether it's a bowl of rice, a new pastry, or some funky fish first thing in the morning, the best part of any meal abroad is enjoying it in the company of new people. Your cereal boxes will still be waiting for you when you get home.