We chose breakfast as our aspect of culture for this project because it may not seem like an interesting topic from the surface, but becomes one as your research increases. It’s known as the most important meal of the day, after all. Every breakfast has the same purpose, to be consumed in the morning for energy. However, when you get two breakfasts from two different parts of the world, chances are they vary drastically from each other. This is because the region, its climate, resources, and other factors determine how this meal is conducted. Without daily breakfasts, our energy would be drained throughout the day, slowing down our productivity, thinking, etc. They are crucial to everyday function. You will notice the similarities and differences between breakfasts, keeping distances in mind. With that, here is a deeper look into different breakfasts from around the world.
In the Chinese culture, breakfast meals mainly consists of different soups or rice porridge. Foods like these usually supply them for a long time since it is very filling. Street vendors all over the streets sell these products and they also eat them with some sort of pastry on the side. A deep-fried product known as congee is one of the most popular pastry type foods eaten with these kind of meals. Steamed buns and dumplings are also popular breakfast foods that are normally consumed. Specific breakfast dumplings are usually smaller and “filled with pork or beef and vegetables that are eaten with chopsticks.”(TheSpruceEats). There are typically two types of steamed dumplings and buns, stuffed and unstuffed. Although noodles are usually eaten for lunch or dinner, in China it can be eaten for breakfast. Dry noodles are the most common types of noodles because they are eaten without any broth but they are usually topped with different spices and vegetables. Wonton soup is another typical breakfast item for many of the Chinese although it is also a popular appetizer in the United States. In the end, Chinese breakfasts consist of meals that are usually more savory and has a really deep/strong flavor to them. Most of the food also comes from street vendors usually sell them for an affordable price.
African breakfast foods have been cultured by European and American settlers. Northern African breakfasts consist of some sort of beverage like coffee or tea and a pastry. Fish is also common because of the easy access to ports and different spices are grown regionally. Stews and gruels are healthy based made from beans and corn. Yogurt and eggs are both other popular dishes eaten in North Africa. Known dishes called Falafel and Ful are widely eaten in Northern Africa. Falafel are “little deep-fried bean burgers served in pita bread” and Ful is a “spread or stew made from fava beans also served on pita.”(MrBreakfast). Breakfasts begin to change when headed towards East and West Africa. The meals are usually a lot simpler. Although egg dishes are popular, instead of finding the typical omelet toppings in them, they are eaten with beans or sardines. Most of the African food revolves around the country’s poverty. Most foods are simple and affordable for the locals. They love fresh fruit whenever it is available and Coconuts and Bananas are a favorite. Gruel is usually a common breakfast seen throughout Africa because it is simple, easy to make, and is also extremely affordable. It can be cooked at once and serve an entire village. Things are a little different in the suburbs of South Africa. Since it was colonized for a long time by the Europeans, they brought over the typical American breakfast and it is still prevalent today.
Vietnamese food is known for being very healthy and good for the immune system. This is because its a very agriculture and labor based country with extensive farmland. Different parts of Vietnam specialize in different tastes. For example, in the southern parts of Vietnam, the flavors tend to be sweeter. A popular breakfast dish is com tam, which is broken rice, as well as Banh Mi, which is a popular Vietnamese sandwich. Up north, dishes are more sour or salty. Pho is an icon worldwide, and was born in northern Vietnam. In Vietnam central, foods are a bit spicier. The Bun Bo Hue, a beef soup with vermicelli and rice, is a popular breakfast dish in Vietnam central.This variation of flavors and styles should be taken into consideration when thinking about a Vietnamese breakfast. Vietnam offers a large diverse amount of breakfast items that are some of the healthiest in the world. Vegetables are herbs are heavily incorporated in a lot of these dishes. If you’re burnt out in the morning, Ca Phe is your solution. It’s a kind of coffee, however, it’s exclusive to Vietnam.
While their lunches and dinners tend to be talked about more frequently among us, the people in Mexico tend to have a hearty breakfast. The most common breakfasts consist of eggs and tortilla with different sides. A dish known as Yucatan’s huevos motulenos has tortillas topped with beans, tomatoes, eggs, and cheese. Another dish called huevos a la Mexicana is a scrambled egg dish with onions, tomatoes, and green peppers to look like the Country’s flag. Notice how both of these common dishes share similar ingredients to one another. Similar to other cultures, Hispanics usually start their morning off with coffee and some sort of pastry. This pastry could either be a croissant or a churro. Some people also just prefer plain old flatbread. Down in Chile, breakfasts tend to be lighter compared to other places. A simple toast with avocado on top is usually popular but it can also be eaten with syrup and coffee. Like Africans, they also tend to enjoy fresh fruit for breakfast when it is available. Street food plays a big role for hispanics because of its availability and price. Breakfast also tends to be the cheapest meal of the day for them.
The typical breakfast for the United Kingdom is one of if not the most iconic breakfasts in the world. This is because it is well known as a specific dish and has foods that are well known globally. Unlike the other countries mentioned so far, the different foods that make up this breakfast should be especially recognizable to an American audience. Bacon, eggs, toast, and sausages are all put into an English breakfast. Even down to the drink, coffee or tea, are easily recognizable. Although these items are somewhat stereotypical for English breakfasts specifically, you’ve probably had most of them yourself, as opposed to Vietnam’s Banh Mi, Africa’s Gruel, etc. Beans, tomatoes, black / white pudding, and more can also be incorporated. It is a well rounded meal that should start the day off right, having a good amount of calories. This national dish is a staple to the people in the United Kingdom and has influenced American homes to diffuse this tradition in their own homes.
The typical Japanese breakfast is an interesting one. Not only is it healthy, but has a variety of options to choose from. Being surrounded by the sea, Japan has more of an agricultural opportunity than others may have. Grilled fish is used in Japanese breakfasts, and seaweed is extremely popular as well. Miso soup is a staple in meals in general when it comes to Japan. But what’s even more of an essential is cooked rice, known as gohan. The Japanese breakfast has other factors put into it, and may seem like a lot at face value, but aren’t intended to fill you. So in Japanese breakfasts, you won’t be getting filled with grease. Natto beans, pickled vegetables, vegetable side dishes, etc. also play a part in the meal. Eggs are utilized in many different ways for Japan. As for drinks, the Japanese will consume tea for breakfast, or more specifically, Oolong Tea. While sodas and beers are popular in Japan as well, those are drunk generally during lunch or dinner.
The breakfasts in Brazil have something very important to them: bread. More specifically, a french roll, or Pao Frances in french. Eat this with some butter spread on it or margarine, along with some coffee and you’re set. However, there’s more to that. Brazil, being a tropical region, is filled with fresh exotic fruits. Therefore, these fruits, like papayas, are introduced in these breakfasts. Granola is a pretty popular option within Brazilian communities. Fruit flavored cakes are quite common as well. You might have noticed these items and deemed them recognizable. Have you heard of Pao de queijo? It’s a Brazilian cheese roll but it sounds way more intricate. Moving on, there are several beverage options to choose from in Brazil, such as coffee, milk, and fruit juices (once more utilizing the fruits in the region). Brazil has some regional differences that influence differences in breakfasts. The Southern region specializes in bread variation and jams. The northeastern region has cornmeal and tapioca. Both regions will have a variation of tastes, but will ultimately have a Brazilian uniqueness that should be distinct and tasty.
Germany provides a more traditional breakfast for their locals. Bread, known as Brot, is usually served with butter and margarine, marmelade, honey, known as Honig, and Nutella. Wurst, which is a sausage, and Kase, which is cheese. When you picture Germany drinks you may think of beer automatically. However, a juice glass is the typical breakfast beverage, and it is known as Saft. These items can be found in the bakeries scattered across Germany in many locations, like train stations. On Saturdays and Sundays, the breakfasts change a little bit. Those days are when friends and family gather around for bread and eggs, which come in 4 general variations, being: Hard boiled, Soft boiled, fried, and scrambled. Throughout the day, their meals get more and more expansive. The German meal that’s known the most would most likely be their dinner, however, that shouldn’t leave their breakfast out of the spotlight.
India is one of the largest countries in the world, containing about one point three billion people. All of these people need something to fuel their day. Because of its size, different regions in India serve different breakfasts although they are usually similar to lunch and dinner. A normal breakfast in India would be flatbread with some kind of sauce and rice on the side. Potatoes and chutneys would also be served with this meal to add a variety of textures and flavors. The flatbread could also be replaced with dosas, which are thin crepes made of lentils, or idlis, which are steamed rice-dough pancakes. An interesting fact is that Indians prefer to eat with their hands. They obviously wash them first but they usually do not use any utensils. Filled with tons of spices, Indian meals are usually always on the healthier side. The most common ingredients in any Indian meal are rice, wheat, pulses, curries, and vegetables. Something well known about India’s flavors is that they tend to be hot when compared to other countries because of the spices that were frequent in the area.
Italian cuisine is well known throughout the world. Like most cultures talked about, Italians start their day off with coffee and some sort of pastry. Baked goods have a big reputation in Italy, especially when part of a breakfast. Caffe latte, which is hot milk with coffee is the common beverage served with fette biscottate, a hard cookie bread. Cappuccino is also a common beverage that Italians drank in the morning. If this is not enough for people, they eat other products on the side like cereal, fruits and vegetables, or yogurt. In different regions of Italy, some people used to dip their pastries in red wine instead of coffee. This is probably due to their resources around them. Wine is a big deal in Italy and it was probably easier to get instead of coffee because of the extensive amounts of it. All breakfasts in Italy are usually pastries instead of scrambled eggs with bacon like people here are used to. It is convenient for a person to stop by their local bakery and grab a quick meal to start their day. Their coffee gives them energy and the pastry will fill them up.
Breakfasts around the world are unique in their own ways due to cultural traditions, agriculture, environmental factors, etc. To the locals that consume them, they may be very small parts to their days and may be taken for granted. Through the creation of this project, we’ve not only learned about the meals of these different cultures, but we’ve also seen the contrasts of these meals. Some of them are more familiar, such as the English or even German breakfasts, which are both in Europe. Food items in the Asian breakfasts, such as the Japanese, may come across as different or even odd. Some places, like Brazil, take full advantage of their area and capitalize off of it, being the fruits that grow there. The beverages, like the Ca Phe in Vietnam, are regionally different as well. All of these breakfasts vary in tastes and sizes, making many of them very distinguishable from the rest. However, despite all of their differences, every breakfast on earth has the same purpose: to be a breakfast. Not all of them have a special drink or soup, a slice of bread or a cup of pudding on the side. As diffusion takes place, cultures can fuse and create something bigger than before. Without environmental factors, traditions, etc. all of these breakfasts would be extremely similar if not duplicate to each other. Breakfasts can set an example as an aspect of culture, but can also be put in the bigger picture of the human race; our many differences won’t be able to pull us apart from our core.
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