The Travel Facter: Breakfast ‘Round the World

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Chef Anthony Bourdain, of the Travel Channel, contemplating his next international breakfast.

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Actually, the word “dinner” means breakfast, as it comes from the Latin word disjejunare, which means “break the fast.” Confused? Let’s eat!

In Italy, the classic breakfast is a cup of perfectly prepared cappuccino or espresso with cornetto or croissant-style sweet bread. It is normally eaten standing at a bar and chatting with friends. There is a second breakfast at 11 a.m.! Sometimes, Italians enjoy melon with parma ham, cheese, or cold meats. Their vast lunches and dinners make up for the small breakfasts.

A breakfast in the Middle East consists of slow-cooked fava beans served with cumin, tahina (a sesame seed paste), and hard- boiled eggs. Also popular is labnah (cream cheese made from draining yogurt through cheesecloth). For great results: Drizzle olive oil and add black olives. Folks enjoy tameya (a type of falafel) and fatthia (butter bread). Sometimes, sticky rice or raw fish is eaten. Turkish coffee or sweet tea tops off the meal.

When you think France, the first thing that may come to mind is the croissant. Although the delish but caloric staple was invented in Austria at the end of the 17th century, it was introduced in France soon after and is part of the French culture. The French start their day with a bowl of steaming café au lait or hot chocolate and croissants or French bread (baguette or farmhouse bread) with jam and/or butter. Fruit and yogurt are now popular as well as sausages, eggs, or bacon.

A Polish breakfast is known locally as Jajecznica and consists of scrambled eggs covered with slices of custom-made kielbasa and joined by two potato pancakes. A traditional, weekend breakfast may consist of eggs and curd cheese with herbs (twarozek), sandwiches, or milk soup (cereal with milk) with broken bread. Black pudding or sausage is sometimes eaten, usually by itself. Kefir or soured milk is served as a beverage. A second breakfast, which replaces lunch at work, is similar to the actual breakfast.

In Sweden, the pannkakor (pancake) is a thin flat cake made from batter and fried like a crepe, served with a sweet, fruity filling. Also popular is a sandwich made of soft bread or crisp bread, cold cuts, caviar, cottage cheese, cream, or goat cheese; eggs, scrambled or boiled, tomatoes or cucumber; as well as cereal, muesli with milk, filmjölk (yogurt), and warm whole-grain porridge with ligonberry jam. Also: pate (leverpastej) with pickles, blueberry-soup (blabarssoppa), and rose hip soup.

A popular Indonesian breakfast is lontong sayur, a dish made of compressed rice with a spicy curry sauce and cooked vegetables, typically jackfruit (known as vegetable meat), as well as mie (noodles), deep fried redskin peanuts, and kerupuk (prawn crackers). In homes, nasi goreng is the most popular breakfast dish, accompanied with shrimp and egg. Others have bubur ayam (rice porridge) with cakwe (Chinese fried bread stick), spring onion leaves, pieces of chicken slices, some chili sauce, and sweet soy sauce.

Sue Facter owns a news agency that specializes in the luxury lifestyle brand. Her work has appeared in USA Today, Women’s Day Australia, La Mode, Maariv, and Latina, as well as on broadcasts and the web.

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Sue Facter writes about all things A-list for publications world-wide. Follow her on Twitter @TheFacter.

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