What do you think of when you hear the word “breakfast”? I think of two eggs, sunny side up. Sometimes I think of a Tamal Tolimense, others I think of Changua. This all roots from my Colombian background. Each week, my mother would order three tamales from the local tamal lady. She would deliver them to our house for Sunday breakfast. The meaning of “Breakfast” depends on your geo-location. Let’s take a tour of Breakfast in a few places of the world I have visited:
Argentina: While I was in Mendoza, we broke fast with facturas. These are sweet pastries touched with dulce de leche (a sweet paste made of milk and sugar). We washed this down with either coffee or hot chocolate.
Colombia: I touched upon what is eaten in Colombia in the intro. On regular days we’d eat eggs much as it is done in the US. We did have one cool variation: huevos pericos (scrambled eggs with scallions and tomatoes). Sometimes if there is leftover ground beef, we’d throw this in too. Ground beef is very different in Colombia. We ground ours by hand. The result was a grainy ground beef, very different in texture and taste. If you were really hungry, you’d put this on top of an arepa (a patty made of ground corn) which would be washed down with homemade hot chocolate (delicious stuff).
Costa Rica: In 2005 I visited the Guanacaste area of Costa Rica. I stayed at a lovely place called Los Altos De Eros (I seriously recommend that you stay there – amazing experience). I am thinking I’ll make this breakfast over the weekend: gallos pintos (rice and beans topped with chopped cilantro and onions) which everyone doused with Salsa Lizano. Similar to Colombia’s Aguapanela, In Costa Rica we drank agua dulce which is basically warm water sweetened with concentrated cane juice.
Egypt: During my childhood, my parents rented out the back apartment of our house. Our tenants were a lovely Egyptian family. Their matriarch, Faika, is an amazing cook (and she loved to feed us). She would sneak us ful medames; beans which she cooked slowly and then flavored with olive oil, lemon and garlic. I loved hearing her knock at our door.
Filipines: This is a great country for food. Breakfast in the Philippines are quite delectable. Eggs are also a popular staple and are served corned beef, meat loaf or hotdog partnered with rice or bread. Daing, a dry salted fish, is often a protagonist at the breakfast table.
France: I absolutely love the simplicity of a French breakfast: a baguette from one of the numerous bakeries, a little butter, jam and a cafe au lait. If you’re not in the mood for a baguette you can pick up a pain au chocolat or a croissant.
Greece: My mom’s second marriage was to a Greek. The eating was good (especially at…yes…his brother’s diner). They were not particularly stuck to a Greek breakfast, but we loved nothing more than a good spinach and feta omelet with a Nescafe frappe (instant coffee with milk and ice).
Japan: I always wondered what breakfast in Japan would be. I imagined it must have a completely different flavor profile to that of the US. Breakfast in Japan usually involves tea, and asa-gohan (morning rice accompanied by dishes such as tofu, seaweed, pickles, fish and soup).