Sightseeing the World through International Breakfasts
If you think the breakfasts served at the International House of Pancakes are exotic, you haven’t seen anything yet! Let’s take a global tour of ante meridian repasts – aka breakfasts – and get a taste for how the Family of Man (and woman) likes to start the day. We’ll land on every continent and sample a variety of cultures.
Hotels around the world will get you going in the morning with some terrific – or at least different – breakfasts.
Japan. As in America, eggs are often featured on a breakfast plate in Japan; unlike in America, they are served raw rather than scrambled. They are usually served with pickled plums and radishes along with rice and baked fish. Breakfast is included at the Keio Plaza Hotel in Tokyo.
USA. We mentioned IHOP previously, so let’s officially check that one off our list. At nicer hotels such as a Hyatt, you’re going to get the real deal. The eggs won’t be raw; they’ll be scrambled. In addition, you can grab enough bacon and sausage to keep your cardiologist’s family in BMW’s. Of course, waffles and french toast add an international flare.
Mexico. Dark and delicious Mexican hot chocolate along with fresh fruit, huevos rancheros and tortillas are on the morning menu at hotels like the historic Quinta Real Oaxaca in historic Oaxaca.
Cuba. With so many hurdles to jump, traveling to Cuba isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but if you can get there, you’ll love the morning cup of cafe con leche. Served alongside is a big piece of buttery bread for dunking. Hotel Terral in Havana scores high marks.
Iran. This is another country in which diplomatic conditions make travel somewhat problematic, but if you can swing it, keep an eye out for halim. It’s a mélange of sugar, butter, wheat and cinnamon cooked up with shredded meat. Travelers give the breakfast at Escan Hotel in Teheran high marks.
Poland. Dieters won’t get any help from the traditional Polish breakfast jajecznica. Its foods could pass on a tailgating menu: kielbasa sausages, scrambled eggs and a couple of potato pancakes tossed in for good measure. The Polonia Palace Hotel in Warsaw sets out a good buffet breakfast.
Spain. The same elements that make other Spanish meals memorable highlight breakfast in Spain. Garlic, ripe tomatoes, olive oil and salt are spread over bread and topped with cheese, sausage or ham. The breakfast chef at the Hotel Arts Barcelona wows guests.
Morocco. A four- to eight-hour ferry ride from Spain will take you to Morocco where a delicious crumpet-like bread is served up with butter, cheese and jam or chutney in the morning. While you’re looking for Rick’s nightclub in Casablanca, try staying at the boutique Hotel & Spa Le Doge – Relais & Chateaux where travelers rate the breakfast “memorable.”
Brazil. Sit in the Mar Ipanema Hotel in Rio and get ready to say “ahh” as the girls in their tangas stroll by. A breakfast of breads, cheeses, meats and killer Brazilian coffee should fortify you for your trip to the Samba school.
Italy. Continuing our pilgrimage in appreciation of beautiful women’s fashions, let’s not miss breakfast in Milan at the Hotel Spadari al Duomo. It will be simple and light, allowing you to leave room for everything else you’ll be eating later in the day. A roll and a cup of cappuccino do it for most Italians.
Germany. While the Italians start out light, the opposite is true to the north where cheeses, wursts and heavier breads hold sway in the morning. The Hotel Laimer Hof in Munich is a real gem and serves a great breakfast.
France. Continuing this European leg of our culinary tour, the French breakfast offers such a variety of croissants that travelers can sample a different variety each day of the week – plain, almond, chocolate and more. Visitors love the trendy Hôtel Sublim Eiffel on the Left Bank in Paris, but if the breakfast is too pricey, head down the street a few doors to the pastisserie.
India. The subcontinent offers a great array of breakfast dishes, and it is one place where vegans will feel right at home. Typical is a tofu scramble, lentils, roasted potatoes and a specialty bread. Le Sutra Hotel in Mumbai bills itself as “The Indian Art Hotel” and also offers a free breakfast.
Kenya. While the geometry baffles Americans, the mandazi – a flat doughnut – is one of the main items on the breakfast menu in Kenya. The locals take theirs with a very milky and sweet chai tea. Enjoy breakfast and watch zebras at the Kilaguni Serena Safari Lodge in Tsavo National Park.
Australia. Later in the day, Aussies have a great tradition of throwing shrimp on the barbie, or so the tourist bureau says. However, in the morning you’re more likely to find our friends Down Under munching on Vegemite-slathered toast. The yeasty paste is –how shall we put this? – an acquired taste. Just like the extended stay hotel in your hometown offers little packets of Smucker’s jams and jellies, your lodging in Brisbane, perhaps the Spicers Balfour Hotel, will have packets of Vegemite available at breakfast.
As promised at the outset, we’ve covered all of the continents, except Antarctica, if you’re keeping score. There are no hotels there; however, we suspect that the scientists stuck in Antarctica enjoy breakfast much like the astronauts do. Perhaps they even drink Tang.