AskDefine | Define breakfast

Dictionary Definition

breakfast n : the first meal of the day (usually in the morning)


1 eat an early morning meal; "We breakfast at seven"
2 provide breakfast for

User Contributed Dictionary



From break + fast; to end the nightly fast.


  • /ˈbɹɛkfəst/


  1. The first meal of the day, usually eaten in the morning.
  2. A meal consisting of food normally eaten in the morning, which can include eggs, sausages, toast, bacon, etc.
    We serve breakfast all day.


first meal of the day

See also


  1. To eat the morning meal.


to eat the morning meal

Extensive Definition

Breakfast is the first meal of the day. The word derives from the idea of breaking the involuntary fast of sleep. Breakfast consists of eating food in the morning.

Etymological information

English: 1463, from break (v.) + fast (n.). Cf. Fr. déjeuner "to breakfast," from L. dis-jejunare "to break the fast." The verb is from 1679. The English word derives from the concept that sleep prevents eating, thus an involuntary fast occurs during sleep; this fast is broken by the first meal - called breakfast.


In addition to the nutritional claims, there is concern that students who do not eat breakfast perform worse in school. Research has suggested that eating a meal before noon, consisting of standard breakfast-style foods is positively correlated with improved functioning of school-aged children. Skipping breakfast is also correlated with being or becoming overweight.
The earliest record of the belief that breakfast is "the most important meal of the day" was made in the book Die Verwandlung by Franz Kafka in 1915: "Für den Vater war das Frühstück die wichtigste Mahlzeit des Tages." - "For the father, breakfast was the most important meal of the day."
There is still skepticism of this mantra however. Some people say that nutritionists are using correlation fallacy when equating breakfast with good health or good school performance. Some studies have indicated that people who go without breakfast as a diet may eat foods with higher energy concentrations (fats and sugars), which ends up being less healthy. Along the same line of thinking, it has been suggested that children who do not eat breakfast may not do so because their bodies rebel against any morning activity, including breakfast and early classes.
Another hypothesis about breakfast is that it interrupts the body's cycle between SNS activity and PSNS activity. According to this line of thought, meals are naturally taken after activity involved in either hunting, gathering, and/or preparing the food needed and deviation from this gives the bodies stresses it has not evolved to handle. The first meal of the day ends the nightly PSNS activity (which increases the burning of fat) and thus ends the intense detoxification your body goes through at night.

Typical breakfasts by world regions


  • Eritrea & Ethiopia. In Eritrea & Ethiopia, the typical breakfast consists of injera (flatbread made from teff) with condiments. Stews and porridges are also eaten.
  • Ghana. In Ghana, the typical breakfast across the country includes omelets, a very sweet and dense bread, and tea. Porridge is occasionally eaten at home, while many people purchase their breakfasts from street vendors.
  • Uganda. Different parts of Uganda serve varying breakfasts. Normally breakfast is served as a cup of tea with a variety of either warm or cold solid foods to go along with it. In central Uganda, for example, a typical breakfast would be would a cup of tea (made with milk and ginger) served with a warm meal known locally as katogo. This is a combination of green cooking bananas (matooke) mixed either in a stew from beef or in sauce from vegetables like beans. In some parts of Northern Uganda, breakfast would consist of tea and boiled cassava.


China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong

Chinese breakfasts vary greatly between different regions. Except for Hong Kong, Western types of breakfasts or their derivatives are rarely eaten. In Northern China breakfast fare typically includes huājuǎn, mántou (steamed breads), shāobǐng (unleavened pocket-bread with sesame), bāozi (steamed buns with meat or vegetable stuffing), with Dòunǎi or dòujiāng (soy milk) or tea served in Chinese style as beverages.
In Central and Eastern China, typified by Shanghai and the neighbouring Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and Anhui provinces breakfast fares include some Northern as well as Southern dishes. Typically breakfast consists of ci fan tuan, 由豆腐粉絲 → yóudoùfu fěnsī (a soup made by fried tofu and cellophane noodles), plain rice porridge (粥 → zhōu) served with numerous side dishes such as salted duck eggs, pickled vegetables, and century eggs, or sweetened or savoury soy milk served with shāobǐng or 油條 → yóutiáo.
In Southeastern China such as Fujian province, breakfasts consist of rice porridge served with side dishes like pickled vegetables and century eggs.
In Southern China represented by Guangdong province breakfasts include rice porridge prepared to a thicker consistency than those sold in Shanghai and side dishes are not served. Congee is served with yóutiáo if it is plain. In many cases, however, congee is prepared with meats or dried vegetables such as beef slices, shredded salted pork and century eggs, fish, or slices of pig's liver and kidney and could be served with or without yóutiáo. Other breakfast fares include rice noodle rolls (cheong fun) (served with Hoi sin sauce and soy sauce, without fillings), fried noodles (pan fried noodles with bean sprouts, spring onions, and soy sauce), fagao (rice cakes), jiānbǐng (thin crispy omelets with fillings folded in), lúobogāo (turnip cakes) and zòngzi (another kind of rice cake). The dim sum breakfast, is a world in itself, and is often eaten as brunch at specialist restaurants.
In Taiwan, due to the influx of mainland Chinese in the aftermath of the Republic of China's retreat to Taiwan in 1949 after the end of the Chinese Civil War, breakfasts tend to be a mix of Northern and Eastern Chinese fare in addition to the traditional South eastern Chinese fare. This is more pronounced in cities with high proportions of people of mainland Chinese descent, like Taipei.
Traditional breakfasts in Hong Kong follow very closely those in Guangdong, but due to long periods of British colonial rule and the influx of substantial refugees from Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces and Shanghai with the end of Chinese Civil War in 1949, localized interpretations of English breakfast and Eastern Chinese breakfast fare are commonly found alongside Cantonese breakfasts. In a Hong Kong cha chaan teng breakfasts could consist of milk tea, coffee, or yin-yeung served with bread, ham, and fried eggs, and a bowl of macaroni soup with ham. This local interpretation of English breakfast is regarded in both mainland China and Taiwan as uniquely Hong Kong. In upper market restaurants or hotels, however, standard English and Continental breakfasts are served.


A traditional Japanese breakfast is based on rice, seafood, and fermented foods, which do not differ substantially from dishes eaten at other meals in Japanese cuisine. An exception is nattō (a type of fermented soybeans), which is rarely eaten outside of breakfast. A typical Japanese restaurant breakfast presentation would be miso soup, rice with nori or other garnishes, nattō, grilled fish, raw egg, and a pickled vegetable. The influence of Japanese travelers has made this traditional breakfast a standard option on the menus of many upscale hotels world-wide. It is common in Japanese households to include left-over items from the last evening's dinner in the next day's breakfast. Western breakfast foods such as toast and boiled or fried eggs are also common, cereals are becoming popular. Typical breakfast beverages are green tea (traditional) and coffee (modern).


In Korea, breakfast contains rice, soup, several kinds of Namul or seasoned vegetables, Kimchi (fermented, pickled vegetables), and grilled meat or fish. Traditionally, food eaten in the morning does not differ substantially from the other meals of the day (see Korean cuisine) though the number of dishes is fewer. Today, however, people are more likely to eat Western-style breakfasts similar to those in the United States.

Malaysia and Singapore

In Malaysia and Singapore, breakfast sometimes consists of a popular Malay food called nasi lemak. Other food such as roti canai (known as roti prata in Singapore), kaya toast, half boiled eggs and wonton noodles are also among the favorites. In the East Coast, glutinous rice is eaten as breakfast. Malaysian Chinese from the town of Klang, which is famous for its Bak Kut Teh, frequently eat it for breakfast. In other parts of Malaysia and Singapore however, it is more commonly eaten at other meals.


In Myanmar (formerly Burma), the traditional breakfast in town and country alike is htamin gyaw, fried rice with boiled peas (pè byouk), and yei nway gyan ( green tea) especially among the poor.
Glutinous rice or kao hnyin is a popular alternative, steamed wrapped in banana leaf often with peas as kao hnyin baung served with a sprinkle of crushed and salted toasted sesame. Equally popular is the purple variety known as nga cheik cooked the same way and called nga cheik paung. Si damin is sticky rice cooked with turmeric and onions in peanut oil and served with crushed and salted toasted sesame and crispfried onions. Assorted fritters such as baya gyaw (urad dal) go with all of them.
Nan bya or naan (Indian-style flatbreads) again with pè byouk or simply buttered is served with Indian tea or coffee. It also goes very well with hseiksoup (mutton soup).
Fried chapati, blistered like nan bya but crispy, with pè byouk and crispy fried onions is a popular alternative.
Htat ta ya, lit. "a hundred layers", is flaky multilayered fried paratha served with either pè byouk or a sprinkle of sugar.
E kya kway (Chinese-style fried breadsticks or youtiao) with Indian tea or coffee is another favourite.
Mohinga, perhaps the most popular of all, now available as an "all-day breakfast" in many towns and cities, is rice vermicelli in fish broth kept on the boil with chickpea flour and/or crushed toasted rice, lemon grass, sliced banana stem, onions, garlic, ginger, pepper and fish paste and served with crispy fried onions, crushed dried chilli, coriander, fish sauce and lime. Add fritters such as split chickpea (pè gyan gyaw), urad dal (baya gyaw) or gourd (bu gyaw), boiled egg and fried fish cake (nga hpè gyaw).
Another dish, growing in popularity because of its healthier composite and economic friendliness, is the Rakhine Mont-de, a variant of Mohinga, but lighter. It consists of thin rice noodles eaten with clear soup, made from boiled Ngapi and lemon grass. Toasted fish flakes, from snakefish and green and red chili paste are also added, with seasoning. Rakhine Mont-de is also called ar-pu-shar-pu (lit. hot throat, hot tongue) because of its heavy usage of spicy ingredients. A salad version also exists. It is now sold in many cities and towns across Myanmar.


The traditional breakfast in Pakistan is usually a heavy meal. There are several dishes
    • Halva Puri Cholay or Halva Puri for short which consists of two separate dishes, Halva, a sweet made from semolina , and Aloo Cholay, a spicy chick-pea and potato curry eaten with Puri, a small circular deep-fried flat bread.
    • Siri paya eaten with Naan Bread (siri paya is a stew made of cow, goat or lamb's skull and feet. Siri means the head of the animal and paya means the feet of the animal. It is considered a delicacy.)
    • Nihari.Nihari is a stew made from beef or lamb and curry. Nihari is also eaten with Naan bread.
Otherwise parathas are widely eaten for breakfast; they may be stuffed with vegetables or unstuffed eaten alongside fried eggs or some other dish. Chai is served with breakfast.
In cities and urban areas, eggs and toast with butter and jam are also popular.


A favourite traditional breakfast in the Philippines consists of garlic fried rice, fried or scrambled eggs, and a choice of breakfast meat: beef tapa (like a fried beef jerky), pork tocino (caramelised pork), longaniza (breakfast sausage), dried, smoked fish, tinned sardines, sauteed corned beef, or crispy pork adobo, sometimes with Western-style baked beans, sliced tomatoes and a local pickle (achara) on the side. Alternatively, a cheese-topped breakfast pastry called an ensaymada (a colonial relative of the Mallorcan ensaimada) is also eaten, usually with hot chocolate, as is pan de sal (Philippine breakfast roll) filled with a buffalo milk white cheese, and local barako coffee. Western style breakfasts such as pancakes, French toast, and porridge are also eaten at home, as are cold 'corn flake-type' cereals which are popular with children. Finally, there is champorado, a local chocolate sticky rice porridge, often served with a side dish of crisp-fried sun-dried fish (danggit or tuyo) -- an unusual, though authentically Filipino combination.

Sri Lanka

The traditional breakfast consists of "broother bread" with butter and cheese, planton banana and tea. The singlahnese version sometimes includes usually fresh(hot) bread, Rotti, Pittu (rice or Manipittu, eaten with Oxstripes), String Hoppers (with milky gravy), Hoppers, rice, appam, or Green Grams. These are usually eaten with gravy (meat or vegetable), Sambol (coconut or Seeni (an onion, fried with chili and sugar), Maldive Fish) or with Juggery and plantains. Noodles and cereals such as Cornflakes are relative newcomers.
Rice is not considered a breakfast food; is mostly eaten at lunch time. Bread and Sambol or jam is the most common breakfast food.

Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam

In Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam it is customary to eat soup for breakfast, as well as congee.
Typical breakfast dishes in Vietnam are Pho, banh cuon, hu tieu, banh bao, banh mi, Bún bò Huế, Bún riêu, xôi (or glutinous rice).


In the case of Thailand, a variety of different foods are served for breakfast since the country has opened to the eating cultures from many countries. Thai-Chinese people typically have congee/jook, boil-rice with fishes, pickles, dried shredded pork; dim-sum is also popular in some provinces particularly in the South of Thailand. During rush hours in big cities, particularly Bangkok, people would have fast and simple Western style breakfast, for example, bread, cornflakes, omelet, coffee and milk. Street eateries in Bangkok offer a wide range of food, such as sandwiches, grilled or fried pork with sticky rice, noodles, rice and Thai curries. Since there are so many kinds of food for breakfast, Thai people usually say that they would eat whatever they want for their breakfast.

Australia and New Zealand

In New Zealand and Australia, the typical breakfast strongly resembles breakfast in other English-speaking countries. Owing to the warm weather in some parts of Australia, breakfast is generally light. In the cold parts, however, one might find a full English breakfast. The light breakfast consists of cereals, toast, fruit, and fruit juices rather than cooked items. Australians also enjoy a heavy breakfast with fried bacon, egg, mushroom, sausage, tomatoes and toast, with tea or coffee and juice (similar to the full English breakfast). Some other typical meals include pancakes, waffles, yogurt, bagels and sometimes hash browns. Vegemite is routinely spread on toast for breakfast.
In summer, a New Zealand breakfast will typically consist of some variation on toast, cereal, juice and fruit. In winter many New Zealand prefer porridge or Weet-Bix with hot milk. On special occasions some New Zealanders will create a full cooked breakfast after the English tradition — generally bacon and eggs, fried tomatoes, fried mushrooms, and toast. American-type breakfasts (pancakes etc.) are becoming more common in New Zealand. These are usually purchased from a restaurant for weekend brunch.


As a general rule, traditional breakfasts are less substantial and less elaborate in the warmer, more southern countries bordering the Mediterranean, while breakfasts are traditionally larger, with a greater variety of dishes and greater prevalence of hot dishes in the cooler northern- and central-European countries.
Hotels and other types of lodging in Europe typically include breakfast in their rates, and in many cases, especially in larger hotels, it is served as a buffet. Specific items will vary from country to country, depending on local breakfast tastes and habits. In Switzerland, for example, cold cuts (luncheon meats), cheese, yoghurt, prepared fruit, butter, croissants, breads, and rolls are served. Sometimes foods belonging to the British breakfast (eggs, sausages, tomatoes (fresh, grilled or canned), bacon) could occasionally be found as part of the buffet.

Continental breakfast

Continental breakfast is an institutional meal plan based on lighter Mediterranean breakfast traditions. It is a light meal meant to satisfy one until lunch. A typical Continental breakfast consists of coffee and milk (often mixed as Cappuccino or latte) or hot chocolate with a variety of sweet cakes such as brioche and pastries such as croissant, often with a sweet jam, cream, or chocolate filling. It is often served with juice. The continental breakfast may also include sliced cold meats, such as salami or ham, and yogurt or cereal. Some countries of Europe, such as The Netherlands and those in Scandinavia, add a bit of fruit and cheese to the bread menu, occasionally even a boiled egg or a little salami.
The Continental Breakfast concept is not limited to Europe, as evidenced by the numerous hotel chains that offer this service worldwide.

Britain and Ireland

Traditionally, people in Britain and Ireland have enjoyed a substantial hot meal for breakfast, featuring eggs, bacon, and sausages, accompanied by toast and tea or coffee. These items are sometimes eaten separately on morning rolls. Many other items (for example kedgeree, grilled or fried tomatoes, black pudding or white pudding, baked beans, fried sliced bread, various types of fried potatoes and mushrooms) may be included depending on taste and location. Today this dish remains popular but is not usually served at breakfast time during the week. Many people instead reserve the full cooked breakfast for weekends, or go to a cafe for it on the weekends. A full breakfast is also a meal available any time at many cafes and greasy spoons. It is also served at hotels where it can be quite substantial in size and variety. Somerset Maugham once said, "The only way to eat well in England is to have breakfast three times a day."
This traditional cooked breakfast has largely been replaced by simple, light foods mainly eaten cold: fruit, yogurt, packaged cereal with cold milk, and toast with a variety of spreads such as butter, jam, marmalade, lemon curd, Marmite, or peanut butter. Porridge is a traditional breakfast in Scotland as well as the rest of Britain in the winter months. In most British hotels this breakfast is included in the room rate.

Northern Europe

  • Belgium. A typical Belgian breakfast is like that of its northern neighbor, the Netherlands. Belgians do not eat their most famous food, Belgian waffles, which are traditionally sold in tourist areas of large cities, and are eaten as a snack. The breakfast in Belgium consists of breads, toasted or untoasted, with several marmalades, jams, and nut spreads, such as Nutella or just with a bar of chocolate. Other common toppings include sliced meats and cheeses. Pastries and croissants may be served on Sundays, but are mostly not eaten on weekdays. Belgians often enjoy coffee, tea, hot chocolate, water, or fresh juice with breakfast.
  • Netherlands. The Dutch typically eat sliced bread with three choices of toppings: dairy products (numerous variations of cheese), a variety of cured and sliced meats, or sweet or semi-sweet products such as jam, syrup (from sugar beets or fruit), honey, Bebogeen (a very sweet caramel topping made from sugar beets), Kokosbrood (a coconut product that is served thinly sliced like sliced cheese; also known as Cocosbread) or peanut butter. Another type of sweet toppings are the chocolate toppings; the Dutch have chocolate toppings in all variations: hagelslag (chocolate sprinkles), chocoladevlokken (chocolate flakes) (both typically Dutch), and chocolate spread. Tea, dripolator coffee, milk, and juice are the most popular breakfast beverages. Breakfast may also include raisin bread. Boiled eggs may be served on Sundays.
  • Denmark. A typical breakfast in Denmark, similar to its southern neighbor Germany, consists of bread rolls or toast with butter and Danish skæreost (sliced cheese), a buttery creamy white cheese (often Danish havarti or Danish tilsit), fruit jam, and a lot of coffee. A bigger and fancier spread might also include cold cuts of meat (cold, thin-sliced ham, rullepølse, or salami), soft-boiled eggs, muesli and sweet rolls of all types. Special occasions are often celebrated with a shot of Gammel Dansk. Also in Denmark, pålægschokolade (put-on chocolate) which is thin slices of chocolate put on bread with butter underneath.
  • Scandinavia. Breakfasts in other parts of Scandinavia besides Denmark can be quite ample. Fish, cheese, eggs, bacon, hot and cold cereals, breads, potatoes, and fruits are all eaten in various combinations, along with juices, coffee, and tea. Filmjölk (Sweden) or kulturmelk (Norway), a cultured milk similar to buttermilk or yogurt is often eaten with cereals. Whole-grain porridges with regular milk or butter are popular in Finland.
  • Iceland. In Iceland, pickled fish is a popular dish, particularly pickled herring. Pancakes are also eaten.

Central and eastern Europe

  • Germany. The typical German breakfast consists of bread rolls, butter, jam, ham, soft-boiled eggs and coffee. Cereals have become popular, and regional variation is significant — cheeses, cold cuts, meat spreads, yogurt, granola and fruit (fresh or stewed) may appear, as well as eggs cooked to order (usually at smaller hotels or bed-and-breakfasts). A second breakfast is traditional in parts of Germany, notably Bavaria (there also called "Brotzeit").
  • Switzerland. Swiss breakfasts are often similar to those eaten in neighboring countries. A notable breakfast food of Swiss origin, now found throughout Europe, is muesli (Birchermüesli in Swiss German), introduced in 1900 by Maximilian Bircher-Benner for patients in his hospital.
  • Hungary. In Hungary people usually have a large breakfast. It consists of bread, bread rolls or croissant (not really like the French one, because it is of a different dough and it is crescent-shaped), toast, pastries with different fillings (sweet and salty as well), butter, jam or honey, eggs in different forms (fried eggs/scrambled eggs/omelette, etc), salami, cold cuts, cheese, vienna sausage with mustard, tea, coffee or milk. They do not usually drink fruit juice in the morning, because hot drinks are more common. They sometimes have "rice into milk" (tejberizs) or "semolina milk pudding" (tejbegriz). These types of wheat are cooked in sweet milk and are usually eaten with cocoa powder or ground cinnamon, they are like a pudding. "Lecsó" is a popular breakfast meal as well, mainly in the summer because it is made from tomatoes and green pepper.
  • Poland. The traditional Polish breakfast is a large spread with a variety of sides eaten with bread or toast. Sides include various cold cuts, meat spreads, the Polish sausage kielbasa, tomatoes, Swiss cheese, and sliced pickles. Twaróg, a Polish cheese, is the breakfast classic and comes in many forms. Twaróg can be eaten plain, with salt, sugar, or honey, or it can be mixed with or chives into a cream cheese-like spread. Eggs are served often as the main breakfast item, mostly soft-boiled or scrambled. For a quick winter breakfast, hot oatmeal, to which cocoa is sometimes added, is often served. Jam spreads are popular for a quick breakfast, including plum, raspberry, and black or red currant spreads. Breakfast drinks include coffee, milk (some areas may serve fresh milk from the cow), hot cocoa, or tea. Traditionally, the Poles avoid heavy-cooked foods for breakfast. For the most part, one will not see fried meats or potatoes in a classic Polish breakfast. Emphasis is placed on a large variety of foods to satisfy everyone at the breakfast table.
  • Romania. The traditional Romanian breakfast consists of bread, cold plates such as salami and cheese, feta cheese, cucumber, tomatoes and eggs such as an omelette or sunny side up.
In Eastern European countries with cold climates, such as Russia, breakfasts tend to be substantial. Zavtrak may consist of hot oatmeal or kasha, eggs, cheese, cured meats or sausage, rye breads with butter, and coffee or tea.
Yoghurt or, especially in central and eastern Europe, kefir may be consumed. In some Balkan countries such as Serbia, savory pastries known as burek are consumed with yogurt.

Southern Europe

  • France. In France a typical domestic breakfast will consist of cups of coffee, often café au lait, or hot chocolate, often drunk from bowls (especially for hot chocolate). The main food consists of tartines — slices of baguette spread with jam — sometimes dunked, as well as brioches and other breads. Croissants are also traditional, as are other similar pastries such as pains au chocolat and pains aux raisins. Foods like breakfast cereals, fruit compote, fromage blanc, and yogurt are becoming increasingly common as part of the meal.
  • Greece. Various kinds of pastry constitute the traditional Greek breakfast. Tyropita, spanakopita, and bougatsa (particularly in Northern Greece) are eaten, usually accompanied with Greek coffee. Simpler breakfasts include honey, marmelade or nutella cream (as well a Greek variation thereof, Merenda) spread over slices of bread. Children typically drink chocolate or plain milk.
  • Serbia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Macedonia, parts of Croatia and Slovenia. Breakfast usually consists of various kinds of savory or sweet pastry, with cheese, meat or jam filling. Most typical breakfast consists of two slices of burek and a glass of yogurt. Coffee, most often Turkish coffee is a mandatory part of the start of the day ritual in these countries.
  • Italy. The traditional breakfast in Italy is simply Caffè e latte (hot coffee with milk) with bread or rolls, butter, and jam — known as prima colazione or just colazione. Fette biscottate (a cookie-like hard bread often eaten with Nutella) and biscotti (cookies) are commonly eaten. Children drink hot chocolate, plain milk, or hot milk with very little coffee. If breakfast is eaten in a bar (coffee shop), it is composed of cappuccino e brioche (frothed hot milk with coffee, and a pastry). It is very common for Italians to have a quick breakfast snack during the morning (typically a panino, or bread roll).
  • Spain. In Central Spain the traditional breakfast is chocolate con churros — hot chocolate with Spanish-style fritters, which are extruded sticks of doughnut-like dough with a star-shaped profile covered in sugar. The chocolate drink is made very thick and sweet. In Madrid, churros are somewhat smaller and shaped like a charity ribbon. This meal is normally served in cafeterias. In the South and West it is more common to have a cup of coffee (usually with milk) and a toast with a choice of olive oil and salt, tomato and olive oil, butter, jam, pâté, jamón (cured ham), and other options like sobrasada (a raw cured spiced sausage that is easy to spread), and in Andalusia, pringá. Freshly squeezed orange juice is widely available in most places as an alternative for coffee. The breakfast is not often larger than these two items, because usually in late morning there is a break known as desayuno when there is a snack. Sometimes, toast is replaced with galletas (a type of cookies made with flour, sugar, oil and vanilla flavour), magdalenas (a Spanish version of the French madeleines made with oil instead of butter) or buns.
  • Portugal. A Portuguese pequeno-almoço comes in two varieties: one eaten running to work and another, more time-consuming one, more common on the weekends. When rushed in the morning, a cup of yogurt, milk, coffee or both and some bread with butter, cheese or jam suffices. Given the time, additions include orange juice, croissants, different kinds of pastry, and/or cereal.
  • Turkey. Turkish breakfast consists of fresh white sourdough bread, white cheese (feta), yellow cheese (kaşar), fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, black and/or green olives, butter, honey, clotted water buffalo cream (kaymak) preserves, soujouk, salami, pastirma and a boiled egg — all accompanied by hot black tea in small tulip-shaped glasses. Breakfasts can be very elaborate for company or on weekends, and may include a variety of breads, pastries, and spreads, and several fresh fruits and vegetables in season, but the essential breakfast ingredients for almost every Turk on a daily basis are bread, cheese, olives, and tea.

Latin America

Latin American breakfasts feature many items seen in North American and Continental European breakfasts in regional variations, according to their own culture.
  • In Argentina, breakfast consists mainly of espresso coffee, café con leche, or yerba mate. There are also croissants, brioches, or facturas with dulce de leche, filled churros, French bread with jam and butter, grilled sandwiches of ham and cheese known as tostados, and sweet cookies or crackers.
  • In Brazil, the common breakfast consists in bread and butter, toasted or not, alongside with coffee, black, or with milk. It can also have juice, usually of orange. Brazilians use the term "café-da-manhã" (morning coffee) to refer to breakfast.
  • In Chile, breakfast is a light meal consisting of coffee or tea and 2 types of bread, called "Marraqueta" and "Hallulla".
  • In Costa Rica breakfast is traditionally Gallo Pinto which is pinto beans and rice. A preferred alternative is to substitute black beans for the pinto beans. Some people may add "natilla" (sour cream), and a corn "tortilla". Black coffee or coffee with milk are the preferred beverages.
  • In Cuba breakfast has evolved since the Communist Revolution. Before the revolution, breakfast in urban areas consisted of café con leche (espresso coffee with scalded milk) that was sweetened and included a pinch of salt. Toasted buttered Cuban bread, cut into lengths, was dunked in the café con leche. In rural Cuba, farmers ate roasted pork, beans and white rice, café con leche and cuajada, a type of cottage cheese sweetened with caramel. Since the revolution, due to irregular availability, breakfasts consist of sopa de chicharo (salted green pea soup), coffee when available, and perhaps saltine crackers. Meats are rarely if ever consumed in Cuban urban areas.
  • In Colombia there are various breakfast staples. In the Cundinamarca region people eat changua: a milk, scallion, and cheese soup. In the Tolima region, a tamal tolimense is eaten in the company of hot chocolate and arepas. Tamales tolimenses are made with rice, dry legumes, beef, chicken and pork, egg, potato, and seasonings, covered with a maize dough, cooked while wrapped in a banana leaf.
  • In Dominican Republic the main dish for breakfast is called mangu (mashing boiled plantains). It's prepare with ground plantain mixed with butter and is usually eaten with salami, fried cheese, eggs (fried eggs or scrambled eggs). Accompany with cafe con leche, hot chocolate, or juice. Another main breakfast dish is the sandwich, prepared with cheese, ham, salami, or scrambled eggs. This is often accompanied with coffee, hot chocolate or juice. To make this particular sandwich the Dominican people use a bread called pan de agua (water bread—a simple bread made with water, flour, yeast, and salt). Other kinds of bread are also used to make this simple meal.
  • In the past, when Mexico's population was predominantly rural and agricultural, breakfast tradition included a light desayuno of hot beverages and breads at dawn and a heavier almuerzo mid-morning, with egg dishes such as huevos rancheros, meats, beans, tortillas, pastries, and fruits. Today, almuerzo generally means "lunch," and the Mexican breakfast may be the lighter or heavier version, depending on the person or occasion. Menudo, a tripe stew considered a folk remedy for a hangover, has become a breakfast dish as well as one eaten at other meals.

Middle East

In most Arab areas, the most popular breakfast by far is pita bread dipped in rich labneh, a type of yogurt, or in olive oil and za'atar (a common Middle-Eastern spice mix). Other popular breakfast foods in the Mashriq include boiled eggs, olives, cheese and Fava beans fava beans.
In Jordan the traditional breakfast is, pita bread dipped in rich labneh, a type of yogurt, or in olive oil and za'atar, also Hummus and Ful medames; variety of olives, cheeses, especially Goat Cheese, variety of vegetables; Falafel is also very common among breakfast items. Usually following breakfast you are served black tea, or Arabic coffee, there is never and end to breakfast without sweets!
In Iran, a non-Arab country, varieties of Iranian flatbreads (naan), Iranian feta cheese (panir-e irani), butter (kareh), a variety of traditional marmelades (morabba) or jams, honey (angebin or asal), and hot tea are essential breakfast foods. Other foods, such as heavy cream, walnuts, hard and soft boiled eggs, and omlettes are also popular for breakfast. Traditionally, a choice of butter and cheese, butter and marmalade, heavy cream and honey, butter and honey, or cheese and walnuts are rubbed on fresh bread and folded into bite-sized sandwiches and are to be consumed with hot tea. The tea is preferably sweetened with sugar. Another breakfast food, which is usually consumed between the hours of three to five in the morning, is called halim. Halim is a combination of wheat, cinammon, butter and sugar cooked with either shredded turkey or shredded lamb in huge pots. It is served hot and cold, but preferably hot. In Egypt the traditional breakfast is ful medames: slow cooked fava beans (sometimes with lentils) dressed in olive oil, lemon juice and garlic.
In Pakistan the traditional breakfast is home made pita bread(paratha)served with left over dinner, usually curry or with egg in any form along with cup of tea.
An Israeli breakfast typically consists of coffee, orange juice, fresh vegetables salad, goats/cows cream cheese, fresh bread or toast, olives, butter, fried eggs of your choice, and some small cookies or slices of cake. For an even fuller breakfast it might include hard-boiled eggs, cottage cheese, quark cheese, and Israeli salad. Another type of breakfast would be fried dough, malawach served with sweet fruits or something spicier. Hotels with continental breakfasts, in addition to the aforemention items, will usually serve many different kinds of fish and yogurts, as well as an egg and spicy tomato dish known as shakshuka.

The United States and Canada


Traditional breakfasts in the United States and Canada derive from the full English breakfast and other European breakfast traditions and feature predominantly sweet or mild-flavored foods, mostly hot. Typical items include hot oatmeal porridge, grits (in the South), other hot grain, porridges, eggs, bacon, ham, breakfast sausage or small link sausages, pan-fried potatoes (hash browns), biscuits, toast, pancakes, waffles, bagels, French toast, cornbread, English muffins, pastries (such as croissants, doughnuts, and muffins), and fresh or stewed fruits of various types (stone, citrus, etc.). Steak may be served with eggs on the traditional menu. Cold cereal has become nearly ubiquitous in recent decades, and yogurt is widely popular. Coffee, tea, milk and fruit juices are standard breakfast beverages. Many regions of the U.S.A. have local breakfast specialties that are less popular nationally. In the South, homemade biscuits served with country-style gravy (also called sawmill gravy), country ham and red eye gravy and grits are one traditional breakfast menu; the Southwest has huevos rancheros and spicy breakfast burritos; scrapple is a favorite in the Mid-Atlantic states; pork roll is rarely available outside New Jersey and Philadelphia; and New Englanders still occasionally indulge in fried salt-pork, and pie. Fried eggs with bacon or sausage and American cheese on a seeded kaiser roll is a popular breakfast sandwich in parts of New York. Many Soul food breakfast menus across the country include fried chicken wings, catfish, pork chops and salmon croquettes Specialty items also vary in popularity regionally, such as linguiça sausage and Spam in Hawaii, crab cakes in southern New England and the Mid-Atlantic regions, andouille sausage, chicory coffee, Chisesi ham and beignets in Louisiana, chorizo in the Southwest, lox and smoked salmon in the Northwest, goetta in Greater Cincinnati, et cetera.
Some regions of Canada especially Quebec, New Brunswick and Parts of Eastern Ontario will commonly include maple syrup with crêpes, French toast, pancakes, or waffles.
Hotels now often serve breakfast buffets for a fixed price. Traditionally, hotel breakfasts were made to order.


Today, most Americans and Canadians eat a reduced breakfast most days, but may still enjoy a traditional hearty breakfast on weekends, holidays, and vacations. Having only coffee or skipping breakfast entirely are also common. Eating out for breakfast or brunch is common on weekends and holidays.
Eggs are strongly associated with breakfast, to the extent that many Americans and Canadians consider egg dishes out of place later in the day. A typical contemporary combination of food for a hearty breakfast consists of eggs (fried or scrambled), one type of meat, and one or two starchy dishes; commonly hash browns and toast. A more basic breakfast combination would be a starchy food (such as toast, pastry, breakfast cereal, oatmeal, pancakes, or waffles) either alone or served with fruit and yogurt. This second option, similar to the Continental breakfasts served in Europe, is especially common in institutional situations where serving hot food is difficult, expensive, or impractical.
Restaurants that serve breakfast typically base their menus around egg dishes and meats such as sausage and bacon. Pancakes and waffles are also popular. An assemblage commonly known as a country breakfast in restaurants consists of eggs or omelette, sausage or bacon, hash browns, sausage gravy, coffee, biscuits or toast with jam or jelly, and fruit juice.
A typical breakfast for those that eat ordinary breakfast as a home meal is instant oatmeal or a cold breakfast cereal with milk. Leftovers from the previous day's meals may also be eaten, such as cold pizza.
A worker's breakfast often consists only of coffee and prepared food purchased on the way to work or brought from home, eaten during the morning commute or at the workplace just before clocking in. Food items that fit this eat-on-the-go strategy include various sweet breakfast breads and pastries, bagels (often with cream cheese), sweetened flavored yogurt cups, smoothies and milkshakes, fresh fruit, granola or "energy" bars, toaster pastries, and fast food. Many fast food restaurants sell breakfast versions of their typical offerings that include eggs and are usually sweeter and less spicy. Examples of such breakfasts-to-go are: egg-filled sandwiches of croissants (ex. "croissanwich") or muffins; hamburgers without the usual vegetable garnishes; and breakfast burritos or tacos filled with eggs and cheese, optionally with other additions like meat or beans.
Coffee is the most common breakfast beverage. In the United States, 65% of coffee drunk during the day is with breakfast.. Also common are tea, milk, hot chocolate, orange juice, and other fruit juices (grapefruit, tomato, etc). Occasionally, caffeinated carbonated beverages may be substituted for the more traditional coffee or tea.
The modern options typical of the U.S.A. and Canada are representative of Western-style breakfasts that have become common worldwide, especially in industrialized nations.
Breakfast is thought as the foods typically eaten during morning hours, that are distinct from other foods even if eaten outside of the morning. In this sense, some serve breakfast for dinner. There are several fast food and casual dining chains in North America that specialize in hearty breakfast-style foods, such as pancakes and country breakfasts, that offer these all day long. Like greasy spoons in the UK, American coffeeshops and diners typically serve breakfast foods all day.


As the preceding regional descriptions show, beverage choices at breakfast are fairly uniform worldwide, comprising
  • Fruit juices (orange juice is the most popular),
  • Milk (hot, cold, possibly cultured) or milk analogue,
  • Hot caffeinated and non-caffeinated beverages (tea, coffee, and chocolate). (Caffeine is a stimulant.)
Cultures around the world commonly shun or restrict alcoholic beverages at breakfast. (Alcohol is a depressant and a psychoactive drug, and so its effects might not be desired during working hours.) Notable exceptions would be the Mimosa cocktail: champagne and orange juice (known as buck's fizz in the UK); and the Bloody Mary cocktail: vodka and spiced tomato juice. Still, a Mimosa is normally served at brunch, and rarely consumed before 10:00 in the morning at breakfast proper.


Some restaurants devote themselves to breakfast or have special breakfast menus. The field is dominated on one hand by greasy spoons, diners, cafés, cafeterias, and fast food places, and by hotels. However, some breakfast places resemble standard restaurants in procedure, selection, and price.

Special occasions

Breakfast is occasionally served as an entertainment meal.
The serving of a pancake breakfast is traditional on Pancake Day (Shrove Tuesday), and some celebrate a festive breakfast on Christmas morning.
During Ramadan, Muslims describe the meal after sunset that "breaks the fast" as Iftar.



  • Rampersaud G.C., Pereira M.A., Girard B.L., Adams J. and Metzl J.D.; Breakfast habits, nutritional status, body weight, and academic performance in children and adolescents. J. Am. Diet. Assoc., May;105(5):743-60, 2005. Abstract in PubMedguygitftftyftyfy
breakfast in Catalan: Esmorzar
breakfast in Welsh: Brecwast
breakfast in Danish: Morgenmad
breakfast in German: Frühstück
breakfast in Spanish: Desayuno
breakfast in Esperanto: Matenmanĝo
breakfast in Persian: صبحانه
breakfast in French: Petit déjeuner
breakfast in Scottish Gaelic: Biadh-maidne
breakfast in Korean: 아침밥
breakfast in Indonesian: Sarapan
breakfast in Icelandic: Morgunmatur
breakfast in Italian: Colazione
breakfast in Hebrew: ארוחת בוקר
breakfast in Lithuanian: Pusryčiai
breakfast in Fijian: Ikatalau
breakfast in Dutch: Ontbijt
breakfast in Dutch Low Saxon: Mänèten
breakfast in Japanese: 朝食
breakfast in Norwegian: Frokost
breakfast in Low German: Fröhstück
breakfast in Polish: Śniadanie
breakfast in Portuguese: Desjejum
breakfast in Russian: Завтрак
breakfast in Simple English: Breakfast
breakfast in Sundanese: Mumuluk
breakfast in Finnish: Aamiainen
breakfast in Swedish: Frukost
breakfast in Thai: อาหารเช้า
breakfast in Turkish: Kahvaltı
breakfast in Yiddish: פרישטיק
breakfast in Contenese: 早餐
breakfast in Samogitian: Posrītė
breakfast in Chinese: 早餐

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

TV dinner, alfresco meal, barbecue, brunch, buffet supper, clambake, coffee break, cookout, diner, dinner, elevenses, fish fry, high tea, hot luncheon, lunch, luncheon, mash, meat breakfast, petit dejeuner, picnic, supper, tea, tea break, teatime, tiffin, wiener roast, wienie roast
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