Where I grew in Middle America, there were no exciting breakfast options. Cold sugary cereal, $0.99 white bread with margarine, and orange juice from concentrate? Bleh. The day I moved to the big city and learned about a meal called “brunch” was the day my life changed.
Now, breakfast is one of my favorite meals! Though breakfast options in my current home of Seattle are pretty good, the best breakfasts and brunches I’ve had are from other places in the world. Here’s an unordered list.
Disclaimer: I have not been to every country, let alone every continent, so this list is subject to updates as I live my life.
Since I grew up thinking grocery store pastries were real pastries (and I don’t mean Whole Foods, I mean like Wal-Mart), I hated sweets and bread. When I first moved to a US area with a population over 20,000, I thought “Wow! Good bread and pastries do exist!” When I first traveled to Europe, I thought “WOW. PASTRIES ARE THEIR OWN FOOD GROUP AND SO IS BREAD.” I never thought sweet food would be the memorable, until I had these:
When I went to Paris, I was staying with one of my best friends and his mom. Every morning while we were still asleep, she would go to some of the local boulangeries for fresh baguettes, croissants, and pastries for us to try. There’s just something different about the way these things are made in Europe. They’re so much better and you don’t feel as heavy. Plus they have freshly squeezed orange juice and delectable espresso everywhere!
This wasn’t where she went but is a boulangerie that looked cool!
Specifically, from Brenda’s French Soul Food. “But Angelica,” you pester, “beignets are from New Orleans. Aren’t they better there?” Perhaps- I’ve never been to NOLA, but I can tell you that the chocolate beignets at Brenda’s made me collapse because they were so good. I no longer get aroused from sex; only these beignets. If the ones in New Orleans are truly better, I don’t think my taste buds will be able to handle it.
Holy crap. No words. Just holy crap. I thought beignets were the best thing I ever had until I had these. Picture perfectly flakely buttery layers, with the fullest, lightly vanilla’d cream you could cream, topped with cinnamon and sugar. Pair this with a frappe, which isn’t like your East Coast frappes, but Greek sugar iced coffee, and you will be awake and happy.
A picture of the Saviour. I mean bougatsa.
I wrote about these once because they are delicious. I’m bringing them up again because they are perfection. Ube is a tasty purple yam/sweet potato, and these pancakes also had a hint of coconut.
I don’t have nice pictures of these because I was too busy eating, so they’re in the bottom half of this post.
I lied to you all in my intro. While my childhood peers had their basic breakfasts, I would sometimes have garlic fried rice, sunny side up eggs, and either Vienna sausage, spam, corned beef hash, longanisa (a Filipino sausage), or tuyo (dry salty fish). I didn’t know that this had an official name until we went to the Philippines, where I saw other people eating it too! Its name changes depending on what meat you add. So with spam, you’d say spamsilog, longanisa is longsilog, etc etc.
UMMMMMMM. The only thing I like more than fresh, flavorful, diverse food, is a multitude of fresh, flavorful, diverse food. And that’s what breakfast, or kahvalti, in Turkey is. Picture a spread with FRESH cucumbers and FRESH tomatoes (if you’ve only had grocery store cucumbers and tomatoes, you don’t know what this means), local cheeses that will be the best cheese that you can never find in the Pacific Northwest, life changing olives, honeyed cheese dips, and fancy eggs, at minimum.
Soup is it’s own food group for me. I love soup. While amazing Vietnamese soups can be found on the West Coast, people don’t usually eat it for breakfast here. In Vietnam, on the other hand, after you wake up, you can walk across the street to the rows of fresh food stands and choose from a myriad of soups with animal part add-ons: phở gà, hủ tiếu, and my personal favorite (though they’re all freaking amazing) bún bò huế. It’s a spicy soup with thick noodles, and depending on the stand, different parts of animal.
….at the Sheraton….
Okay, I really didn’t want to repeat countries here, but the dim sum at Li Bai, a restaurant inside Ho Chi Minh City’s Sheraton, was leagues above my prior favorite dim sum place. I never thought the wrapper of a shu mai could be my favorite part of a shu mai, until I went here. And the buns of the steamed pork buns (bánh bao, in Vietnamese) were so soft and melted in my mouth. I can’t think of the other delicious pieces or else I’ll die.
And that’s my list as of today! Have you had any of these breakfasts? What are your favorites, and what do I need to try next? Do you always take pictures of your food or do you get too hungry sometimes too????