century egg
Century egg
While most of us wake up to cereal, eggs, pancakes, or oatmeal, many others around the world wake up and open their rice cookers. Breakfast food is incredibly diverse. Imagine starting your day with huitlacoche, a black fungus that grows on corn. It's a breakfast delicacy in some parts of Mexico. Or rice porridge with century eggs -- eggs fermented to a dark amber color. That's a traditional breakfast in China. 

Check out some of these surprising breakfast foods from around the world.

Miso soup: You get it here sometimes with your sushi, but it's actually a popular breakfast staple in Japan. It's often eaten with rice or rice porridge and sometimes grilled fish or fermented soybeans. Miso soup is a power breakfast -- it's loaded with minerals and amino acids. 

Pork-filled pancakes: Called shaobing or sher ping, these are traditional in northern China. You make a filling of pork with cabbage and ginger, form dough around the filling, and then fry the pancakes. Here's Jamie Oliver's recipe -- kind of labor-intensive, but looks scrumptious, actually. The Chinese have these with soy milk. 

Dosas: This is another kind of pancake, from India -- and there's dozens of variations depending on region. The dough is made from rice flour and lentils. You can fill dosas with chutney, pickles, yogurt, vegetables -- and some just have it spread with ghee, which is clarified butter.

Ackee with saltfish and callaloo: A friend of mine just spent a week in Jamaica, and every morning she posted photos of her breakfast. Ackee is the national fruit of Jamaica, and it's toxic if you don't prepare it the right way. But done right, it looks (but doesn't taste) like scrambled eggs. You have it with salt-cured whitefish and callaloo, a leafy greens dish.

Agidi: Also known as Eko, this is a kind of corn flour custard popular in Nigeria. It's incredibly simple -- just corn flour with water -- and since it's so starchy, it turns gelatinous. You can serve it plain or with pepper soup.

Mashed fava beans: Fuul could be your breakfast in Egypt. Fava beans are boiled and then mashed with olive oil and lemon juice -- and sometimes other ingredients like dates, eggs, or vegetables. You spread it on pita bread. I would love to have fuul for breakfast.

Feta on lavash: This is a traditional breakfast in Iran. We may be at odds with their government at the moment, but maybe we can agree about breakfast? Lavash is a crisp flatbread. You might have this with a dollop of apricot jam and some Persian tea, sweet black tea brewed with rose petals -- sounds heavenly. 

One thing you hear a lot when you start reading about what people around the globe eat for breakfast is that a real breakfast like the dishes above would be considered a luxury for many families. Millions of people wake up every morning to almost nothing -- maybe some weak tea or coffee, maybe just a little leftover rice from the night before. It makes me feel incredibly blessed to have so many hearty, nutritious options for breakfast.

Have you ever had any of these for breakfast? What's the most unusual breakfast food you've ever tried?

 

Image via Andrew 鐘/Flickr