International breakfasts feature photo

Jenny Shin from South Korea, Sohaila Bakr from Egypt, Sheyla Fuentes from Peru and Roxanne Wan from China showed Vox what a typical breakfast would look like in their hometown.

We all eat breakfast. It's often called the most important meal of the day. Here in the United States, a typical breakfast might be cereal, toast, bacon or sausage and a cup of coffee. As an international student, breakfast back home looks much different, and I'm sure it also looks different for anyone else living here who wasn't born in America. For the past week, I decided to "travel" around the world by asking my friends to cook what a typical breakfast looks like for them. 

United States

As a Mizzou student, we all know and love breakfast from Rollins dining hall,  which serves up "stereotypical" American breakfast dishes. From the sweet, syrupy waffles and pancakes to the savory bacon and sausage, these are the breakfasts foods you can find in most American diners.

South Korea

While there has been a rise of Western-inspired breakfast items such as pancakes and waffles in South Korea, a traditional Korean breakfast is similar to what they have for lunch and dinner — just a little lighter. Breakfast often consists of rice, soup, a meat dish and other banchan — small side dishes. In Korean cuisine, people make big portions of side dishes at once and store them for the future. Hence, there's typically a full table of various dishes for breakfast. Here, my friend made some zucchini jeon which is basically fried zucchini fritters, doenjjang jiggae which is a soybean-paste stew with some tofu and veggies, and spicy pork belly as the meat dish. Although, this is a little heavier than an average breakfast would be. 


China is such a big country that breakfast menus look different in the various provinces. Traditional Chinese breakfast consists of soybean milk, steamed buns, congee (think: porridge), noodles and pancakes. While my friend from Dali, the province of Yunnan, could not remake the food, she did have a lot of mouth-watering pictures of breakfasts from back home. In her hometown, this noodle soup dish is famous for being made with just one long, seemingly endless, noodle. My friend's grandmother would make dumplings topped with her own spicy vegetables, as they love their spice even in the morning. Chinese pancakes are also a common breakfast menu with  options for savory or sweet.


Americans might have their bacon, egg and cheese sandwich, but Peruvians kick it up a notch for their mornings. Pan con chicharron is a typical pork sandwich that locals grab and go to fill them up in the mornings. Chicharron is pork that is first braised and then fried. The sandwich is then topped with the meat, sweet potatoes and salsa criolla, a Peruvian red onion salad. My friend from Peru also made a side of lomito, sauteed beef with tomatoes, onions and yellow pepper sauce. 


Egyptians love meat, but apparently not so much for breakfast. According to my friend who was born and raised in Cairo, she was surprised when she learned that many countries include meat in their first meal of the day. A simple breakfast would usually be some pita bread and white cheese, but what she made here is a heavier breakfast spread that they would enjoy on a Friday morning with family and friends. Ful is a common breakfast dish that is made of mashed fava beans blended with vegetable oil, lemon, cumin, salt and pepper. She also made gebna bel tamatem which is white cheese and tomato salad. Eggs and a potato dish is also a staple for the morning, as well as bread to dip in the beans and cheese. 

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