Regular guest writer for The Breakfast Page Tor, from Tor Goes Travelling Again is back with her favourite breakfasts from around the world.
I love travelling and I’ve been to around eighty countries now. People always ask me what’s the best thing about travelling so much and my answer (apart from not having to work) is the food! I love trying new food, wandering around the local market looking at exotic fruit and vegetables and spending lazy afternoons in cafes.
Having time to enjoy a relaxed breakfast is also a wonderful perk of travel. Rather than waking up with minutes to spare, rushing out the house and eating a cereal bar on the bus, breakfast when travelling is something to look forward to. I love to start with a coffee and a leisurely look at the news headlines before tucking in to a plateful of food. For some reason I’m always far hungrier in the mornings than later in the day.
As I’ve travelled I’ve discovered that while breakfast is similar in many countries, in others it’s completely different. I was surprised in Guatemala for example to discover that in most bus stations or markets I could buy a plastic bowl of sugary cereal and milk at breakfast time. Yet in Mongolia, breakfast is an afterthought and usually consists of leftovers from the night before.
Here are some of my favourite breakfasts from around the world.
I was travelling in Belize as part of a longer trip through Central America, where I visited five countries in about four months.
On the whole Belize’s cuisine is delicious. I’m vegetarian but enjoy fish or seafood occasionally. With Belize having 240 miles of coastline and a distinct Caribbean influence due to the large proportion of residents who identify as Creole, there’s some delicious dishes to enjoy.
For breakfast though, the traditional Belize dish is a heart attack waiting to happen. Fryjacks are deep fried dough pieces, deliciously light and fluffy, and served as an accompaniment to any breakfast dish. The key to getting the dough just right is to use shortening in the mix, then really hot oil to fry them in.
My favourite fryjack experience was from a tiny hole in the wall takeaway on Ambergris Caye. The caye is 25 miles long and about a mile across at its widest point, with residents getting around by golf buggy. It was here that I also enjoyed an enormous lobster burrito.
Back to my fryjack though… It was a circle of fried dough, about the size of a dinner plate, loaded with scrambled egg, refried beans and mushrooms. It came wrapped in foil, inside a paper bag, leaving me wondering how exactly to go about eating it! Believe me when I say it got messy.
I travelled around Sri Lanka for a month, exploring ancient temples, tea plantations and climbing mountains at sunrise. Ironically, the focus of my trip was actually a week island hopping in the Maldives which had recently opened up to independent travellers. The cheapest way to get there was via Sri Lanka – a perfect opportunity to see two countries in one trip.
The most well known Sri Lankan breakfast is probably the hopper, which I became addicted to during my travels and I’ve since made many times at home. It’s a simple recipe – a batter of rice flour and coconut milk is swirled around a piping hot bowl-shaped hopper pan (a wok works just as well). Crack an egg in to make an egg hopper or just add a chilli sambal.
This photo shows my breakfast at a guesthouse in Sigiriya, where climbing the one thousand steps at nearby Lion Rock, an ancient rock fortress, is a must-do. I was the only guest and when the first plate of fried egg arrived with a coffee, I was more than happy. But then the next plate arrived, then the bananas, then an orange juice… I had to save most of my breakfast for lunch.
Also in the photo, along with a hopper, is Pani Pol. This rolled up sweet pancake is made from a batter of flour, coconut milk, egg and turmeric and is often topped with jaggery (a type of cane sugar). I can’t remember what the other treats were but I know it was all delicious.
Honduras may not be as popular a Central America destination for backpackers as Guatemala or Costa Rica but I enjoyed my time there immensely. I travelled through the country after leaving El Salvador and the Mayan ruins of Copan in the northwest of the country were my first experience of this ancient civilisation, which left a trail of ruined cities across Central America.
Rice and beans in one form or another is the staple diet across the continent. Although in Honduras I felt like fried chicken was then national dish, with fast food chains everywhere.
Honduras and El Salvador both have a similar standard breakfast of plantains, refried beans and sour cream, with a corn tortilla and sometimes eggs. The trick is to fry the plantains, a starchy version of a banana that is inedible when raw, to caramelise and sweeten them. I became addicted to plantain crisps that are sold everywhere in Honduras.
The corn tortilla is another Central American staple, made from masa or maize dough. I discovered that there are different colours of corn – in Guatemala I had blue tortillas which are made with black corn, popular in the north. Tortillerias are on every street in Honduras and are just as popular as bakeries in Europe.
My breakfast in the photo included a slice of salty cheese which sets off the meal perfectly. Definitely a dish that could be enjoyed at anytime of day!
At the meeting moment Tor isn’t travelling. Like many of us she’s practicing social distancing and dreaming of her next trip, most likely to Borneo.
You may also be interested in Tor’s previous guest posts here at The Breakfast Page – A Russian Breakfast, Medialunas in Montevideo, Bird & Carter in Wiltshire, Brunch in Kiev and Noa’s Bakehouse on the Isle of Man.