Brunch is one of the most important meals of the day. It’s perfect for when you get a chance to sleep in on weekends, while also giving you the option to eat breakfast or lunch by noon. Different countries around the world have dishes that may be more unique or similar to typical brunch meals in the U.S. Whether you prefer to have your first meal in the early morning and call it “breakfast,” or later in the day and call it “brunch,” read below for how countries around the world brunch and where you can find similar dishes in D.C.
Commonly referred to as “brekkie,” breakfast in Australia is similar to that in the U.S. in some ways, consisting of foods including eggs benedict, morning tea, bacon and biscuits, according to a spokesperson at the Australian Embassy. Other dishes, however, speak true to the Australian name. Many breakfast options are light and consist of meals that can be eaten on the go, such as avocado on toast, according to the official Australian tourism website. Vegemite, a thick and salty spread of flavored yeast extract, smothered on banana bread may be complemented by congee, a rice porridge, and manoosh, a type of Lebanese pizza traditionally consumed for breakfast. Although you would have to travel to Arlington, Virginia to be served these Aussie breakfasts and more at Oz Arlington, you can head over to the P&C Market, a gourmet grocery store on East Capitol Street to pick up your jar of Vegemite as well as other ingredients to create these delicious meals.
Continental breakfasts are the standard in Cameroon, according to Lisa Tankeh, a first generation AU sophomore whose family is from Cameroon. A typical meal may consist of pap, a sweet porridge, served with a sweet bread alongside either ovaltine or tea, which has milk and sugar added to it. Boiled plantains are also common, along with eggs and boiled cassava, a starchy root typically served with breakfast. You can find various breakfast and dinner items at Sumah’s West African Restaurant, so definitely drop by if you’d like to give it a try.
If you want to try a traditional Colombian meal for breakfast, arepa e huevo might be your best bet. According to Brand Colombia’s website, this dish consists of a deep fried corn cake (arepa) with fried egg on the inside. Calentado is another option, a dish consisting of various leftovers, whether it be beans, rice, beef, fried eggs, arepas, beef and/or chorizo. If you’re still in the mood for something heavier, try taking on the bandeja paisa, what some might call one of the world’s most filling dishes. It combines minced meat, chorizo, fried pork, fried egg, black pudding, red kidney beans, plantain, arepa, white rice, hogao sauce, lemon and avocado, although some ingredients may vary. The meals are often accompanied by black coffee or hot chocolate. You can find some of these dishes at The Royal, a Latin American restaurant located at the corner of Florida Avenue, NW and 5th Street.
Breakfast in France is typically served between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. and tends to be light, according to the official French tourism website. Meals typically consist of hot drinks such as coffee, tea or chocolate, including cafe au lait, which is coffee with hot milk added. Such beverages are accompanied by a croissant or bread with either butter or jam. You can find these pastries and various other meals at many of the French restaurants around the District, including Le Diplomate on 14th Street.
Similar to many other countries around the world, breakfast in Haiti is fairly light on a typical day. You can expect breakfast to include avwan, a creamy oatmeal made with milk, cinnamon and vanilla, and bread and butter. Chokola ayisyen, spicy Haitian hot chocolate, is popular as well and may be served alongside biscuits, according to Mckim Jean-Pierre, a first generation AU sophomore whose parents are from Haiti. While we don’t know any Haitian restaurants in the D.C. area serving this meal, it’s fairly simple to make from the comfort of your kitchen. You can find a recipe for the avwan here and the chola ayisyen here.
Most breakfast dishes in South India are made out of rice, although it isn’t used for breakfast exclusively, according to Sonikka Loganathan, a junior AU student from India. Among the popular foods are dosas, which are thin and crispy pancakes made of rice batter. Traditionally, they are made large and are sometimes served in a roll or cone shape. These may be served with sambar, a thick lentil stew containing mustard, tomatoes and curry leaves, or chutney, a dense sauce made out of coconut, red peppers, chili and more.
You can also explore North India’s traditionally light brunch. It may include paranthas, a type of flatbread, often stuffed with spiced potatoes and coriander. They can be served with either plain yogurt, spicy pickles or sweet fruit including mangoes or lemons. Other dishes may include papri, a crisp fried dough wafer, and papad, thin dough made from heated, peeled black flour and seasoned with chili, cumin, black pepper or garlic. The meal is accompanied with chai, a black tea mixed with various spices.
In Iraq, breakfast or brunch may consist of samoon, geymar and kahi, with either black earl tea or coffee, according to Marwa Adhoob, a sophomore AU student from Iraq. Samoon is a type of yeast bread that is often eaten with geymar, which is a thick, creamy spread with honey added to it. Kahi is a sweet pastry made with many folded layers of dough and butter and can be made even sweeter with a dollop of the popular geymar spread as well. Other additions to the meal may include fruit, nuts or eggs. D.C.’s Zaytinya offers other brunch options that can give you a taste of Iraq, including Menemen, consisting of scrambled eggs, tomato, peppers, feta and marash.
It’s never too late to satisfy your tastebuds with all sorts of dishes the world has to offer. Start your journey now by heading to any of these restaurants, or searching online to cook up your own version of these meals. Happy brunching!