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2010.03.12

Comments

Tracey@Tangled Noodle

I read this wonderful post shortly after finishing my daily a.m. bowl of yogurt and granola. Routine is wonderful at home, when I have to stay focused on assignments and deadlines, but on holiday, the schedule is happily tossed. Those days are about experience without so many constraints, whether it comes from a clock or from my own habits.

A breakfast during our recent vacation in the Philippines: my husband filled his bowl not with cold cereal as usual, but with steaming arroz caldo garnished with salted egg, chicharon and crispy garlic, and a side bangus (mikfish) or longanisa. I, on the other hand, focused on the bibingka - a steamed rice cake, topped with salted egg, slathered in butter and sprinkled with freshly grated coconut. My 8 year old nephew ate sushi, marveling all the while to his mom about being able to do so!

Many destinations have become quite adept at recreating the 'comforts of home', but such holidays are brief enough already. I'll be home soon enough to have yogurt and granola - in the meantime, please pass the dumplings!

Lesley

Just stumbled on this via ZesterDaily's Twitter feed. Beautiful photos, and you're so right! Just came back from a month in India, and among my absolute favorite things there were the savory breakfasts: potato parathas smeared with butter and yogurt, and spicy, gingery upma. God. It was fabulous! I can't imagine how much I would've missed if I would've stuck with omelets and corn flakes the whole time.

J2Kfm

What a good post. This is right on the spot. I tend to have whatever the locals have, unless breakfast is provided by the hotel/guessthouse for sometimes toast and coffee would just do.

But nothing beats GREAT street food. Loved those shots of yours.

Albert

Robyn, your point very well taken.

Katy, yes, I went to 建中. The noodle stand was on a side street perpendicular to 南海路 (can't recall the name or number of the street) that borders the side of the campus. I ate there last time I was in Taipei, ~5 years ago, it is no longer a cart, but now a store front. Still run by the same couple and serving the same noodles and fish ball soup.

Lina

I love this post! I much prefer rice, noodles or congee for breakfast than toast or cornflakes.

lara dunston

Brilliant post! We couldn't agree with you more! Trying local breakfasts and adjusting to the local custom is one of the most fun parts of culinary travel for us.

See our 'Weekend Eggs' series we're undertaking as part of our Grantourismo project this year http://grantourismotravels.com/category/weekend-eggs/

Essentially, it's about identifying the quintessential local breakfast in a place - after trying many of them during the course of our 2 weeks there - then asking locals for recipes and creating our own dish based on local inspiration. Sometimes these will be the classic recipes and other times they'll be our version.

We chose eggs because most cultures have some kind of eggs in their breakfast, but we appreciate that say in Thailand it might be more of an all-day dish like Pad Thai - which actually uses eggs in it anyway!

Ashlee

This is a great argument for trying local food. Especially considering the often dodgy Western-style breakfasts you get around Asia anyway (at least in cheap guesthouses in Indonesia)... sweet bread for toast, fluorescent pink jams... kinda ick. I'll take banana pancakes or bubur ayam over that anyday, despite the similar sugar content in the pancakes...

I just wish I was one of those people up early enough or organized enough to regularly eat breakfast... I'm one of those naughty people who often skips the most important meal of the day... ooops. But this has got me thinking of doing more food exploring in the mornings...

James in Beijing

I always found that the true travelers--and foodies--are the ones who eat for breakfast whatever the locals are eating. I have had some amazing dishes at breakfast on my travels, and one of my favorite breakfasts now is Chinese jianbing or shengjian bao.

Kristina

Fabulous! I'm with you; eat whatever you want no matter the time of day.
When I travel I mix it up and listen to my gut, literally. Sometimes that means street food or noodles, and sometimes that's yogurt and toast. It all depends on how I feel that day.
Those dumplings look AMAZING!

dena

Yes!! often the best meal of the day is breakfast, soup with market locals, porridge in an alleyway... hotel western breakfast seems somehow sad and quite awful-
an aside to PETE (3-13 post) Long Beach CA, if that is where you are, is right next to Westminster, home of the largest population of Vietnamese people in the US... and some are also in LB... look on line for and endless list of VN restaurants in LB and "little Saigon" - you may be happy!!

Su-Lin

While I'm totally unable to wake up and stomach breakfast on most days at home, I pretty much jump out of bed full of excitement when on holidays and love to explore the eating options around me. I clicked through to that article you linked to at the top of your post and I just don't get that guy at all. It sounds like you've definitely made up for the years of missed breakfast opportunities too!

fm

but... what about vegetarians? almost everything featured here is meat-infused somehow. for me, that's part of the difficulty. love the idea of the baguette in Hoi An though! regardless, i know and appreciate where you are coming from, since I am south-east asian :)

Marc

I'm missing garlic fried rice, fried eggs and fried tapa (a thin, cured, sun-dried, preferably venison/deer meat) from the Philippines. Served with a dipping sauce of fish sauce, vinegar chopped garlic and fresh chili and slices of fresh tomatoes and achara (pickled papaya strings). Or if venison is too much in the morning, how about fried milkfish marinated first in garlic and vinegar?

With a cup of thick, hot tsokolate eh you've had there before.

Trevor (Guoxuan) Wang

I really enjoyed reading your blog because I am Chinese and growing up eating all of the foods that you mentioned. The list is my personal favourite and they are frequently the Chinese foods that my parents or myself cook often for breakfast. I also love Sichuan food, which is my favourite branch among the 8 branches of Chinese cuisine since it is the spiciest and tastiest for me. I always love adding lots of chili sauce for my dumplings and my family cannot understand why I am the only one who loves hot food. Actually, before I went abroad to study, my last breakfast and dinner were with my dad. We had some steamed buns with hot sauce in a hutong in Beijing for breakfast, and spicy boiled fish, a most famous Sichuan dish for dinner. All of those familiar and beautiful memories accompany me when I study at University of Toronto. The one thing that I miss the most is deep fried crispy cruller because it is very hard to find it abroad and it is always so funny when my uncle and cousin went back to China, the first food they wanted to eat so badly was crispy cruller. In our Chinese tradition, a proverb says that "The key moment of the day is in the morning" and a good start of the day is eating strong faloured or greasy foods so that you do not feel hungry easily until it is lunch time again.

Sophia

After discovering your blog a few weeks ago I just stopped by again to read your posts on Laos as I am hoping me and my boyfriend will spend a couple of weeks there (too little time but sadly all the time we can get at the moment) soon. And then I stumbled upon this post.

I happily try almost everything and sightseeing for me invariably includes walking down foreign supermarket aisles or walking back and forth between market stalls - not sampling the local cuisine for me is unimaginable. And sampling the local cuisine starts with breakfast. Over the years I have at times eaten a Western breakfast (although mainly due to an unhealthy obsession with eating French toast) but almost invariably I go with whatever the locals are eating - above anything else it tends to guarantee freshness, something that has saved me from more than one stomach bug fellow travellers opting for the Western dishes ended up having to deal with. And as much as I like my morning bowl of porridge, there are many other delicious things one can have for breakfast.

I think my personal watershed moment was when I was staying in a small riokan in Kyoto. After sampling what can only be described as a weird fusion breakfast in our hotel in Tokyo (think udon in mayonnaise, mashed tomatoes, sweet raisin buns etc) a bowl of sticky rice, tofu in a sweet broth, miso soup, fresh omelette, some pickled vegetables and some green tea was a complete revelation - it was delicious, elegant, easy to digest and just felt good to eat. Had we ordered the Western breakfast like the table next to us, we would have missed out on this wonderful experience.

Robyn

Thanks for sharing that (and for reading the blog!), Sophia. When at home I love a perfectly fried egg over buttered toast ... and when I'm back in the USA (as I am now) I relish a big bowl of Cheerios with strawberries and bananas for breakfast. But I can't imagine "spending" a meal on these regular old bkfst foods when I travel. I'm hoping for goat soup this morning in Mexico City.

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