8 best breakfasts in the world

They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but do you know how it differs around the world? Wake up to samosas, custard tarts and bitter coffee, in our delicious round-up of the world’s best breakfasts
Portugues breakfast. Photo: Shutterstock

1. Bite-sized breakfasts in Nyaungshwe, Myanmar

When we dream of trips to Burma, images of ancient temples, golden pagodas and welcoming faces often spring to mind. But when I think back to my trip, the breakfasts feature as a top highlight too. In Nyaungshwe, the base used for trips to Inlé Lake, you’ll find Thukha Caffee, one of the town's only teashops serving bitter-sweet coffee and tasty Burmese pastries for breakfast.

Pakoda (deep-fried vegetable dumplings) are served alongside fragrant samosas, sweet coconut tarts and yellow bean cakes. Delicious! Get here early to pull up a stool, and be prepared for few tourists joining you. We were quite the local attraction...

Experience the delight of Thukha Caffee on your own holiday to Myanmar; add a breakfast here to any of Insight Guides' Inlé Lake itineraries.

2. Custard tarts and espresso in Lisbon, Portugal

“It's incredibly simple, and I may be biased [James writes for the Portugalist.com], but for me, the best breakfast in the world is a Portuguese one: a pastel de nata (custard tart) and a bica (espresso).

“Like many people, I love having something sweet for breakfast, but I find that I don't enjoy a giant slice of cake as many cafés are in the habit of serving. The pastel de nata, on the other hand, is a perfect size and its sweet gooey centre is balanced by the bitterness of the coffee.

Pastéis de Belém, where the pastel de nata originated, is a popular spot for breakfast in Lisbon. But this isn't the only place to get a decent dish, either in Portugal or outside of it. Who knows, there may even be a great little Portuguese café in your city too!”

New York City pancakes.New York City pancakes, of  course, made the list of the best breakfasts in the world. Photo: Shutterstock

3. Pancakes in NYC

Pancakes have obviously got to make an appearance here. But how to make them: thin or fluffy? And what to put on them: crispy bacon or slathers of syrup? For an alternative pancake experience try Market Table in the West Village, Manhattan, which serves incredible coconut and quinoa pancakes (yes, really!) with a scattering of strawberries and pistachios on top. 

For those who need a kick-start to their day, you can enjoy it with brunch cocktails like Good Morning, Sunshine (with cocchi rosa, prosecco, bergamot bitters) or a Mary Ann Summers (with kaffir lime, coconut, vodka, fresh lime juice, soda).

4. Crispy egg hoppers in Colombo, Sri Lanka

Long-time traveller and PR Carol Zahorsky, recommends this Asian island for an unforgettable breakfast: “My first visit to Sri Lanka introduced me to a now favourite breakfast item: the hopper. Made from lightly fermented (all natural) batter of rice flour and coconut milk fried in a hot, oiled, small but deep pan, they are much like a crepe with crispy edges and a softer middle. It is served plain or with a whole egg broken and fried into it and finished with salt and pepper.

“The best I had was made to order while I watched at the Kingsbury Hotel in Colombo, Sri Lanka, as part of their very elaborate international breakfast buffet. I continue to crave it but have neither the hot kitchen nor frying pan to recreate it.”

Add a stay at the Kingsbury Hotel to any of Insight Guides' trips to Sri Lanka to enjoy this indulgent breakfast for yourself. 

Sri Lankan hoppers.Sri Lankan egg hoppers are a must-try breakfast on your travels. Photo: Shutterstock

5. Fried Jacks on Ambergris Caye, Belize

“People worldwide have fallen in love with and become repeat visitors to Estel's Dine by the Sea. The popular beachfront restaurant, on Ambergris Caye, overlooks the gorgeous blue Caribbean Sea and offers no shortage of people watching, marine traffic and delicious food,” shares local blogger Laurie of tacogirl.com.

“Fried Jacks (basically deep fried dough) are a local favourite they serve as an option with breakfast instead of toast, very tasty paired with butter and honey, syrup or jam. On weekends, grill master Charles serves up some of the best barbecues on the island.”

Taste fried Jacks during a tailor-made trip to Belize with Insight Guides: submit a trip request to begin planning your island adventure today

6. Sizzling shakshuka in Jaffa, Israel

“Breakfasts in Israel are always a real treat but the national breakfast dish – shakshuka – is something you must try. It's basically a thickly rich tomato sauce with fresh vegetables and fragrant spices but its signature ingredient is a poached egg on top,” explains blogger Avichai Ben Tzur of X Days in Y.

“The best place to taste this dish is at Dr. Shakshuka in the ancient port city of Jaffa – a short walk along the beach from Tel Aviv. The 'Dr' brought his secret recipe from Libya many years ago and the shakshuka is served in an outdoor setting with thick slabs of bread on the side. Unforgettable.“

Israeli shakshukaIsraeli shakshuka: one of the best breakfasts in the world. Photo: Shutterstock

7. Jam and bread in Santiago, Chile

Breakfast in Chile can range from the simple to sophisticated. Do as the locals do and feast on bread slathered in sweet home-made jams. Try this treat at Condi Pastelería, a well-known cafeteria open since the late 1940s located in Ñuñoa, Santiago. Their espresso breakfasts come with rich, intense coffees accompanied by two thick slices. Alternatively, their sweet breakfasts offer a larger range of pastries (opt for the chocolate corkscrew here). Experience this sweet start to the day on Insight Guides’ Argentina and Chile: Wine Country Explored holiday.

8. The ultimate fry-up in Belfast, Northern Ireland

“The Full Ulster Fry I consumed one hungover morning in Belfast, Northern Ireland, was the tastiest breakfast I’ve ever had,” claims writer Brandon Barrick. “Recommended by a local to cure my consequences, I was served the daunting blend of Irish and English breakfasts: eggs, potato bread, soda bread, pancakes, sausage, bacon, tomato and mushrooms. It was a feast. I devoured it and was born anew. Many great restaurants in Belfast provide this culinary champion. Sláinte!”

Where in the world have you experienced an unforgettable breakfast? Share your favourite food destinations in the comments below.