Culture comes to the table with breakfast


Whether you're closing a deal or relaxing in London or Tokyo, Los Angeles or Vienna, Mexico City or Moscow, you'll find the breakfast menu varies with the culture.

In China, for example, breakfast "comfort food" is a rice porridge. And in fast-food shops, you can pick up twisted fried bread and steamed buns. In Japan, a traditional ryokan breakfast is likely to include broiled trout carefully barbecued to give the skin a smoked effect, and raw eggsserved over steamed rice.

If you're in Australia, you can expect "brekkie" to be either a simple scone or damper (campfire bread) and coffee or an elaborate mixed grill of lamb chops, steak and snags (blandish pork sausages made with bread filling, like British bangers) with broiled tomatoes and mushrooms. Want to try some snags cooked in egg batter? Ask for "toad in the hole."

In Europe, breakfast varies from coffee or tea and croissants to hot and hearty. In Scandinavia, regional specialties such as marinated herring are commonly featured. In Poland, the workday starts early, so a light breakfast is supplemented by a sandwich at 10 a.m. In Austria, breakfasts feature hot chocolate or coffee, served with rolls, dark bread spread with butter, jam, honey, chocolate, cheese, ham or other thin-sliced cold cuts. Also popular are boiled eggs, pastries, muesli and other cereals with fruit.

Breakfast in Russia usually consists of juice, oatmeal or farina and an egg. A staple during the long frosty winters is kasha -- a hot porridge made from rice, oats, buckwheat groats or millet prepared with milk or water. Kasha may be sweetened with honey or sugar and flavored with nuts, seeds, raisins or cocoa.

In Latin America, order huevos rancheros (eggs sunny side up served on a tortilla covered with green or red, hot chili sauce) or huevos a la Mexicana (scrambled eggs with onion, tomatoes and hot chilies). Both dishes are traditionally accompanied by refried beans. In Bolivia, an early breakfast consists of tea or coffee and bread with cheese, to be followed at 10 a.m. by a saltenas -- meat or chicken pie with potatoes, olives and raisins.

And, closer to home, a Canadian breakfast might include cretons pate -- a creamy spread made from beef or chicken or flavored with pepper -- cheeses and assorted viennoiseries (pastries).

Pub Date: 12/01/96

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