World's Strangest Breakfasts
Diseased corn may not be the first thing you crave in the morning. But travel to Mexico and that’s what you’ll get if you order huitlacoche with your eggs.
To the locals who enjoy them regularly, huitlacoche and other breakfast ingredients are just as run-of-the-mill as a stack of pancakes doused with syrup. And sampling these foods is a great way to explore the local culture—huitlacoche, for example, is considered a delicacy in Mexico. (It’s also packed with protein and minerals.)
Sometimes the menu item is something familiar, but comes with a twist. Take porridge. If you order up a breakfast bowl of porridge-like congee (slow-cooked rice) in China, brace yourself: it comes topped with a century egg. Though it’s not actually 100 years old, the egg has been aged for weeks (or months) until it takes on the aroma of ammonia and sulfur and has a gelatinous texture.
When in Scandinavia, you can treat yourself to a bowlful of its version of yogurt: filmjölk. The creamy substance is made in much the same way as yogurt—by fermenting milk—but the resulting flavor of this variation resembles a cross between buttermilk and sour cream. It’s often topped with cereal.
But hey, let’s be real. You don’t have to go overseas to find some strange noshes; there are plenty right here in America. Head to the mid-Atlantic, for instance, and you won’t have a hard time finding scrapple—leftover scraps from a pig that are boiled, minced, mixed with cornmeal and seasoned, and then fried up for your eating pleasure.
Read on to see our list of strange breakfasts from around the world. And go on, the next time you have the chance, be adventurous and try them. You might find yourself pleasantly surprised.
What’s the strangest breakfast item you’ve come across during your travels? Share your experience by posting a comment below.
Steamed eggs and dashi seasoning (a soup broth base) give this dish a silky and custard-like texture. The eggs are topped with an assortment of ingredients, from shiitake mushrooms to shrimp to chicken to kamaboko (a mixture of cured white fish and starch).
Technically speaking, this is diseased corn. But don’t worry, it won’t harm you to eat it—in fact, this fungus is considered a delicacy in Mexico and typically costs more than “normal” corn. Spores infect the corn, turning it black and giving it a mushroom-like flavor. Huitlacoche typically comes up on breakfast menus as a filling in omelettes.
China:Congee with Century Eggs
Congee is a porridge made by slow cooking rice for an extended period of time, until it takes on a thick, creamy texture. What makes this dish truly strange is the topping: century eggs. These are eggs that are traditionally wrapped in a mixture of clay, salt, ash, lime, and rice for several weeks. The result? The yolk turns green, and the white resembles amber or sometimes is almost black; the consistencies are creamy and gelatinous, respectively, with a pungent odor of sulfur and ammonia.
Who’s up for oatmeal for breakfast? Plenty of Scots—although oatmeal is often just the beginning. They’ll add onion, suet, and various spices to the dry mix. Oh, and don’t forget the minced sheep heart, liver, and lungs. Simmer all those ingredients for a few hours in water or stock, wrap everything up in a casing (or sheep’s stomach, if it’s super traditional), and you’ve got yourself some haggis.
Despite being chock-full of nutrients, this fruit—which is a staple menu item throughout Jamaica—is actually poisonous if not prepared correctly. Resembling scrambled eggs, ackee is typically served with whitefish for breakfast.
Pakistan and Bangladesh: Siri Paya
Siri means head, and paya means feet. So you might guess where we’re going with this one: siri paya is a soup made from slowly cooking the head and feet of a cow, a lamb, or a goat, then adding tomatoes, onions, and curry spices. Are you head over heels for this dish yet?
Nothing will wake you up in the morning quite like this potent dish made of fermented veggies (often cabbage, green onions, radishes, and ginger) with the added punch of both garlic and red peppers.
Waste not, want not. Popular in the mid-Atlantic states, scrapple is made from the parts of a pig that, well, you’d have nothing else to do with except make scrapple. The scrap meat is boiled, minced, combined with cornmeal, and seasoned with various spices. It’s molded into the shape of a loaf, then sliced up and fried in oil.
Thailand:Spicy Rice Noodles
In Thailand, a common morning meal consists of flat, wide rice noodles that are topped with tongue-tingling chiles (either preserved or fresh) served in vinegar.
Made from fermented milk, this product is somewhat like yogurt with a taste that resembles a cross between sour cream and buttermilk (if you can even imagine what that’s like). It’s traditionally eaten in the mornings with cereal mixed in.
This traditional Hawaiian breakfast feels more like a heavy dinner. (At the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, for instance, the loco moco packs an estimated 871 calories.) Cooks start with a plateful of rice, add a hamburger patty, pour on some gravy, and top it off with a fried egg. If you want to really embrace the Hawaiian spirit, sub the hamburger patty for a slice of fried spam.
Think of these as the same kind of pancakes you’re used to eating, but with some soft, white quark cheese mixed in. Fried up in oil, syrniki have a crispy exterior with a rich, creamy filling. The toppings range from savory to sweet, including sour cream and honey.
This simple soup—prepared with rice noodles, basil, lime, bean sprouts, and either beef or chicken—is a surefire way to guarantee you’ll have tons of energy throughout the day. The ingredients aren’t out of the norm, but many of us tend to think of a big bowl of hearty, hot soup as a later-in-the-day meal.