What’s an American Breakfast?

Every morning around the world, people are having their first meal of the day. In the UK, the Brits are having fried eggs, sausages, back bacon, tomatoes, mushrooms, fried bread and black pudding. In Turkey, where the breakfast capital city of the world is located, they’ll be having a spread of eggs, fresh cheeses, fresh tomatoes, fresh-baked bread, fruit preserves and jams, black and green olives, cucumbers, cured meats, dips and sauces, honey, pastries and sweet butter.

What’re Americans eating for breakfast in restaurants and at home?

What’s a Typical American Breakfast?

four-breakfast-plates-with-coffee-oj
Photo by Heather Ford on Unsplash

An American breakfast is usually a heavy one. Most people in the US believe in loading up for energy during the day, having a light meal at midday and something a bit more substantial for the evening.

So a typical American breakfast would be a combination of or a full plate of:

  • Eggs, scrambled or cooked as an omelet
  • Ham or sausages
  • Pancakes or waffles
  • Fried country potatoes or hash
  • Toast with butter or jam
  • Bacon

The typical American breakfast will also change according to the state or region. The dishes Californians have in the morning will differ from the breakfast food Hawaiians will enjoy. In California, they’ll likely have toast with avocado, which is said to be something of an obsession. But in Hawaii, they’ll fry up eggs and Portuguese sausages and cook white rice in the morning.

What’s a Traditional American Breakfast in Different States?

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A typical meal for “breaking fast” comprised bread, eggs and whatever wasn’t eaten the night before. It was a meal of convenience as well since most breakfast food items became staples due to protest (e.g., Boston tea party persuading Americans to choose coffee over tea) or produce surplus (e.g., oranges).

But an American breakfast isn’t just rooted in history; it’s also tied to the local population and their culture. This has given way to a whole slew of different meals in the morning in different states.

New York

It’s bagels and lox for most New Yorkers in the morning. The breakfast sandwich may not have originated in the Big Apple, but it has found its place as an iconic food in the state.

Georgia

Georgians love their buttermilk biscuits. Some eat the buttery, soft and flaky baked goods on their own whereas others make them into breakfast sandwiches. The sandwiches are usually stuffed with bacon, eggs and cheese.

Other states serving biscuits for breakfast are West Virginia, Oklahoma (with sausage, grits and gravy), Mississippi (with gravy) and Tennessee.

Nevada

In Las Vegas and elsewhere in Nevada, people may start their first meal of the day right after midnight. And this habit has given way to something locals refer to as the graveyard breakfast. Breakfast restaurants commonly include steak and eggs, pancakes, breakfast tacos, omelet and French toast on their graveyard menu.

Alabama

In Lowcountry Alabama, they serve up a savory breakfast of shrimp and grits. It’s so popular that this dish is served in any establishment across the state, from a small eatery to a posh restaurant.

South Carolinans also love a bowl of shrimp and grits.

Louisiana

If you’ve just come back from an all night of partying and want to get some breakfast in New Orleans, follow the heady aroma of beignets. Every Louisiana local grabs them to go with a robust cup of joe.

New Mexico

Guess what locals love to have in the morning? A breakfast burrito, of course. Eggs, meat, potatoes and cheese all rolled into a tortilla. For those who love a spicy dish, this breakfast item may be mixed with green chile sauce.

Maryland

In Maryland, locals order up eggs benedict but with crab cakes at breakfast places.

What’s a Full American Breakfast at a Hotel?

woman sitting poolside with breakfast
Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

Sometimes the highlight of a trip is getting served the most exquisite breakfast in a hotel. Hotel accommodations can be posh, but you could  save a few bucks by booking early and off season. Most hotels will include a free breakfast with your room.

But what food should you expect for your full American breakfast at a hotel?

A typical plate of American breakfast at hotels will include:

  • Two eggs
  • Toast or cereal
  • A side of sausage or bacon
  • Your choice of juice

Some hotels may offer hash brown or country fries as side dishes. You may have coffee with your American breakfast or choose tea and milk. Some fruits in season may also complete your morning meal.

The American breakfast is meant for people who love a protein-packed, power meal and have time to wait for cooked dishes. But if you want something light and have to dash, try the Continental breakfast. It’s usually just bagels, croissants and other pastries with coffee or tea.

An American Breakfast vs. Breakfast Around the World

Breakfast in America is usually heavier, a lot less healthier than most morning meals across the globe. Most Americans not only choose a hefty meal; they may also eat more sweets, like donuts, waffles and other processed products loaded with extra sugar.

If your breakfast comes in a box or a container, you’re consuming more sugar than an adult should.

By comparison, other countries may eat a more nutrient-dense breakfast that’s generally cooked at home.

In Vietnam, for example, they may have a bowl of pho or beef noodle soup. In Egypt, a typical morning meal could be ful medames or fava beans stew with hard boiled eggs with cucumber and tomato salad; in Japan, it’s miso soup with rice and grilled fish; in Myanmar, it’s a noodle soup of river catfish, vermicelli noodles, banana tree stems with aromatics like lemon grass, onions, garlic and ginger, and in Costa Rica, a breakfast is usually rice and beans.

An American breakfast will keep you full, but it may be healthier to make it from scratch at home. Alternatively, make sure you’ve got a full day of activities to burn up all those calories you packed on in the morning or go with healthier breakfast places.

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