Over the years we’ve loved seeing ethnic flavors become more commonplace in American cuisine. This trend crosses all dayparts, and cool ethnic dishes have even conquered breakfast.1 Chef Einav states that breakfast has been a growing meal occasion over the past 3 years, breaking all time frames to be a "breakfast all day" occasion. It is a great meal opportunity to use as a vehicle to introduce new flavors. This matches consumer data showing that 51% of consumers, and 59% of millennials, look to breakfast during the weekend to order new foods/flavors that they haven’t tried before.2 Mintel predicts ethnic at breakfast is just getting started and expects more authentic breakfast items to hit menus such as empanadas, kolaches and dosa.
Chef Kyle’s Ethnic Breakfast Picks
Consider some of these ideas for your menus. Each has the versatility to be applied to all sorts of dishes.
Dosa with curried potatoes and mint chutney
Since potatoes are already common in American breakfasts, this dish is a great foray into ethnic flavors at breakfast. The thin pancake also mimics a traditional American breakfast food.
These pastry-like shells can deliver all kinds of delicious flavors. Try these with a mint chutney, rather than the traditional tamarind and chili sauces for dipping.
Incorporate a traditional Hispanic flavor into common breakfast ingredients such as cauliflower, mushrooms, potatoes and tofu.
Chef Einav’s Ethnic Breakfast Picks
Oatmeal doesn’t always have to be sweet. It can be a delicious base to mix in world flavors, cheeses and eggs.
Huevos con Salsa Verde
A breakfast staple in many parts of the world, this plate could soon become standard here as well.
These offer the versatility to incorporate all sorts of savory breakfast ingredients.
There are many variations, but an Acai bowl is a lot like a yogurt parfait containing super fruits, oatmeal and even peanut butter. They’re very filling and offer a nutritious boost.
Examples of Ethnic Breakfasts in the Marketplace
Deep Ellum in Boston offers house-smoked kielbasa, fried egg, horseradish aioli and cheddar in an English muffin.
Mike & Patty's Boston breakfast torta contains two fried eggs, cheddar, jalapeños, potatoes, black beans, salsa and avocado.
Eggslut in LA's Grand Central Market sells the Gaucho: wagyu tri-tip, runny egg over medium, chimichurri, red onions and arugula in a brioche bun.
More Breakfast Dishes with Ethnic Flair
- Dishes featuring Asian syrups
- Shakshuka (North Africa)
- Khcapuri (Georgia)
- Silog (Philippines)
- Okomiyaki (Japanese)
- Breakfast tacos (example: Choza’s in New York Gotham West market)
- Coconut milk pancakes
- Peruvian quinoa bowls
A Taste of Taiwanese Breakfast
Joan and K.F. Seetoh of the Culinary Institute of America dropped in to a breakfast hot spot in Taipei. What they ate looks incredible.
When Chef Jill Houk saw this spread in the video, it sparked ideas for creating some irresistible domestic culinary spinoffs:
Shaobing Youtiao (“Carb Sandwich”)
“For an American audience, I would start by trying to replicate the carb-on-carb crunch with a crusty sesame roll (rice flour would give it a crispier texture) and add a delicate chive omelet + a thin layer of crispy hash browns to bring local familiarity.”
Dan Bing (Crepes)
“I’d start with ultra-thin crepes with no added sugar, and fold around a soft-scrambled egg with a choice of mix-ins like veggies, ham and/or cheese. Lightly griddle, as you would a burrito, and serve sliced into pieces as they do in the video.”
Dou Jiang (Savory Breakfast Stew)
A North American version could use a poached egg instead of soy milk and soy curd—offering the same basic unctuous texture from the soft yolk alongside the more toothsome egg white. Serve over soft polenta, again drawing on the texture, and add a spicy Asian sauce, cilantro, and a garnish of pickled vegetables.
Millennials Are Way Into Ethnic Flavors
- 89% are open to trying new cuisines that they have not had before.1
- 72% are always looking for new cultural experiences to broaden their horizons.2
- 51% of millennials and 43% of Gen Z want to see more ethnic items and flavors offered at breakfast.3
1 Mintel Innovation on the Menu Report, September 2016
2 Technomic, Consumer Food Trends, December 2016
3 Technomic 2016, referenced: http://www.aeb.org/news-trends/incredible-breakfast-trends