The Breakfast Dilemma – Savory vs Sweet

Photo by Esha Samajpati © All rights reserved

When on the road, in a country quite different from the ones I am used to, I always skip the continental spread in favor of the local favorite. Some countries like to start their day with a helping of the mild-mannered miso soup while others find solace in hearty sausages but for now let’s just classify all dishes under the broad categories of savory and sweet. The net is filled with forums and article extolling the virtues of either.

Let me tell you about the two kinds I am most familiar with – Indian and American. Indian breakfasts tend to be savory – the flatbreads stuffed with spicy potato salad (aloo parantha), the crispy crepes (dosas), and the fluffy breads (luchi) with a side of fries. The accompanying yogurt and coconut dips help dial down some of the heat. Of course, it is not unheard of to have sweets like jalebis (think pretzels dripping sugary syrup) as part of the meal.

The American favorite is a stack of pancakes doused with amber-colored maple syrup. Yes, there’s the hash browns and the sausage links, but come on, we all know it’s the pancakes who rule.

Eggs when made into an omelet can claim to be somewhat of a common ground between the breakfasts of these two countries but French Toasts again dig into the dividing line. Indian French Toasts are often savory (think onions and tomatoes and Serrano pepper) while in the States, it’s all about the butter and sprinkled sugar and sticky syrup.

At home on any given Sunday, after a particularly satisfying round of buttery pancakes dripping in maple syrup, we often whip up a batch like the one you see above. Dotted with scallions and tomatoes and cilantro, it calls for a pinch of salt and pepper, and maybe a dash of smoky cumin. Goes fabulously well with a jar of apple-cilantro chutney.

If all this breakfast talk has made you hungry for more, check out these 11 Traditional Breakfasts From Around the World.