An English breakfast abroad: why not?
comment 13 Written by on May 19, 2010 – 9:13 pm

english_breakfast.jpg

This week someone told me about a B&B in Buenos Aires called Abode that prides itself on its ‘full English’ breakfast.

“Can they get ‘baked beans?” I asked instantly, trying not to salivate too obviously. I was told that if they can’t get baked beans, the owner has honed her own recipe. Perhaps I should try that. The only baked beans I’ve seen here are sold in the ethnic food section of a China Town supermarket and cost over £3 a can. They’re not even Heinz.

Of course, I am all for ‘going local’ at breakfast and every other time of day, but there are only so many media lunas a person can take. Yes, some days, I want fried eggs, brown sauce and a mug of Tetleys. God lord, that sounds good now. Where can I get some brown sauce? I hope it doesn’t come under on the absurd imported food ban that Argentina is currently trying to enforce.

Argentinians, in general, don’t really go in for breakfast. Alongside all the things I love about this country, I find this somewhat disappointing. The other Sunday I got up late after a big night out and decided the best course of action was to make myself an omelette for a late-morning brunch. “Wow, you must have a strong stomach,” said my housemate.  Really? Strong enough to handle eggs and milk? Having had a fair few glasses of fernet-cola the night before, I really don’t think eggs and milk were going to upset the balance greatly.

Recently, I read an article in Sunday Time Travel Magazine about the Costa Brava. In it the author – prolific travel writer Anthony Peregrine – advocated our right to enjoy the Great British breakfast abroad.

“I can’t understand what is wrong with eating egg and bacon in foreign parts. When Italians come to Britain, they seek out pasta. Japanese restaurants in London are full of Japanese visitors. During Wimbledon, Rafael Nadal eats at his favourite Spanish restaurant. We find this quite acceptable. So, on the Costa Brava mine will be the full English, please. Enough of the British self-loathing. To hell, also, with the sticky sticks of churros that aren’t so much breakfast as an insult to the teeth.”

He’s going out on a bit of a limb here, but fair play to him for breaking with the usual snobbery.

However, English, Japanese, Argentinian, whatever, I do think it’s a shame if you don’t give the local delicacies a try and have a go at getting into the scene, even if you’re not going to make a habit of eating it every day.  I remember being a bit taken aback by eating spicy food for breakfast in India and drinking camel’s milk in Dubai, but at least I remember those experiences. If I also ate cornflakes one day in either of those countries, I couldn’t tell you now.

Meanwhile, this week I have decided to mix things up here in Buenos Aires. Yesterday I popped out for a bagel (which are far from common here) and tomorrow I’m hoping to try the famed French toast at Le Ble. Breakfasts are looking up.

What do you think? Do you like to treat yourself to your favourite breakfast from home while you’re abroad? The Sunday Times writer also said that one of people he met in Spain insisted they rarely ever have a ‘full English’ at home. He was doing it because he was on holiday and he wanted to a treat.

Photo: Phil Campbell on Flickr. Creative commons

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13 Responses to “An English breakfast abroad: why not?”

  1. I’ve not lived in the UK for over 6 years and in that time I think I’ve had 3 Full English, and those were all over a 6 day period in Cusco of all places. I tend to look forward to those sort of things when I’m back home – as you say you can’t all the right stuff here anyway so what’s the point? If I come across one in a cafe, I may well order it, but I’m not craving it and wouldn’t go out of my way to get one. Although, having said that I would like to know where you got the bagels from!

  2. Cusco – it wasn’t Jack’s cafe, was it? Everyone seems to go there for comfort food. I nearly mentioned it in this piece.

    Bagel tips are my speciality …

    1) Home deliveries from here – http://elbagelazo.blogspot.com/

    2) Amazing all-you-can-eat, 25-peso brunch here: http://www.theshuzbar.com/ And that’s not a buffet. Just order what you want from the menu. Including amazing fresh juices and bagels. And hummus. And falafal. And I could go on and on….

  3. Hi Vicky. Thanks for the mention in your Blog. Here at Abode we have many guests that have spent several weeks travelling around Argentina and they really look forward to the option of something that bit different for breakfast. Not only do we offer the ‘Full English’ but if you are really lucky David will offer guests his Marmite. Baked Beans are impossible to find here but my homemade version are pretty good. We also offer a proper cuppa with Tea bags brought in for us from the UK. Its the one thing I really can’t do with out. Argentine tea just doesn’t work with milk.
    For guests from the states we also offer banana pancakes served with maple syrup and for more retro taste buds there is Boiled Eggs and soldiers. You wouldn’t believe how many dutch and german guests are fascinated by the idea.

  4. Of all meals, breakfast seems to be the one most shaped by climate. When you think of good places to have breakfast you think NY, Chicago, Scandinavia, the north of England… Breakfast in the tropics mostly consists of fresh fruits – useless.

    The best (only) bacon in Buenos Aires is available from Heath Baines. He delivers. Google him to get his email address.

    By Matt on May 22, 2010 | Reply
  5. Nice Brekky!

    I have noticed the uptake of people ordering a cup of ‘builder’ in the morning. We have long since used the expression as the best way to describe that most essential morning brew.

    I follow adventure sports and travel with this blog (http://www.adventuresportsholidays.com/blog/)

    I also am the editor at travel-copywriting.com. Your blog is great, happy to follow you on Twitter and check back.

    If you fancy a guest post on the British ‘cuppa’, just give me a shout – kettle’s on!

  6. Ah nothing like breakfast to get people talking. Thanks for all your great comments. Zoe – I can’t believe you share Marmite with guests. That really is service. I’d only do that with best friends and blood relatives.

    Matt – good tip about the bacon guy. I’ve heard of him, but didn’t remember the name.

    Mark – am checking out your sites belatedly now. Cheers for stopping by.

    BTW – if anyone was getting excited about the Shuz Bar, they are ending that deal. I think they might be closing. I got one last Sat session in though.

  7. I’d love to treat myself to breakfast or even brunch but I have yet to find anything here in Salta that really hits the spot. Cafe 4 Ciglos has a breakfast buffet that includes meats, cheese and a hot plate of scrambled eggs that aren’t bad. I am usually the only one eating it though.

    I usually take like-minded breakfast seekers when they come to visit.

    Recently, I started a monthly international dinner through Couchsurfing. Our next meal will be American Brunch. French toast. Eggs. Chicken sausage. And not a media luna in sight.

  8. Monthly international dinner – what a nice idea and I love the fact that an American Brunch features as a full meal. Media lunas – that´s just a snack. In one week´s time I hope to be tucking into the real deal in Florida. Will make a very nice change.

  9. So true, however I do like a big breakfast on a Saturday when I am traveling.
    The amount of times that I get beef sausages instead of pork. arrgh – yuk 🙂

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