Ethnic street foods spice up breakfast menus

Breakfast continues to be a bright spot for restaurants, with consumers increasingly opting to fuel up in the morning somewhere other than their own kitchens. But many consumers want something more than just a pastry or eggs, bacon and toast: More and more, breakfast diners are seeking the kinds of global flavors and less-familiar preparations that food trucks have brought to the fore.

Ethnic breakfast fare is hot. Ethnic-inspired breakfast dishes landed on the National Restaurant Association’s top 10 food trends for 2017. And in Technomic’s recent Breakfast report, 51% of millennials said they craved ethnic breakfast choices. Operators also weighed in, reporting that signature and unique breakfast menu items were strong drivers of breakfast business.

Latin and Asian breakfast staples—both traditional and modernized versions—are joining the standard breakfast menu lineup. And ethnic or not, consumers told Technomic the top three reasons driving visits to their favorite eateries were: good-tasting food (54%), inexpensive options (32%) and food portability (22%).

Breakfast burritos and tacos, especially when filled with chorizo, spicy eggs and other flavor-forward ingredients, meet two of these breakfast demands, offering ethnic variety and portability. Huevos rancheros, long a staple in Mexican eateries, are an easily prepared addition to any menu.

Some restaurants that are on the global-breakfast bandwagon include:

  • Jean-George Vongerichten’s abcV in New York City offers savory porridges like Indian kitchari (lentils and rice) and Chinese congee, reimagined here with black rice and millet and served with mushrooms, scallions and tamari.
  • Washington, D.C.’s DC Dosa specializes in its namesake, the dosa—a popular South Indian breakfast of spiced lentil crepes folded around curried potatoes, roasted vegetables and other fillings and served with chutneys.
  • Denver’s Onefold covers all the bases with its all-day breakfast menu, which includes bacon fried rice with in two duck fat-fried eggs; breakfast burritos and tacos; and congee fortified with chicken stock, duck confit, a poached egg, green onions, soy sauce, salted ginger and chili oil. A hint of French turns up, too, in a croissant sandwich and crepes.

This post is sponsored by Mission


Exclusive Content


Restaurants bring the industry's concerns to Congress

Neary 600 operators made their case to lawmakers as part of the National Restaurant Association’s Public Affairs Conference.


Podcast transcript: Virtual Dining Brands co-founder Robbie Earl

A Deeper Dive: What is the future of digital-only concepts? Earl discusses their work to ensure quality and why focusing on restaurant delivery works.


In the fast-casual sector, Chipotle laps Panera Bread

The Bottom Line: The two fast-casual restaurant pioneers have diverged over the past five years, as the burrito chain has thrived while Panera hit a wall. Here's why.