Our best Asian breakfast recipes for a taste of breakfast in Asia at home this weekend include everything from recipes for making the perfect Japanese rolled omelette tamagoyaki and a super-easy Cambodian recipe soup with pork meatballs to a whole array of comforting Chinese congees and spicy Southeast Asian noodle soups.
Just in case you made our best breakfast burrito recipe on Saturday and you’ve cooked everything else in our Weekend Eggs collection (we can only hope!) – because Sunday breakfast is still to come for a big slice of the planet (good morning America!), I’ve pulled together a compilation of our best Asian breakfast recipes.
I initially planned a collection of our best Southeast Asian breakfast recipes, which comprised most of our breakfast recipes, seeing our home is Southeast Asia after all, but I realised that list excluded some of our best Asian breakfast recipes, such as recipes for the Japanese rolled egg omelette tamagoyaki, Chinese tea eggs and Indian eggs bhurji, so the best Asian breakfast recipes it is.
Note that this is by no means a comprehensive list of Asian breakfasts or Asian breakfast recipes, but a collection of our picks of the best Asian breakfast recipes we’ve published on Grantourismo over the years, which means you’ll find even more breakfast recipes from Asia if you browse our Recipes collection.
Before I share our best Asian breakfast recipes, I have a favour to ask. Grantourismo is reader-funded. If you’ve cooked our recipes and enjoyed them, please consider supporting Grantourismo by using our links to buy travel insurance, rent a car or campervan or motorhome, book accommodation, or book a tour on Klook or Get Your Guide. You could also browse our Grantourismo store for gifts for food lovers, including fun reusable cloth face masks designed with Terence’s images.
Another option is to support our epic Cambodian cuisine history and cookbook on Patreon; or buy us a coffee, although we’ll probably use our coffee money to buy cooking ingredients for recipe testing; or buy something on Amazon, such as these cookbooks for culinary travellers, James Beard award-winning cookbooks, cookbooks by Australian chefs, classic cookbooks for serious cooks, travel books to inspire wanderlust, and gifts for Asian food lovers and picnic lovers. Now let me tell you about our best Asian breakfast recipes.
Best Asian Breakfast Recipes for a Taste of Breakfast in Asia at Home
Japanese Rolled Omelette Recipe for Tamagoyaki
One of our best Asian breakfast recipes makes tamagoyaki, a soft, fluffy Japanese rolled omelette that’s one element of a Japanese breakfast or bento box. Our last breakfast in Tokyo was consisted of breakfast bento boxes on the train to the airport, with a tamagoyaki in each. It was sublime. We love tamagoyaki between thick slices of Japanese bread to make a tamago sando or Japanese egg sandwich. For a perfect tamagoyaki, you’ll need one of these Tamagoyaki pans and cooking chopsticks. We use a little cast iron tamagoyaki pan with wooden handles which Terence found at our Japanese recycle shop here in Siem Reap. It makes a one-person omelette measuring 10 cm wide x 15 cm long (it’s here on the Amazon Japan shop) but if you’re buying your first Japanese rolled omelette pan, we recommend getting an entire tamagoyaki kit. It will make your life so much easier.
Cambodian Rice Soup Recipe with Pork Meatballs
This Cambodian rice soup recipe with pork meatballs is another of our best Asian breakfast recipes and breakfast here in Siem Reap is pretty special, as there’s so much to choose from, from nom banh chok to pork and rice (both recipes below), and a diverse array of rice soups and rice porridges. This particular rice soup recipe makes borbor sor or ‘white rice porridge’ in Khmer, made with leftover steamed jasmine rice, and it’s one of several ways to make Cambodian congee. ‘White’ used here distinguishes it from rice porridges and rice soups made from the herb and spice paste called kroeung which have a yellow-green colour depending on the type of kroeung used. You can make your own crunchy fried onions to sprinkle on top or you can buy Southeast Asian-style fried shallots (most brands available outside the region are Thai) and if you don’t find them at your supermarket, try an Asian supermarket or market.
Khmer Nom Banh Chok Recipe
This authentic nom banh chok recipe is one of our best Asian breakfast recipes. It makes Cambodia’s beloved ‘Khmer noodles’, nom banh chok samlor proher, a popular breakfast dish of freshly-made rice noodles doused in an herbaceous yellow-green coconut-based fish gravy. You’ll need a heavy mortar and pestle to make the gravy. At its best, it is richer and creamier than other iterations of nom banh chok, which are served with thinner broths. Garnished with fragrant herbs, seasonal vegetables, edible flowers, and wild herbs, it’s Cambodia’s most quintessential breakfast dish, and Cambodia’s national dish for so many Cambodians – indicative by the fact that locals translate the dish to foreigners as ‘Khmer noodles’. Nom banh chok has long been ‘Cambodia in a bowl’ for me and is perhaps my most favourite Cambodian food.
Thai Pad Kra Pao Recipe
This Thai pad kra pao recipe for stir fried pork and holy basil with fried egg is a breakfast staple of street food stalls all over Thailand and another of our best Asian breakfast recipes. A paste of chilli and garlic is combined with ground pork, a rich sauce and holy basil. Topped with a fried egg and served with prik nam pla and jasmine rice, it’s a filling breakfast dish and a Thai street food favourite. While Thai pad kra pao recipe is versatile – you could use ground beef or chicken mince – Thai holy basil is essential. That’s the ‘kra pao’ in the title, also written as ‘kra pow’ and ‘gaphrao’, while ‘pad’ or ‘phat’ is ‘stir-fried’. If made with ground beef it’s best done with a fatty cut and best cut by hand at the stall with two cleavers. A seasoned carbon steel wok is also essential for the smokiness. Some recipes call for oyster sauce, others for dark soy sauce, but we prefer our Thai pad kra pao with oyster sauce.
Vietnamese Bun Cha Recipe
This Vietnamese bún chả recipe makes another of our best Asian breakfast recipes. Of all the Vietnamese specialties we’ve longed to have again since borders closed last year, bún chả has been top of our mind. One of the most quintessential Hanoi breakfasts after phở, this recipe makes the bun cha we used to breakfast, brunch and lunch on in Vietnam‘s capital a few times a week when we rented an apartment on Food Street some years ago. The lovely cook who set up each morning on the curb-side not far from our street grilled the smokiest char-grilled pork patties and pork belly (the ‘chả’), which she served in a warm dipping sauce, with fresh rice noodles (bún), fragrant herbs and greens (perilla, ﬁsh leaf, basil, mint, coriander, butter lettuce, maybe sprouts), and Vietnamese fried spring rolls. This bun cha recipe makes something very close to that.
Classic Cambodian Kuy Teav Recipe
Our classic Cambodian kuy teav recipe makes the chicken version of Cambodia’s popular breakfast noodle soup and one of Cambodia’s most beloved street food dishes called kuy teav sach moan – ‘sach moan’ is chicken meat in Khmer – but you’ll also spot kuy teav sach chrouk with pork (chrouk) and kuy teav sach ko with beef (ko) on menus. It’s another of our best Asian breakfast recipes. A good clear flavourful stock is the hallmark of this soup rather than a bowl abundant with ingredients, but make sure to provide plenty of condiments on the table. Set out dishes of lime quarters, fresh fragrant herbs such as basil, coriander, mint, fish leaf, etc, extra blanched bean sprouts, and finely sliced birds-eye chillies. Also provide pepper and sugar – Cambodians tend to use fish sauce instead of salt in soups – and fish sauce, soy sauce, chilli sauce, chilli flakes, and perhaps some homemade chilli oil.
Ohn No Khao Swe Recipe
This ohn no khao swe recipe makes Myanmar’s beloved Burmese chicken coconut noodle soup and it’s another of our best Asian breakfast recipes. It’s a dish that Terence has been making since we first became enamoured with it on our first trip to Myanmar many years ago when we checked into Yangon’s grand old hotel, The Strand. Probably the most popular breakfast noodle soup dish in Myanmar alongside mohinga, ohn no khao swe consists of egg noodles in an aromatic chicken curry soup with a coconut milk base that is typically garnished with crunchy fried noodles, boiled eggs, shallots, fried garlic, dried chilli, lime, coriander (cilantro), and sometimes fried chickpea fritters. Indeed, in Cook and Entertain the Burmese Way, published in 1978, author Mi Mi Khaing, who was of the Mon ethnic group but married a royal from the Shan States, writes that garnishing your ohn no khao swe is one of the most fun bits about eating this noodle soup, and she describes the “festivity” of doing so, “because with such dishes guests do the final mixing with small accompaniments to their individual tastes”.
Phnom Penh Noodle Soup Recipe for Kuy Teav Phnom Penh
This Phnom Penh noodle soup recipe is another of our best Asian breakfast recipes. It makes kuy teav Phnom Penh, named after Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh, where it’s a popular breakfast soup. One for pork lovers, ‘Phnom Penh noodles’ is distinguished by its pork broth, minced pork, and plump prawns, but can also include any combination of pork loin, pork belly, pork ribs, pork blood cake, pork liver, and offal. Use dry rice noodles such as dried rice vermicelli or rice stick noodles. Just dunk them into your soup in a stainless steel spider or mesh basket with handle. Wear oven mitts if you can’t hang the basket from the pot. You can use the same mesh basket or a slotted spoon to quickly cook your prawns or shrimps. Known for its abundance, serve with plenty of garnishes and condiments, such as lime wedges, bean sprouts, fresh coriander, fried garlic, fried shallots, chilli sauce, fish sauce, and homemade chilli oil. The dish also has a cousin in Vietnam called Hủ tiếu Nam Vang. Nam Vang is the Vietnamese name for Phnom Penh.
Cambodian Pork and Rice Recipe
This Cambodian pork and rice recipe makes bai sach chrouk, a popular Cambodian breakfast dish that is a classic found all over Cambodia and it’s another of our best Asian breakfast recipes. Sold at bustling morning markets and busy roadside stalls, thin pork strips that have marinated overnight are grilled and served with steamed rice and a quick pickle of carrot and daikon. A stall with a stellar reputation, like the one on the corner of old street, will start around 6am and sell out by 9am or so, sometimes earlier in the busy tourist high seasons of the pre-pandemic past. We recommend using a stovetop Korean BBQ grill pan (the ones with the removable grill top) and crush up some charcoal briquettes and place these on the bottom of the pan. This will generate some smoke when the marinade or fat from the pork drips down and hits the charcoal pieces. Only do this if you have a good extraction system!
Kaya Coconut Jam Recipe for Kaya Toast
This kaya coconut jam recipe will make you a sweet, creamy coconut spread that’s slathered on white-bread toast and typically served with soft-boiled eggs, soy sauce and white pepper and syrupy coffee at traditional kopitiams (coffee shops) in Singapore and Malaysia. A simple recipe with just a few ingredients – eggs, sugar, coconut milk, and pandan leaves – it’s slow-going for a smooth spread, but worth the time. We make this in a double boiler of sorts, ie. a ceramic mixing bowl on top of a pot of boiling water, but you can also use a flat bottomed wok or proper double boiler if you have one. If you can’t get fresh coconut cream, use a quality canned coconut cream such as Ayam from Malaysia or Chaokoh from Thailand. You’ll need palm sugar, but if you can’t get hold of any, brown sugar or coconut sugar will work. If you’re wondering why kaya jam is sometimes green, that’s due to pandan essence or pandan food colouring. We use a few fresh pandan leaves from the market or supermarket here in Siem Reap which give the spread a lovely aroma, subtle pandan flavour and caramel colour.
Half Boiled Eggs Recipe for Classic Kopitiam Eggs
This half-boiled eggs recipe makes the classic kopitiam eggs for having with kaya toast at a Singaporean or Malaysian coffee shop. It’s a quintessential kopitiam breakfast in Singapore and Malaysia and one of our best Asian breakfast recipes. The just-set, still runny yolks and milky whites are perfect for dipping toast ‘soldiers’ into. The secret is getting perfectly soft eggs every time. Terence initially experimented with the old-fashioned Malaysian way of making the eggs by placing them in an enamel tin cup like the kind you might have found in the back of a cupboard in your grandmother’s kitchen or in a camping kit you only use once a year. But settled on these stainless steel vacuum insulated coffee mugs and he gets perfect half-boiled eggs every time. If you’re planning on making half-boiled eggs frequently, you could always invest in one of these electric egg cooker-boilers that you’ll spot at kopitiams in Malaysia and Singapore.
Chinese Tea Eggs Recipe for Perfumed Marbled Eggs
This Chinese tea eggs recipe makes marbled eggs – aromatic boiled eggs that have a marbled appearance when peeled. Steeped in a stock of five spice, soy and tea flavours that perfume the eggs, they’re a tasty snack when eaten on their own, or add soy sauce, chilli sauce and steamed rice and you have a lovely light breakfast. You might see this Chinese tea eggs recipe presented as ‘Cha Yip Dahn’ in cookbooks, such as Charmaine Soloman’s The Complete Asian Cookbook. More correctly it is spelt wǔxiāng cháyè dàn or 五香茶叶蛋 in Mandarin, which translates to 五香 – Spiced, 茶 – Tea, 叶 – Leaf, 蛋 – Egg. We love eating them with some Lao Gan Ma (chilli sauce) with peanuts or Lao Gan Ma with Spicy Chilli Crisp. So good! Before starting on this recipe, check your pantry for rock sugar, made from crystallised sugar cane juice. You should find it in your local Asian supermarket.
Cambodian Chicken Rice Porridge Recipe
This Cambodian chicken rice porridge recipe makes the Cambodian congee, borbor sach moan and it’s another of our best Asian breakfast recipes. It’s long been thought that this chicken rice porridge is a dish of Chinese origin and part of the Cambodian-Chinese culinary heritage rather than a Khmer dish, but no matter its provenance it’s become a comfort food favourite and popular Cambodian breakfast for all Cambodians. Although we’ve observed Cambodians tuck into big bowls of this borbor for breakfast, brunch, lunch, an afternoon snack, dinner (particularly if someone is feeling ill), and a late-night supper (i.e. hangover cure). Here in Siem Reap we can find borbor made with chicken, pork, fish, dried fish, seafood, snails, and frog legs, and it’s served with an array of condiments, from dried fish floss and pickled vegetables to fish sauce, chilli flakes, and fresh fragrant herbs, but this chicken rice porridge makes one of our favourites.
Chiang Mai Khao Soi Gai Recipe
This Chiang Mai khao soi gai recipe makes the wonderful curry noodle chicken soup that foreign visitors to the Northern Thailand city tend to become fixated with and it’s easily another of our best Asian breakfst recipes. Thailand‘s old Lanna kingdom capital, Chiang Mai is famous for its fantastic Northern Thai-style Lanna food and khao soi gai must be its best-known dish. The one-bowl meal of egg noodles in a rich and oily, coconut cream-based stock, with a leg or thigh of bone-in chicken (‘gai’ is Thai for chicken) topped with crunchy noodles, which could have arrived with Chinese Muslim traders from Southern China or from Myanmar along the old established trading route between Moulmein and Chiang Mai. One of the sure signs of a good khao soi gai is a slick of bright red oil on top, created from the splitting of the coconut cream and stock – which only really happens with fresh coconut cream. What this does is help coat the noodles with oil and stock with each mouthful.
Lao Khao Soi Recipe
This Lao khao soi recipe is another of our best Asian breakfast recipes, making a hearty soup with wide rice noodles and a generous dollop of a rich tomato-based pork mince sauce that resembles a Southeast Asian take on an Italian ragu Bolognese. The recipe is one that Terence has been perfecting for years, since we fell in love with Lao khao soi many years ago on our first trip to Luang Prabang in Laos, after our guide Bounmee pointed out a rustic noodle joint in a ramshackle corrugated iron shed that he claimed ladled out the best Lao khao soi in town. It was served with plenty of fresh greens – crispy long snake beans, aromatic mint, basil, and lime halves – and that Luang Prabang cook gave us an array of condiments to add, including shrimp paste, fish sauce, chilli sauce, sugar, salt, and pepper, but all I reckon it needs is a sprinkle of dried chilli flakes.
Yogyakarta-Style Soto Ayam Recipe
Soto ayam is chicken soup. ‘Soto’ means soup and ‘ayam’ is chicken. It’s an Indonesian chicken soup with noodles that is the go-to street food breakfast for many locals. But just as my favourite chicken soup recipe might differ markedly from your chicken soup recipe, there seems to be a soto ayam recipe for every village, town, city, and region on Indonesia’s 18,307 islands. But if there’s one thing that Indonesians seem to agree on, it’s that soto ayam is the country’s chicken noodle soup for the soul. Like all good chicken soups, soto ayam is comfort food, eaten as a healthy filling breakfast to kickstart the day, and recommended for the restorative properties of its ingredients (its turmeric in particular) when you’re feeling a little off or unwell. This soto ayam recipe for the beloved Indonesian chicken noodle soup is based on the aromatic breakfast noodle soup we became smitten with on our last day in Yogyakarta, Java.
Balinese Burbur Ayam Chicken Congee Recipe
This authentic bubur ayam recipe makes the traditional Indonesian congee with chicken and shredded omelette that is a classic local breakfast, a Balinese version of the region-wide congee or rice porridge dishes with which Asian food lovers will be familiar. We learnt to make this bubur ayam recipe from Desak, the outstanding cook at a villa rental in Bali, Indonesia, we stayed at for a couple of weeks on the year-long grand tour that launched Grantourismo. This bubur ayam recipe is quite simple: rice cooked with some garlic with a chicken breast poaching in the pot, which becomes the stock. An omelette chopped into strips and placed on the rice porridge with the poached chicken meat shredded on top as well. Add some condiments and you’re done.
Indian Egg Bhurji Recipe
This egg bhurji recipe makes another of our best Asian breakfast recipes. The delicious classic Indian spicy scrambled eggs comes with a little twist courtesy of a different scrambled egg technique. The word ‘bhurji’ means ‘scrambled’ and you’ll also see it called ‘anda bhurji’, ‘anda’ meaning ‘eggs’ in Hindi. Not only a breakfast dish, egg bhurji is eaten at all times of the day with myriad kinds of Indian bread – as well as bread rolls – and it’s a rich fragrant version of the kind of scrambled eggs that we love. The first time Terence cooked egg bhurji it reminded us of a great Indian feast. These Indian spicy scrambled eggs have all the flavour notes and aromas of Indian food that we love so much.
Please do let us know in the comments below f you make any of our best Asian breakfast recipes, as we’d love to know how they turn out for you.