Ethnic-inspired breakfast dishes are growing in popularity no matter where you look. Both urban and suburban locations are featuring applications and spices that borrow from culinary favorites worldwide.

Millennials, most who consider themselves foodies, are leading the charge and influencing how establishments design their menus. They seek dining experiences that provide them with innovative and unique dishes they don’t experience at home, yet aren’t so unfamiliar from the norm to be intimidating.
* Mintel Report, Innovation on the Menu, Sept. 2017

Smithfield Culinary identified several popular worldwide areas with flavors that are becoming popular on menus across America.
Click on each for insights and ideas on how you can effectively incorporate them into your breakfast menus.

Emerging Ethnic Inspirations:

South American


The plantain has increased 7.7% on US menus in dishes such as breakfast omelets and burritos. They can also be used instead as a bun for sandwiches.

Datassential, Menu Trends, 2017

Empanadas have had an increase on the menu of 24% over 4 years. They can be stuffed with pork, chicken or beef.

Datassential, Menu Trends, 2017
Flavor Trend: Chimichurri

A South-of-the-border red or green uncooked sauce used primarily for grilled meats. Its flavor differs depending on country of origin. Perfect to spice up omelets.


Mexican Breakfast Torta

Mexican flavor profiles/ingredients are ubiquitous in the menu adoption cycle, having been established a popular presence on breakfast menus in restaurants.

Datassential, Menu Trends, 2017

The influence of Mexican dishes is apparent by the growth of their ingredients. Peppers in breakfast/brunch dishes are up 18%; beans are up 46%.

Mintel, Restaurant Breakfast and Brunch Trends, July 2016
Flavor Trend: Achiote

A slightly nutty, sweet and peppery Mexican spice from the seeds of the achiote tree. At the inception stage, it is used most commonly in Mexican pork and chicken dishes.


Pork Belly over Chickpea Stew and Rice

Chutney is popular within pork breakfasts, such as sandwiches, pancakes and egg dishes. Chutney is on 6.8% of U.S. menus and has grown 9.4% over the last year.

Datassential, Breakfast Flavors, 2017

The kebab is up 85% and Curry is up 92% on menus. Chefs are featuring more Indian spices in familiar dishes, creating unique hybrid signature flavors.

Mintel Report-Innovation on the Menu, Sept. 2017
Flavor Trend: Chutney

The name for an Indian sauce of diverse flavorings, from tomato relish, ground peanut garnish, yogurt and mint dip and many more. Add to breakfast bowls.


Seared Pork Belly Breakfast Bowl

Korean as a menu item has increased 10% in one year, partly because 60% of international food eaters seek out food that is hot or spicy.

Mintel Report, Innovation on the Menu, Sept 2017

Kimchi, a traditional Korean side dish made from fermented vegetables has had a 92% increase in menu penetration over 4 years, including at breakfast.

Datassential MenuTrends, 2017
Flavor Trend: Gochujang

A sweet and spicy fermented Korean hot sauce often used as a marinade on roast meat or fish and as a flavorful condiment. Adds a zing to breakfast burritos.


Maple Bacon Waffle with Lingonberry Syrup

The lingonberry, which has a tart flavor, has seen a 74% growth in midscale restaurants over 4 years. It is featured in jam, compote or syrup for both sweet and savory breakfast dishes.

Datassential MenuTrends, 2017

Pickled food items are on 25.3% of U.S. Menus, up 54.9% in 4 years. Specifically, popular dishes include pickled vegetables on cold/hot breakfast sandwiches and omelets.

Datassential MenuTrends, 2017
Flavor Trend: Dill

A green, aromatic herb featured on menus in dishes such as cold or hot sandwiches and fish entrées.


Cumin-Spiced Pork Chop with Turkish Poached Eggs

The Mediterranean diet is perceived as a healthful choice due to the fact that it’s rich in natural Omega-3 fatty acids, which corresponds with today’s emphasis on wholesome foods. Today, Middle Eastern cuisine has a consumption rate of 58%.

Mintel, Innovation on the Menu, Sept 2017

Harissa (red pepper paste) is up 74% on menus over 4 years, after being introduced into dishes such as breakfast sandwiches and egg dishes.

Datassential MenuTrends, 2017
Flavor Trend: Harissa

A Middle Eastern hot chili pepper paste adds a zingy spiciness to any breakfast dish.

For more Global Breakfast recipe inspiration and menu concepts to help boost your breakfast business, visit our recipe page.
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