My native tongue has a word for a specific kind of breakfast where you ask for "a little bit of everything in the middle" or "breakfast of variety" and you get, for example, cooked eggs, jam, butter, honey, some olives, a few types of cheese, some slices of cucumber, cherry tomatoes, some bread and of course tea.

Yes there is a specific word for it ( for indexing purposes: serpme )

I'd like to know if there is a synonym for such a word in the English language.

  • What about breakfast cuisines?
    – Rohith
    Aug 21, 2014 at 13:37
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    If you want to ask this specific breakfast dish in a restaurant in, say, London, you have to mention Turkish Serpme Breakfast.
    – Rohith
    Aug 21, 2014 at 13:47
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    You'd ask for an English breakfast in London, or an Irish one in Ireland, and they'll serve you something with 7 or 9 items of beans, sausages, ham, mushroom, etc. However there's little chance that you'll walk in a restaurant, having to ask for something, without getting a menu. Restaurants usually have that kind of meals mentioned in the menu with a bit of explanation on what it contains.
    – Neeku
    Aug 21, 2014 at 13:58
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    In the UK there are two generally types of breakfast platter: "continental breakfast" is a bit like what you describe and common in hotels: a selection of cold, comparatively healthy things like yoghurts, fruit, ham, cheese, bread, tomatoes, cucumber, cold hard-boiled eggs, croissants, cereals etc. Then there's "cooked breakfast" aka "Full English/Scottish/Irish" breakfast, which is a big plate of fried greasy things plus baked beans. I've always understood serpme be half-way between the two - big UK cities may have Turkish places serving it, probably under the name "Turkish breakfast". Aug 21, 2014 at 15:43
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    I'm not aware of anything in the common American vernacular - I think typically we'd rather just have something hot and greasy, and a lot of it, unfortunately. Aug 22, 2014 at 14:18

11 Answers 11


There are several similar phrases for it in English, but the types of foods in said breakfast are different due to culture, etc. Most phrases are used in connection with types of breakfast served at hotels.

In America:

Continental Breakfast

American Breakfast

Thinking about it more, "All-American Breakfast" sounds more familiar to me than just "American Breakfast." See the caption here, along with a good picture of a typical spread. Apparently we even celebrate "All-American Breakfast Month" (or at least people selling breakfast want us to).

In the UK:

Full Breakfast (aka English Breakfast aka Traditional Breakfast)

Note that the Modern English Breakfast mentioned in the above link is similar to a "continental" breakfast in many ways.

  • 2
    In the UK, the term 'continental breakfast' is also used. The cooked breakfast is a 'fry up'. B&Bs and hotels advertise it as 'full English', 'full Scottish', 'full Welsh' or 'full Irish'. They are similar to each other.
    – Peter
    Aug 22, 2014 at 0:22
  • I've actually never heard the term "American Breakfast". Continental is probably pretty close - though typically that's associated with a hotel rather than a restaurant. Aug 22, 2014 at 14:19
  • I've never heard it in my travels, but my travels have been confined to the Southeast United States and very rarely to a hotel that includes cooked foods (beyond that of a continental breakfast). You can find American Breakfast advertised at hotels on the Internet but the closest phrase that sounds familiar to me is an "All-American Breakfast" marriott.com/hotels/… which is probably what I heard it called at a Shoney's or something. Aug 22, 2014 at 16:06

I think this will be difficult because English speakers have a rather different conception of breakfast food, and there will be a lot of regional difference. For many, cheese and olives are not often considered breakfast food. Instead, you might get some of the following: bacon, sausages, kipper, black pudding, baked beans, fried mushrooms, cereal, porridge, pancakes, waffles, fruit.

If you're thinking of an item in the menu of the café or restaurant, I could imagine a 'mixed breakfast plate/set' or a 'breakfast assortment' featuring some of those items.

If you're thinking of it being laid out for self-service, then Gary's Student's breakfast buffet would work. In some places, this might be a breakfast smorgasbord.

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    Breakfast smorgasbord was my first thought. Similarly, a breakfast spread.
    – talrnu
    Aug 21, 2014 at 19:16
  • Breakfast smorgasbord sounds more like a buffet than an individual serving to me. (It also makes me momentarily confused, since sandwiches are not generally considered breakfast food—but then reality kicks in and I stop trying to force an English word back into its original Swedish meaning. Aug 22, 2014 at 17:26

In English, commercially, you might use breakfast buffet

(pardon my French)


In many restaurants in the US there is an item on the menu called a breakfast sampler. For example at Cracker Barrel Restaurant you can order the Sunrise Sampler

  • I too misunderstood the question. Here, OP is looking for the name of a specific dish (serpme).
    – Rohith
    Aug 21, 2014 at 13:50
  • @Rohith See my EDIT Aug 21, 2014 at 13:56
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    @Rohith It's not that specific. It just explains that variety of meals served together, as the O.P. has explained.
    – Neeku
    Aug 21, 2014 at 13:59
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    -1 You should edit this answer to focus on the "Sampler" answer. A buffet is something specific, and in my opinion, it is incorrect in the context of this question. Buffet- a meal laid out on a table or sideboard so that guests may serve themselves.
    – Lumberjack
    Apr 24, 2015 at 20:51
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    Wow, I just downvoted an answer from August 21, 2014. Today is April 24, 2015 and I feel like a tool. The -1 has been removed.
    – Lumberjack
    Apr 24, 2015 at 20:52

In the US, medleys of that sort are usually listed on the menu as a "selection" or "platter".

If there's no such item on the menu, you could ask for an "assortment", but it's not part of the culture (in the US, at least) for the kitchen to just throw a dish together for you. Usually you have to specify what you want¹.

¹ The upside is that "breakfast places" -- diners -- are usually very accommodating, and are willing to make just about anything you ask for. Whereas in a more upscale restaurant, you're usually limited to what's on the menu, and certain restaurants will even refuse to make minor substitutions (except for allergies or other health reasons, which are usually considered overriding).


The term "breakfast platter" comes to mind.

See some examples here: https://www.google.com/search?q=breakfast+platter&tbm=isch

Great, now I'm hungry.


The first thing I thought of was...

From Google:

smorgasbord (noun):

  1. a buffet offering a variety of hot and cold meats, salads, hors d'oeuvres, etc.
  2. a wide range of something; a variety.

A Shepherd's Breakfast - an assortment of breakfasts. A table-spread of the usual cereals and boiled eggs - but culminating in a platter of most things diced and cooked together: typically sausage, bacon, scrambled egg, potato, fried bread and tomato, and a strong cup of tea.

Treated as 'shovel food', it is best cooked by someone else and scoffed at dawn. Find the brown sauce.


I have seen "American Breakfast" offered in Central and South America, but it usually refers to a simple combo of eggs, bacon or ham, and bread with juice and coffee.


A "breakfast spread" sounds correct to me. As in "That's a great spread."

A few references by request:

Mix and match from Cooking Channel chefs' best breakfast and brunch recipes to create your own custom morning spread.

The Spread Buffet (Name of a breakfast buffet restaurant).

  • Can you offer any examples or other evidence of this phrase in use? If someone were to ask me about breakfast spread, I'd likely think of blackberry jam or Neufchâtel cheese or some such.
    – choster
    Aug 21, 2014 at 21:32
  • @choster The context has a lot of impact on the meaning. If someone said "a breakfast spread" on its own, I'd assume the meaning you suggest - but if they instead said "The breakfast provided was a real spread" then I'd assume choster's meaning applied to every instance of "breakfast spread" in the remainder of the passage. That being said, I agree this answer could be substantially improved by examples of use and references.
    – user867
    Aug 22, 2014 at 3:48

Denny's (restaurant) has popularized this kind of breakfast as a "grand slam."


In American culture, there are different terms for "variety of breakfast items that you select from a common table and then walk back to your table" and "variety of breakfast items served on 1 plate, brought to your table by a waiter".

If it's the "common table" setup, it's (in order of commonality) a "Breakfast Buffet", "Breakfast Station", "Breakfast Board", or "Breakfast Spread".

If it's the "your own plate" setup, it's "Breakfast Sampler" (Cracker Barrel, many diners) or "Breakfast Platter" or "Slam" (Denny's (nationwide diner chain, large enough that their corporate phrasing affects culture; the "slam" is a reference to the American Baseball term "grand slam".))

Some restaurants have the "English Breakfast" (never seen it called "Full English" here) or "Turkish Breakfast", as a menu item. The "English Breakfast" is generally a modified "Full English", with some tomatoes or another vegetable to at least make it somewhat "healthy". "Turkish Breakfast" typically includes a variety of cheeses, jam and/or honey, eggs, bread (pita), and vegetables.

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