Starting the Day Right: A Look at UIII's Breakfast Culture

March 19, 2023

Contributor: Maroof Ahmed | Editor: Supriyono | Photographer: Safiullah Junejo

An old saying says that how you start the day will determine how the rest of your day runs. Believe it or not, it could be different between one person to another in performing their morning routine. Yet, despite the difference, there is one thing that could perhaps unite us all together: we kickstart the day with breakfast.

For students at Universitas Islam Internasional Indonesia (UIII), breakfast is not just an idle act. Beyond that, this is a sacred ritual of self-love, a proud celebration of our diverse cultural identities, and a ‘fuel’ for a productive day of studying.

Hamad Shoukat, a Pakistani student at UIII, believes that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Given its significance, he starts his day with a cup of cappuccino, four boiled eggs, and three slices of brown bread.

“My breakfast items will definitely boost my immune system. They give me the energy and nutrients I need for [my] academic success," said the 25-year-old sports junkie who is also a certified fitness trainer.

Different from Hamad whose breakfast is part of his high protein meal plan, an Indonesian student Ghufronakallah, chooses to go local with nasi kuning (yellow rice) as her favorite breakfast menu. For Ghufronakallah, having a traditional breakfast is an important part of her day, reflecting her cultural identity.

"This dish [nasi kuning] is prepared with Indonesian spices. This is primarily characterized by its yellow color [that is naturally] sourced from turmeric. Yellow rice is fantastic when it is paired with side dishes like fried chicken, tofu, tempeh orek [tempeh in sweet soy sauce], and sliced omelets,” explains Ghufronakallah of her traditional Indonesian cuisine.

Similar to her, Amanullah Zlawar of Afghanistan admits that he keeps his breakfast routine the same way as he did in his country. “Actually, we [still] maintain [our] traditional breakfast. In the morning we drink milk with tea. We also eat Parata, a kind of bread. [Here] I'm trying my best to make the same traditional meal for my own breakfast,” said Amanullah.

What Amanullah does is also performed by his native friend, Zulaikha Delju, who admits that she always does her breakfast in the student dorm. “I have Badakhshani Tea for my breakfast which is called Shor Chay. I also have boiled eggs and sometimes different kinds of cooked eggs with roti [bread] and butter,” explains Zulaikha.

Whilst other students seem to focus more on what type of meals they have for breakfast, a different narrative was given by Eka Hermansyah, an Indonesian student, who keeps a cultural activity of his hometown, Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, as his breakfast ritual at UIII. “This is [called] begibung. It’s like chilling before breakfast with your friends or with your family in the park,” said Eka.

As an academic community, students at UIII come from diverse backgrounds with multi-nationalities. While, for others, breakfast might seem like a simple regular activity, for us, this is a celebration of our unique and rich cultures, as well as a symbol of self-care to be physically and mentally prepared to reach academic success.

Editor: Supriyono

Photo: Safiullah