Don’t think having children relegates you to the world of fast food or restaurant chains. Taking your children to nicer restaurants – especially nicer restaurants that feature a different cuisine – is a great family experience. So, make dining out a learning experience that introduces good manners, a new cultural and new tastes. Here are 5 foreign foods that are kid friendly.
1. French Crepes – and we don’t mean the kind that come with whipped cream unless they’re a special dessert. Crepes look familiar to children – after all they are a pancake, just a really thin one. You can probably tailor the filling to a child’s taste with fillings like chicken or cheese. If your child likes eggs, think about a quiche – a pie shell with eggs and, maybe, bacon, how could you lose?
2. Cacio E Pepe – is a great Italian dish that resembles macaroni and cheese, often a child’s favorite meal. Cacio e pepe is a simple masterpiece of spaghetti tossed with olive oil and grated Roman cheese and cracked black pepper. The spicy pepper is softened by the cheese and pasta but if it worries you, ask that the dish be prepared without it. And, no fair just ordering pizza or spaghetti in a marinara sauce. The goal is to introduce a new taste.
3. Couscous – is a traditional Berber food from North Africa. Most children like soft, starchy foods and couscous fits the bill. The grain-size semolina is steamed until fluffy and usually topped with a meat or vegetables. Worried about the topping and if the taste is too foreign for your child? Order it on the side so they can enjoy the couscous and try the different tastes of the toppings.
4. Sate – this Indonesian favorite is a delight for children. First, it’s served on a stick – just like a corn dog. Next it’s grilled over a fire so it has that familiar, just-off-the-grill taste. Plus, it comes with peanut sauce for dipping – another familiar taste.
5. Street Tacos – Mexican food has become so common in America that it’s almost not a foreign taste so look for a Mexican restaurant that offers street tacos with a variety of fillings. Your child can stick with something as familiar as carne asada (steak off the grill) or chicken or go for something different like carnitas (shredded pork) or, even, a grilled fish street taco. They all come with that familiar tortilla and you can ask for any of the great sauces like tomatilla salsa or lime sauce on the side.
When you introduce your child to different cuisines at more upscale restaurants you’re going to find better and more exciting choices. It’s not just a hard-shell taco or a pizza. Choose restaurants with more authentic and more varied choices, like a Mexican restaurant that serves Mexican shrimp or grilled sweet corn. You’re going to be teaching your children how to enjoy fine food in a setting that invites great family conversations and fun.