Encouraging kids to travel through a love of food

One of the best ways to encourage a love of travel, I reckon, is through the stomach. (It’s not just the way to a man’s heart.) My son has had a lifelong desire to go to Japan and that is definitely because he has had a lifelong love of Japanese food.

How to encourage kids to eat all kinds of Asian food

When we went to Penang earlier this year, I’ll always remember our first meal: my son, then three, chose a huge plate of noodles and chowed down on them like he’d been born Malaysian. And I thought: that’s my little traveller! It didn’t go quite as well the rest of the trip, because he still didn’t like spicy food and even asking if a meal was spicy or not was no guarantee of how it would show up on the table.

But I don’t give up easily, and when I was offered the chance to try out a food delivery service with Menulog*, I thought this was a good chance to take another step along the road to encouraging my son (now four) to love a wide range of different cuisines (and, I hope, plant the desire to visit even more new countries).

Teaching kids to love different cuisines - trying Indian

 

How Menulog works:

Totally easy, proven because I got my four-year-old to help. You can browse by location or cuisine – we had a good look through all the Indian delivery restaurants because my son had developed a bit of an addiction to roti canai flatbread when we were in Penang. When we got serious we just had to put in our postcode to narrow down our choices to places that were close enough to deliver to us.

The whole menu comes up for each restaurant and then the choosing process begins and it is just as tricky as it is when you’re sitting in the restaurant because there is way too much yummy stuff (well, that’s the way it works for me!). As you can see in the picture we went with some butter chicken because my husband is basically addicted to it; along with a vege dish, some onion bhaji and roti, naan and pappadums. It was just a matter of ticking the boxes online then filling out the delivery info along with the time you want it delivered. Given that we were involving a four-year-old we wanted it as early as possible and we were actually able to place the order early in the afternoon to be delivered in their first timeslot of 5.30pm and they were dead on time.

Did my son learn to love Indian food?

Not exactly. Encouraging him to eat spicy foods (even mildly spicy) is still a work in progress. Garlic naan and endless pieces of roti went down a treat, and he thought that papadums were good simply because they have a funny name (he’s still too young to be allowed to say “dumb”, at least in our house!).

Teaching kids to love Indian food

My son enjoying roti and naan but rejecting anything spicy!

He did try the onion bhaji, and the delicious sauce they came with, but pronounced them both “spicy” (I disagree, but still …) and tried the tiniest bit of the vege dish. But he had fun and said he would definitely like to order Indian food again, so I figure it’s just step by step. (Also: he had a huge salad for lunch. Please don’t worry about his nutritional well-being!)

My friends on Instagram assured me that as he gets older, he’ll learn to like spicy food, and I figure if we just keep offering it to him it’ll be sooner rather than later, since he does love food in general. He hasn’t expressed a burning desire to go to India yet but given that we have so many places on his wish list already that’s not such a bad thing. I know he’d go back to Malaysia in a heartbeat and we had a big chat about how people from lots of different cultures live in Malaysia, and that’s why we got to have so many different kinds of foods in Penang. In the meantime, I will continue to feed his major Japanese food addiction (suits me perfectly!) and keep branching out to other cuisines whenever we can. All in the name of education, of course 😉

 

*This post was brought to you by Menulog, but as always the opinions and thoughts are totally mine.

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