I’ll be honest—we eat a lot of chicken nuggets. And French fries. And hamburgers. Pre-children, my husband and I prided ourselves in eating local, diverse cuisines. Roasted goat at Hoyo’s Somali Kitchen? Check. Biang Biang noodles at Jiu Thai Asian Café? Yes, please. Vegetable Mahbarawi at Addis Restaurant? Absolutely.
But having kids made it more difficult for us to explore Columbus’ food scene, and we found ourselves at Raising Cane’s more often than I’d like to admit.
So how do you do it? How do you make the transition from macaroni and cheese to Momo Ghar’s?
Order Food Similar to Something They Already Like
Ethnic cuisine doesn’t have to be intimidating. Start small, like ordering Mandu (pork or vegetable-filled steamed dumplings) and Bulgogi (thinly sliced marinated beef) at Ming-Ga Korean. Or add an extra side of garlic naan (Indian-style bread with fresh garlic) the next time you’re at Aab India. Presenting new foods using familiar words (“Naan is a type of bread”) can help ease the uncertainty. You can also use these mealtime battle tips at home when trying new foods as well.
Present Two Options, and Let Them Choose
We all know the power of giving children choice. It gives them a sense of ownership, and they are more likely to respond positively. If you’re craving sushi at Akai Hana, let your child choose between two basic options, such as a California roll or an avocado roll (hint: this will also help avoid the “I want to order an entire sushi boat!” argument.)
Visit Somewhere That Has a Blended Menu
Research shows that children may need multiple exposures to food before they try it. If your kiddo isn’t quite ready to dive in yet, head over to A&J Wingburger in Pickerington. They have both American and Korean food on their menu. You can order Bibimbap (vegetables, beef, and rice served in a hot stone pot), and your child can order biscuits and gravy. It really is the best of both worlds!
Exposing your child to different cuisines can help raise someone who is culturally responsive to the world around him, and Columbus is the perfect city to explore and eat different types of food. We are lucky to live in such a rich, diverse community—now is the time.
And yes, you can still find me ordering a Box combo at Raising Cane’s because, Cane’s Sauce. #onelove