Bon Appetit has a great article in their September magazine about celebrating birthday’s. The author’s family celebrates by allowing the birthday child to pick any restaurant they want as long as it is specific to a foreign country. (and Tex Mex doesn’t count) They’ve gone to some surprising and not so surprising places and list Swedish, Spanish and Japanese restaurants as their examples. What a great idea and fun way to introduce new foods and cultures to young kids ..and old ones too! I’ll post a link to the article once it’s available online. I know my oldest would immediately jump at the chance to eat Thai food since he has a hankering for all things noodle. My youngest would probably try to identify a country that serves some version of mac and cheese. Obviously our household would need a few guidelines to encourage new places. Since my birthday is next in line, I plan to kick-off the tradition…..Ethiopian or Moroccan? Any birthday traditions in your households along these lines?
OK — another new-food-quest/adventure! Success! Kids do love empanadas — what’s not to love… right? It’s basically a pizza — cheese, toppings and crust or if you have more grown-up taste then go for the spicy ones. A new Empanada House opened up in Bethesda and we were set on checking it out. According to Wikipedia, empanadas originated in Spain and Portugal and are likened to a large pie for portable eating. The dish was then brought to Latin America, the Philippines and Indonesia. Empanadas have been around for years depending on where you live. But now empanadas are popping up everywhere…restaurants, food trucks and on menus. My oldest loved the pepito which was basically pepperoni and cheese. My youngest tried most things but settled into the four cheese empananda and shoveled the plaintain chips in his mouth. Check out empanada houses or food trucks in your area for a fun and different meal out. We recommend Panas Gourmet Empanadas if you’re in the DC/Metro area – and they’re baked instead of fried. We’ll definitely be heading back.
Who doesn’t love puzzles? Geography puzzles provide great entertainment and education wrapped in one fun family activity. If you sample a new international food why not take a few minutes to identify the region on a map? Better yet, do something interactive and put together a puzzle with the region. Adding another layer of where the food/person/toy comes from helps children of all ages understand cultures and people around the world.
I admire parents who work to give their kids every advantage of a global education. Immersion programs within schools and as stand-alone schools are being established across the country. Spanish, French and Mandarin are popular but Arabic and other languages are surfacing as well. Newsweek highlights the Roger’s family this week and their extraordinary journey to immerse their daughters in Mandarin. Moving their family to Singapore and enrolling their eldest in an elite primary school, they are deeply committed to foreign language immersion. To read more about their story, click here.
Hollywood East West Cafe in Wheaton is a great place to sample Dim Sum. Carts roll by with everything in full view and the kids loved looking at all the delicacies– from chicken feet to tripe. We tried a few new things but kids primarily stuck to their favorites. As long as we’re experiencing new atmospheres, sounds and smells we consider it a succesful outing.
Asian Festival - Washington, D.C.
I have a passion for all things international – cultures, languages, food and of course travel! Living in Washington D.C. offers me a front row seat to all things global – the festivals, restaurants and markets. Although I’m not able to travel as often as I used to I’m eager to share with my young children the multi-cultural world we live in. You’re never too young to understand and experience our growing global community.