While it’s important to expose your child to new cultures and exotic tastes, it can be difficult knowing where to begin their education. For example, if you’re holidaying through Asia, which countries have the tastiest dishes? Which festivals will capture young imaginations while also providing opportunities for cultural appreciation?
If you’re interested in giving your child an accurate, well-rounded picture of Asian cuisine, here are three countries worth a visit.
Meats in Thailand
Loi Krathong, the Festival of Lights
While there are no Thai festivals solely dedicated to the consumption of roast duck and fried fishcakes, the people do enjoy celebrating with food. Loi Krathong, the Festival of Lights, sends paper lanterns into the air while spectators munch on kaep mu and sip cha yen. The masked festival of Phi Ta Khon brings out classic dishes like tom khakai, a soup made of coconut milk and lemon grass. Perhaps most famous is Songkran, the new year celebration where people pour onto the streets for a national water fight to cleanse themselves for the coming season. Lots of sweets are consumed during this fun, festive time!
Spices in Malaysia
If your kids love hot fries and Tabasco sauce, the Penang Food Tour is sure to fire up their senses. Known for its melting pot of Chinese, Indian and Vietnamese cultures, Penang cuisine reflects all these influences in fierce blends of traditional Asian favorites. Rojak, for example, is made with shrimp and chilli paste, whileikan bakar is marinated in a variety of herbs and grilled over hot charcoals. Satay, the famous shish kabobs, take beef, pork and chicken and cook them to a crisp before dipping them in a spicy peanut sauce. Click here for more culinary tours.
Dumplings in China
Duanwu, or… Dragon Boat
If your family’s only experience with Chinese food is what you order through takeout, it’s time to expand everyone’s horizons by hitting up the Duanwu (Dragon Boat) Festival. This national celebration revolves around the consumption of zongzi, a dumping dish made with sticky rice and bamboo, while participants race dragon boats on local rivers. It’s fun and tasty for the entire family!
These are just three countries that can teach your child about the importance of opening their minds to new experiences and tastes. Remember, an adventurous palate is best crafted early, so don’t wait until they’ve grown old on sugary snacks and unhealthy sodas!