Eating out with your family is a great way to spend quality time together, but it’s all too easy to find yourselves ordering the same thing every single time. Sampling new cuisines together can help your kids develop a more adventurous attitude when it comes to food, not to mention it’s a good way to get to grips with global cuisines.
Forget the fish and chips this week, here are four new cuisines to try with your family.
Vietnamese food is slowly gaining popularity, but it’s not quite standard takeaway fare just yet. Start your little ones off with a banh mi – a crusty baguette with meat and pickled vegetables – or perhaps a bowl of bun thit nuong, which consists of fried spring rolls and rice noodles. Coffee lovers should definitely try a super sweet iced coffee, which the Vietnamese make with condensed milk. If you’re feeling adventurous, sample some spicy congee or pho, a noodle soup which is actually Vietnam’s national dish.
Rather than serving up individual meals, Southeast Asian cultures tend to put a heavy emphasis on sharing dishes, so there’s a real communal feel when you share a Vietnamese meal with your family.
Fresh and healthy, Filipino food is very kid-friendly. The multitude of Southeast Asian and Hispanic influences in the Philippines has created one of the tastiest cuisines around. From fresh seafood to delicious adobo, there are plenty of flavoursome dishes for everybody to try. Just bear in mind that Filipino ketchup tends to be made from bananas rather than tomatoes before you pour it all over your food.
Be sure to try some traditional Filipino desserts too. They usually involve yams, coconuts and bananas. Filipino restaurants have only just started to appear in the UK but there are some fantastic choices in London, especially 100hoxton.com.
If you like Spanish food, you’ll love Chilean food. It’s spicy, tangy, meaty and endlessly interesting. Don’t miss out on empanadas, delicious doughy pastries that are usually eaten on special occasions. Curanto stew is the national dish of Chile and is a nutritious combination of seafood, meat and vegetables. It’s often enjoyed at Chilean parties and traditionally prepared in a fire pit. Curanto is fairly easy to cook, although it does take around two hours to prepare.
A hearty Bulgarian meal goes down particularly well during the winter months. This cuisine is heavy on the dough, potatoes and dairy so it’s perfect comfort on a cold day. Bulgarians enjoy deep-fried breakfasts but if you’re not keen on that for your kids, you could always prepare them a healthy Shopska salad for lunch, which involves tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and feta cheese. Stuffed peppers with egg is a popular choice for dinner in Bulgaria, and it’s vegetarian-friendly, too. Meat-eaters should opt for a classic Kebapche, which is a long, spicy sausage, usually served with potato. If there’s any room for dessert, you can’t go wrong with baklava, a light, flaky Bulgarian pastry.