Ramen noodle houses are a new trend in our area so we decided to try one with the kids for family date night. A foodie friend recommended Hanabi Ramen & Izakaya so that’s where we headed. Ever since the kids were babies, we’ve tried to expose them to novel foods and encourage them to try new things. As our crew began to develop picking eating habits, we began implementing Ellyn Satter’s approach to feeding. Though this approach has helped tremendously and eliminated mealtime whining, the kids still have three year old opinions about food and fickle choices. For instance, bananas may be all the rage for a week and then are taboo. Given their three year old ways, it’s always a gamble whether they’ll enjoy something new or not.
Interestingly enough, they become FAR more adventurous out than at home. Our dinner at Hanabi proved to be quite a quadventure. On the way to the restaurant, we told the kids we would have noodles for dinner and fried squid. We avoided giving them any type of expectations about how the food would look or taste, and simply labeled it. Upon our arrival, we were seated at a cozy booth and each child was given adapted chop sticks. While waiting for our food, they practiced pinching the chopsticks like tweezers (this was a great fine motor task!).
When our appetizer, fried squid, arrived, I wasn’t sure whether they would sample any. I’m not typically a fan of calamari so I wasn’t expecting fried squid to be tasty. However, to be an example for the kids, I tried a bite, and really enjoyed it. After taking note from us, all four of the kids tried fried squid too, and they devoured it! In fact, they enjoyed fried squid so much we ordered a second plate of it. During the meal, the kids also enjoyed boiled eggs, which they’ve never been willing to try at home. The kids impressed the restaurant staff as well as other patrons with their willingness to try atypical foods. The chef brought them a plate of dumplings to try and the kids gobbled them.
We don’t expect our kids to like every food they try and we will never force them to try anything, but we really enjoy giving them the opportunity to sample things. We also want them to learn how to respect different cultures and people, and food is one way to teach this lesson.
P.S. If you watch the video of them sampling squid for the first time, you’ll notice Harper says he doesn’t like “squid that’s in the sea”. He later clarified that he prefers it “Died and fried”, meaning he doesn’t want to eat live squid. I’m with him on that!
Have you ever tried fried squid? If not, it’s worth the adventure!