Pizza, chicken tenders and french fries, it’s the diet for many American children. As parents, we often find ourselves in this complacency with our children’s palate. We allow them to eat the same fruits, veggies and meals day-after-day because it’s easier than arguing with them, and at least they’re fed, right? Expand your child’s palate by creating an adventure with their meal by trying new cultural foods. The Chattahoochee Valley is home to an array of locally-owned restaurants that offer exciting textures and flavors for you and your little one’s taste buds. If you’re a little hesitant to feed your child a falafel instead of a fry, we’ve got some tips to make this dining outing successful:
Make it a Fun Lesson: These ethnic dining locations are often filled with culturally appropriate décor, photos and music. Make your dining experience more than just the food. Teach your child about the area where the meals originated. A simple google search for “fun facts about Germany” can give you lots of interesting information for table discussion. If your child is already familiar with the culture, consider discussing the food itself on the menu. For example, where olives are grown, how they’re harvested and the different kinds available.
Look for similar foods and textures: If your child never eats shrimp, don’t expect them to like shrimp with a new seasoning on it. However, if your child is a huge fan of bread, perhaps start at the naan bread. Most countries have similar staples to their meals, so consider your child’s current likes and find a menu item tailored to those needs.
Don’t Force It: We have a “try one bite” policy in our household. When trying something new, ask your child to try one bite of each item and tell you why they do or don’t like it. This helps to open communication and really pinpoint what pleases your child’s palate. Try not to force a child to eat something. It doesn’t encourage a positive relationship with food.
Here are some of our top picks for area foreign restaurants:
German Foods, Gifts and More:
The name says it all! This Phenix City store offers a small café that serves lunch specials such as Jägerschnitzel, Weißwurst and Broetchen. Plus, they offer an array of German snacks, breads and cheese.
711 13th St, Phenix City, AL 36867
Café Le Rue:
Experience Cajun favorites including seafood gumbo, Crawfish Étouffée, Cajun Boudin and more.
2523 Airport Thruway, Columbus, GA 31904
Mercy’s Jamaican Kitchen:
This restaurant prides itself on authentic Yardy Style cooking; food that warms the soul, nourishes the spirit and keeps you coming back. Try the classic jerk chicken & curry shrimp.
5753 Milgen Rd, Columbus, GA 31907
Uptown Vietnam Cuisine:
Casual, family-owned nook with pho & other homemade Vietnamese dishes, plus beer, wine & bubble tea.
1250 Broadway, Columbus, GA 31901
Simple Greek prides itself in offering a Greece-esque experience with fresh ingredients, healthy choices and lots of protein. Spanakopita is a must-try on your first visit!
1228 Broadway #100, Columbus, GA 31901 and 6516 Kitten Lake Drive, Midland, GA 31820
Enjoy fresh falafels, rice bowls and baklava at this restaurant that strives to honor Mediterranean culture in the area.
6600 Whittlesey Blvd and 3150 Macon Rd Unit G, Columbus, GA 31906
This hidden treasure offers authentic Korean cuisine. Must-try meals include Kim Chi Chigae (spicy soup), Samgyeopsal (pork belly) and Bi Bim Bap (beef over rice & veggies).
5507 Veterans Pkwy, Columbus, GA 31904