You dream about trotting around the globe with your kids, seeing the sights and sampling international foods. Luckily, you don’t even have to leave your kitchen to get a head start on enjoying some of the best dishes the world has to offer. Expand the horizons of those tiny taste buds by letting them sample some kid-friendly ethnic foods. Keep reading to see our favorites.
Many countries have their own version of the dumpling, but Chinese dumplings are a well-known and traditional food for families to make together for Chinese New Year. Depending on the type, they may be steamed, boiled or pan-fried, with different shapes and fillings—and they’re all tasty! Introduce your kids to this easy dumpling recipe. Meat, scallions and soy sauce combine to make these savory bites, and they're simple to make with a wonton wrapper. Try making them with the sweet and salty dipping sauce on the side. Grab the recipe here.
Fondue is fun to eat, and kids will love the idea of dipping chunks of bread, meat and veggies into a big pot of gooey, melted cheese. This Swiss dish dates back to the 17th century, but we’re still digging it today! Have your own family fondue party with this recipe from Genius Kitchen. Want something a little sweeter? Try a chocolate fondue for dessert, and use fresh fruit and chunks of pound cake for dipping.
Take an imaginary trip to Paris when you whip up a batch of these yummy paper-thin pancakes. Originating in the northwest region of the country, creperies are now found all over France and offer both sweet and savory variations. Kids can easily help by mixing up the batter and selecting the fillings: Go classic with ham and cheese or sweet sugar and lemon, or get adventurous with your own ideas. Need some inspiration? Try this easy crepe recipe by Catherine McCord of Weelicious.
If your only experience with ramen is a ten-cent crinkly package from the grocery store, it’s time to try the real deal version of this popular Japanese dish. The nourishing broth packed with slurp-worthy noodles and endless variations of toppings is a definite kid-pleaser. Your kids can help you make this hearty version full of tofu, veggies and a bit of ginger.
Meaning “mixed rice,” this amazing dish from Korea is the ultimate rice bowl. On a bed of warm rice, you might find a combo like fried and raw veggies, seasoned grilled meat or tofu, a red chili paste called gochujang and a fried egg added on top. Bibimbap is a great way to introduce kids to new ingredients, and an even better way to use up those extra veggies that are hanging around. Check out this mouthwatering recipe from A Little Yumminess, complete with an extensive list of suggested toppings.
Turn your kids into big-time sushi lovers! Simple veggie sushi rolls are easy, healthy and just the right size for little hands. It’s fun to make and eat together at home, and even not-so-adventurous eaters will want these egg, edamame and rice rolls from hello, Wonderful. Start with basic flavors that they’ll love, and then slowly expand the sushi repertoire to include more adventurous foods and textures. Grab the recipe right here.
Make a batch of Greek souvlaki skewers, and it’s a win-win for everyone. Kids love the fun of food on a stick, and adults will love the juicy marinated chicken with lemon, garlic and a side of cool, refreshing tzatziki sauce. Try the recipe by Lemons for Lulu here.
8. Injera and Lentils
Besides being flavorful and nutritious, eating Ethiopian food is a community experience. Food is often eaten with hands and served on a large shared plate, along with plenty of injera, a spongy and slightly fermented flatbread that’s perfect for sharing. This recipe from Lighter has great tips for adjusting the flavors for kids who don’t love a ton of spice. Authentic injera takes several days for the fermenting process, but you can take the easy route and make this quick recipe in about an hour!
For a casual meal, put together tasty nibbles and make a meze platter. Made up of a variety of foods served small-plate style, meze is common throughout the Mediterranean and the Middle East, and offers the perfect opportunity for little foodies to sample new foods, like creamy hummus and baba ghanouj. Try making this gorgeous Mediterranean-inspired meze from Kitchen Treaty, and watch it disappear.
10. Chicken Tikka
This juicy chicken made with yogurt and spices and grilled on skewers is a yummy introduction to Indian cuisine. Let the kids help in the kitchen by mixing up the yogurt and curry marinade for this quick chicken tikka that’s sure to become a new family favorite.
11. Jerk Chicken
You can’t talk about the foods of the Caribbean without bringing up Jamaican jerk. Moist, spicy and smoky, this memorable seasoning and cooking method produces some of the most flavorful food around. Although traditional jerk can be a bit spicy for little palates, this modified version by This Week for Dinner gives you the signature flavors without as much heat.
Flaky, portable and delicious, there are endless combination ideas for these perfect pastries that work for breakfast, lunch or dinner! Whether you go savory or sweet, you’re definitely in for a treat. Bring some of the flavors of South America right to your table with these homemade beef empanadas from Laylita’s Recipes.
What are some of your favorite kid-friendly international foods? Will you try any of the recipes on our list? Let us know in the comments below!