Dining out with children can be difficult at the best of times, but when your children have particular dietary needs, you may feel limited in your freedom to enjoy international cuisines. If you have a vegetarian child, authentic Chinese food is an ideal option. Check out these three tips for dining with vegetarian kids at a Chinese restaurant.
Check the menu out in advance
Traditional Chinese food naturally features lots of vegetables, with meat used more as an accompaniment to the main dish. As such, your local authentic Chinese restaurant should have a range of vegetarian options on the menu that you and your children will be happy to devour. To allay your fears and make sure that your kids will leave the restaurant with full bellies, check out the menu prior to your arrival. Also don't be afraid to mention when booking that you have young vegetarian diners in your group, so that the restaurant can prepare if necessary or offer customisable meal options for your kids. As fish sauce, oyster sauce and egg are common features in Chinese cuisine, check that the vegetarian dishes you order are fish and egg-free if necessary. If you plan to order fried foods, ask whether the oil is animal-derived.
Introduce flavours and textures at home
A great way to prepare your vegetarian children for visiting an authentic Chinese restaurant is to introduce some quintessentially Chinese flavours and textures at home. If your children haven't tasted bean sprouts, bean curd, soy sauce or five spice, give them the opportunity to try them in the comfort of their own home. Whip up a mild vegetable stir-fry using some Chinese staples, and let your kids enjoy the depth of flavour. Better yet, get them involved in preparing the meal, and discuss the ingredients, culture and cuisine together.
Consider a platter over a main meal
Kids love eating with their hands, and allowing them to explore their food in such a tactile way will help them enjoy and engage with the flavours. Instead of opting for a main dish with rice or noodles for your kids, consider offering a platter of vegetarian sides and dipping sauces. Your kids will love dipping vegetable spring rolls and little dumplings into plum or soy sauce, and it will keep them busy while you devour your own delectable dish. For a well-rounded meal, start with a nice vegetable soup, and have plenty of fried rice as an accompaniment.
If you're looking for a Chinese restaurant in your area, visit Sun Wah Restaurant & Function Centre.