Rubber Band Chopsticks and Other Tips for Chinese Dining with Kids
Children love the opportunity to feel grown-up, especially when it comes to modeling things they see their parents doing. Moms and dads who regularly eat at Chinese restaurants can help their children prepare for the experience by introducing them to the concept of chopsticks before each of the children has the opportunity to eat with them. The rubber band trick is especially helpful in this regard.
With the rubber band trick, parents take a pair of disposable chopsticks and place a rubber band around the top of each to hold them together. After completing this step, the parent should roll up the paper wrapper the chopsticks came in and place it directly below the rubber band. Another option is to buy a chopstick helper for as little as $5. This is a cap that goes over the end of each chopstick to hold them together.
Discuss Etiquette Before Going to a Chinese Restaurant for the First Time
Once kids have mastered how to use chopsticks at home, parents should teach them proper etiquette about using them in a Chinese restaurant. For example, they shouldn’t turn the chopsticks into drumsticks and make loud noises that other people will find annoying.
It’s also a good idea to let children know that they should never place their chopsticks straight up while eating a bowl of rice. To Chinese servers, this invokes the practice of burning incense for deceased individuals, something that generally should not be part of the dining experience. Lastly, kids should know that chopsticks are for picking up food and not for spearing it.
What to Order for Picky Eaters at a Chinese Restaurant
Bringing children who tend to have limited preferences for food at home to a Chinese restaurant can be quite a challenge. The unfamiliarity of the food may make them anxious to try something new for fear that they won’t like it. Fortunately, several foods in the typical Chinese restaurant appeal to even the fussiest kids. Some of these include:
- Wonton soup: Hot chicken broth and wonton dumplings are the primary ingredients in this popular menu item. Parents can also request additional noodles or meat if they’re concerned that the broth and dumplings alone won’t satisfy their child’s appetite.
- Beef and broccoli: Even kids who normally aren’t big fans of vegetables might be willing to try this dish thanks to the array of sauces on top of the broccoli. Both foods should be familiar enough to children to make them willing to give this popular Chinese meal a shot.
- Egg rolls: Although not a main meal, parents can consider ordering egg rolls as an appetizer to prepare their kids to adjust to the differences between American and Chinese food. The crunchy outside will be pleasant for kids to bite into while the inside contains small bits of egg and steaming vegetables. Parents should make sure the appetizer has cooled down adequately before allowing their kids to try it.
While the first visit to a Chinese restaurant with kids may not go perfectly, it will become something kids handle with ease if they have several opportunities to practice what’s expected of them.