Pop out a kid, grow them to two years old or so, and suddenly you start taking note of kids’ menus.
Kids’ menus in Japan generally consist of one of four set menus: the hamburg (salisbury steak) plate, the curry plate, udon, or pancakes. The sets always include rice, and now that I’m thinking about it I have yet to order one that didn’t also have french fries. For a country that has such a rich food culture the range of kids’ meals feels so boring. But it is a testament to the fact that whether a child is raised in Japan, the US, etc., they are are the same humans and like their foods greasy and brown (surely it’s not just my kid). Of course, I encourage my sidekick to eat everything I eat and she’s really good at at least trying it, but kids’ menus are great in that the portion size corresponds to their kid status, as does the $$. Restaurants, my waist thanks you for not forcing me to buy two adult-sized meals and then eat 1 1/2 myself.
Kids’ menus in the US: What comes to mind from my own childhood are cheeseburgers or chicken strips with french fries. But I think the US also does a good job of offering the regular specialties in smaller kid-friendly sizes, something rarely seen in Japan. Rather ironic this hasn’t caught on in Japan, a country that is very health-conscious especially when it comes to balanced meals for children.
Last year when my sidekick was 18 months old we traveled to visit G-ma and G-pa in Ecuador. Only once in our month long stay did we receive and order from a kids’ menu–chicken strips, proving once again that it doesn’t matter where you’re born or raised, kids around the world want fried brown food. The lack of kids’ menus was no problem though. Restaurants & chefs were so accommodating they would literally tailor make my daughter’s favorite foods. Seriously, if you have the time, Ecuador is the place to travel with a small child.
To be continued…in India. ❤