A taste of Asia
From noodles and dumplings to spring rolls and sushi, here’s our take on the best Asian dishes to order in Hong Kong, Bali, Vietnam, Malaysia, Japan or India.
Whether you’re eating at a dai pai dong street stall, siu mai at yum cha or Peking duck at a smart restaurant, dining with kids is easy in Hong Kong. Cantonese food, found everywhere from Singapore to Malaysia, as well as Hong Kong, tends to have a fresh, clean flavour that’s not too spicy, and an inherent sweetness that really appeals to kids. Just practice using chopsticks.
Hong Kong dishes to try: Peking duck, sang choi bao, siu mai, har gow
The umami qualities of Japanese dishes might overwhelm some young palates, but you’re pretty safe with steaming bowls of ramen noodles in an aromatic broth, pan fried gyoza dumplings, teppanyaki grills, ethereally light tempura, and myriad varieties of sushi. What kid doesn’t love a sushi train?
Japanese dishes to try: sukiyaki, teriyaki, sushi, ramen
For kids used to Weet-Bix for brekky, tucking into a steaming bowl of pho bo might be confronting at first. However, this aromatic noodle soup – topped with finely sliced beef, shallots, bean sprouts, basil and as much chilli as you can cope with – will grow on you. Vietnamese food is all about freshness, texture and the perfect combination of hot, sweet, salty and sour flavours, and Vietnam is the perfect destination for the family cooking class, where you can learn to make rice paper rolls (no cooking involved). Better than any souvenir.
Vietnamese dishes to try: pho bo, banh xeo, rice paper rolls
Our most popular holiday destination offers plenty of culinary drawcards for junior travellers, including lumpia goreng, moreish deep fried spring rolls, and nasi goreng, the national dish, which will leave mum’s fried rice in the shade.
Balinese dishes to try: nasi goreng, lumpia goreng
Don’t let the fear of getting ill put you off a family holiday in India; eat only hot, cooked food and you’ll be fine. Naan bread straight from the tandoor, crunchy papadams, charred chapatis, mild curries such as lamb korma, and sweet mango lassi as an anytime treat will tempt even the fussiest eaters. And kids love the etiquette of eating with only the right hand (and the reason behind it).
Indian dishes to try: naan, chapati, butter chicken, masala dosa, samosa, tandoori chicken
A day in Malaysia is a global culinary journey and for kids it’s a fascinating geography, history and sociology lesson in one. From mamak (Malaysian Indian) roti canai to traditional Malay char kway teow and aromatic beef rendang to Nyona assam laksa there are dishes for all tastes. And did we mention satay?
Malaysian dishes to try: char kway teow, beef rending, roti canai
Tasting Asia at home
Thanks to successive waves of migration, even at home we’ve got access to every sort of Asian dish. Take advantage of this when you’re planning your trip and introduce your kids to the flavours of the country you’ll be visiting before you leave home. Find a cookbook with a few simple recipes for Asian dishes and make them at home before you go. Indeed, a good cookbook can be a fantastic research tool for travellers and can tell you so much about a culture through traditional recipes