Even picky eaters generally gobble up chicken nuggets.
That’s been my experience. Though, my parenting has been confined to the continental U.S. I wondered recently what’s the “go-to” kid’s meal in other countries.
I reached out to Emily Koziarski, a pediatric clinical dietitian at Comer Children’s Hospital at the University of Chicago, looking for answers.
She, in turn, reached out to some of her international friends. They provided a smattering of kids’ favorites from foreign lands. Here’s the list, along with a bit of commentary:
BRAZIL – Pizza, cheeseburgers, chips, coxinhas. These are all fairly typical kid favorites, except for coxinhas. The teardrop-shaped snacks start with a ball of shredded chicken (usually thigh meat). The seasoned meat is then encased in dough and deep-fried in oil.
Coxinhas may sound exotic, but this Brazilian snack is very chicken nugget-esque.
CHINA – Fried dumplings (pot stickers) and chicken nuggets. After reading countless articles about China surpassing the U.S. in almost every category, I took a bit of pleasure in hearing that Chinese kids eat roughly the same junk as American kids.
CZECH REPUBLIC – Soup and rohliky. These kid-favorites came from my friend’s mother. She said soup is served before every midday meal in the Czech Republic, while rohliky is a fresh-baked bread roll sold throughout the country. It’s typically eaten in the morning with butter.
I’m told rohliky can be compared to a hearty version of breadsticks from Olive Garden. So, I imagine my boys would pig out on these, too.
INDIA – Samosas, cutlets, dosas, chicken nuggets (in Bombay) and golagappas. Samosas are a triangular pastry that are filled and fried. I’ve never had them, but pictures and descriptions remind me of crab rangoon served in Chinese restaurants here.
In Indian cuisine, a cutlet refers to meat stuffing made from beef, mutton, chicken or fish. This concoction is then dipped in egg mix, tossed in breadcrumbs and deep-fried.
Dosas are pancakes made from rice batter and lentils. Golagappas are hollow balls of dough, filled with a mixture of potatoes and spices. This common street food is then served with various chutneys ranging from sweet to spicy.
I think the American equivalent to this type of chutney is called “dipping sauce.”
IRELAND – Fish sticks. I tried to get Bubba and Peter to eat fish sticks during Lent. They took one bite and said, “There’s something wrong with these chicken nuggets, Dad.”
JAPAN – Sushi, ramen, curry rice. I’ve heard of some American children that also eat sushi, though I’ve never seen one of these elusive creatures in the wild. I can only imagine it would be like spotting an albino alligator.
All of these foods also depend on the region. So in parts of India, dosas may be common, while they’re rarely served in other areas. Once on a trip to Texas, I was astonished to see kids eating shrimp, but that’s common near the Gulf of Mexico. Not so much in Chicago.
Regardless, I think it’s interesting to learn what’s on the kid’s menu in foreign countries. Now, I wonder what kinds of toys are included with the meal?
Howard Ludwig is a former business writer who traded his reporter’s notebook for a diaper bag, becoming a stay-at-home dad.