It may sound crazy, but my 21-month-old son cannot get enough Japanese food. In China, Dek barely touch anything other than bread and watermelon. Before we left for Asia he hardly ate rice, let alone a piece of sushi. We got off the plane in Osaka and he started gobbling down whatever we put in front of him.
Now before you marvel too much at amazing and adventurous son, keep in mind that Mike had finally joined us on our Asian adventure. Dek’s family was together again. He had his favorite person back.
Dek first surprised me when we got to Kyoto. After a long first day of wandering the streets, we were desperate for some easy food. We popped into the basement level of a department store to grab some dinner. If you are not familiar with department stores in Japan, they are food meccas. It’s an easy place to grab a quick, cheap (for Japan) meal. We picked up some sushi boxes and tempora, and headed home.
Dek nibbled on some chicken, but was more interested in Mike’s food. Dek is a daddy’s boy through and through. Anything daddy does must be awesome. If Mike ate it, Dek ate it too. Tempura, octopus balls, yakisoba. You name it, this kid was game to try.
Dek picked up a salmon roe from Mike’s plate and popped it in his mouth. His eyes lit up like it was Christmas morning. Dek went in for another one. And then another. And another. Before we knew it, he had finished two piece of Salmon roe sushi. I was ecstatic. After 2 weeks of hardly eating anything, my boy was finally getting some protein.
From then on, we just offered him whatever we were eating. This is something I do all the time, but this time it actually worked! The combination of delicious Japanese food and Mike must have turned a switch on in Dek’s stomach. He went on to eat Mike’s octopus balls, steal the tempora off my plate, and decide if he liked pork or seafood in his okonomiyaki.
Some of Dek’s favorite foods may surprise you. I encourage you to try out different things with your own kids. Even the most picky eater may try something you never thought they would. Just don’t tell them what’s in it!
- Salmon Roe (even now, his favorite by far!)
- Octopus balls
- Tempura vegetables
- Soba noodles (cold)
- Salmon and tuna nigiri
- Hibachi steak, corn and okra
- Plain white rice (may not seem weird to you, but he never was interested before this trip)
Once we returned to the states, he started chowing down on sushi any time we went out.
- Avocado roll
- Philadelphia rolls
- California Rolls
- Sesame noodles
If you have not done conveyor belt sushi yet with your kids, go out tomorrow night. It is the perfect introduction to sushi for a kid (adults too.) It is the easiest, most entertaining meal we do as a family. The food comes instantly, which averts melt downs in hungry toddlers. Plus the belt is fun to watch. What’s more novel than food wandering around a room?