Our children, LouLou and Jaf were born and raised in Hawaii, the most racially diverse state in the United States. This makes it a lot easier for us to teach the kids about global citizenship when they’re back in Hawaii, not traveling.
So, what is global citizenship?
For us, it’s exposing our children to the world’s different cultures, raising their global awareness in the hope that it expands their minds, and makes them more empathetic to people from all walks of life. After all, even if we don’t speak the same language or hold the same beliefs, we’re still people.
We learned a great way for the kids to connect with a foreign culture is through food.
In Hawaii you’ll find many groups adding their own variety of culture to our local way of life. One way where it’s prominently seen is in the local cuisine. A lot of local favorites (think spam musubi, saimin) have been influenced by immigrants, introducing new flavors, tastes and ingredients into our kitchens & diets.
As I’m Hawaiian, and their father Lebanese, LouLou and Jaf have always had an interesting palate that we’ve helped develop as they aged. Living in Hawaii means we can introduce our children to different cultural foods as we have access to so much variety: Hawaiian, Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian, Korean, Lebanese, Moroccan, Greek…you name it, they’ve tried it ever since they were little.
As we have begun to travel around the world, our children’s tolerance for adapting to different cuisines never became an issue. They never liked ordering from the kids menu, and would prefer to eat whatever us adults chose to order.
Even though we’re back in Hawaii for the winter, our culinary world schooling adventure never ends!
We make it a point to taste new cuisines, and try out new restaurants, creating our own specialized food tour!
One day a week we pick a cuisine we want to eat and then stick to it for the entire day. It helps us learn about the culture, and what kids eat in a particular country for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Here are a few restaurants on Oahu that we’ve visited so far on our culinary world schooling food tour – it’s a great way to start them eating different cuisines.
We miss Hawaiian food when we’re on the road. Now that we’re back on the island, we frequent Highway Inn several times a month. The kids love their combo plates. If you’ve never tried Hawaiian food before, we suggest; Poi, Kalua Pig, Lau Lau, Lomi Salmon, Pipikaula with Haupia.
Co-owned by the kid foodie’s father, Kan Zaman is Oahu’s first Moroccan-Lebanese themed restaurant. These are foods that they grew up eating, and love sharing with their friends. We recommend the mezze platter, chicken kabob plate, vegetarian couscous and orange blossom cheesecake.
There are a number of great sushi restaurants on the island, but the one we head back to time and time again is Genki Sushi! The kids have always loved the food, and the experience isn’t to be missed. They have these new zooming cars that are similar to the Japanese bullet trains that quickly deliver your sushi order right to your table. We suggest: Karaage Chicken, Tuna Nigiri, and Garlic Salmon
Kimchi fried rice is a kid-foodie favorite, and when we can’t make any at home, we head to Sorabol for some. It’s usually packed, so we call ahead to make a reservation, but if you’re looking to try Korean bbq for the first time with the kids, head to Sorabol.
Visiting Louisiana to taste the food has been on our list for a while now, but until we get the chance to go, whenever the kids are in the mood for a seafood boil, we head to Cajun King in Aiea. The kids love seafood and love it even more when you can eat it with your fingers. It’s messy, fun and kid-friendly, but note that cajun food can be spicy. We recommend the garlic butter shrimp with potatoes, corn & sausages.
Elena’s has awesome food, which has been featured on the show “Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives”. They’ve been around for years – my grandparents used to eat at their spot in Waipahu! Try Elena’s Adobo Fried Rice, and a few orders of their Shanghai Lumpia.
What we love most about our culinary adventures is that LouLou & Jaf have fun trying new things when they’re young. They enjoy visiting new countries, meeting new people, eating and sampling new cuisines (even if they don’t like it). It has made their experiences more meaningful. And, it’s taught us adults to be fearless, too! We are more likely to try something unique to encourage the kids to follow suit.
Trying snail soup for the first time…verdict? She had two more bowls!
Don’t be afraid that the kids won’t enjoy the experience. Kids are always looking for something new and fresh and they’ll definitely pick up a lot of knowledge along the way.