The Mother of Adventure

Rambutan and other fun food discoveries

on March 18, 2014
Our nine-year-old gets set to dig into her steamed meat bun and sushi.

Our nine-year-old gets set to dig into her steamed meat bun and sushi.

Long before our two kids were even a twinkle, my husband and I loved making our own Asian food.

We had *so* much time back then (but of course, we didn’t realize it!), and we used to trek into Ottawa’s Chinatown and scour the food shops for authentic ingredients to cook with.

These days, we’ve left our little, overpriced downtown apartment and have a comfortable spot in the suburbs – but it’s a bit of a drive from Chinatown. Happily, a massive T&T Supermarket opened up a stone’s throw from our neighbourhood – perfect for meeting our Asian cravings!

The other day, I was on a mission to find some lemongrass for one of our fave Thai soups. While regular grocery stores (sometimes) have it, I find that you often have to pay through the nose for a tiny jar of canned stuff – and it just doesn’t taste the same. T&T always has it fresh – and it’s under $2 – awesome.

With the family in tow on a Sunday afternoon, we all took some time to wander the store. Our kids just love doing this, and we always pick out some cool, new foods to try that aren’t in our regular repertoire. On this particular trip, we picked up:

  • Steamed meat buns: If you shop at T&T and haven’t tried these – DO IT. Warm, soft and yummy – the perfect lunch food!
  • Sushi: T&T has to have the freshest – and cheapest – in the city, and our whole family loves it.
  • Rambutan: A funny-looking fruit covered in fleshy spikes.
  • Kidney mangos: Cute little baby mangos – the kids loved them!
  • Lemongrass: The catalyst for the trip in the first place.
Our little bowl of "dead sea urchins."

Our little bowl of “dead sea urchins.”

The sushi platter and the four steamed meat buns made for the perfect (light) lunch for us.

Afterwards, the kids and I had some fun trying out the rambutan. Nine-year-old Elissa declared that they looked a lot like “dead sea urchins” in their cellophane-covered nest, but she was willing to try them nevertheless. It turns out they are a very mild-tasting fruit – kindof like the love-child of a grape and a lychee. They have a hard, bitter pit in the middle that you want to avoid (Elissa discovered that for us after tasting it!).

Kids are so creative – after I cut the rambutan in half, the girls grabbed the spiky skins and started using them as miniature cups – filling them with water and sipping out of them.

It’s fun experimenting with new foods, and with stuff like this it’s pretty inexpensive (a plus in case they don’t like it!). What kinds of unusual foods have been a hit with your kids? I’d love to hear about your own food adventures!

2 responses to “Rambutan and other fun food discoveries

  1. A very fun thing to do, Sonia. Kate and I have a long love of cooking (and eating) and have used food as an introduction to different cultures both for ourselves and Lena. Asian food is a particular fave – Lena’s favourite restaurant since she was about three is the Yangtze in Chinatown and she also likes the various Indian and Thai restaurants, as well. I think our families are lucky to have kids with fairly adventurous palates. I know a lot of kids who are super-picky eaters (not that the Bean doesn’t have her moments) and the blander, the better.

    • That’s awesome – glad to hear that Lena is so adventurous! It really is fun to try different things – and is a great way to explore and understand other cultures. As for picky eaters, I believe it’s a matter of exposure…it kids see their parents eating something, they are much more inclined to try. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, right? 😉

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