Pregnancy Articles

Kid-Pleasing Korean Foods

BabyFit's Family-Friendly Dining Guide

Sometimes, general dining out strategies can only help so much. When you eat at a privately-owned or ethnic restaurant, there's often no pamphlet or website with nutritional information and amenities offered. How do you know what to order, especially when you're bringing children along?

That's why we researched and collected tips for the most popular restaurant cuisines.

This article is part of our BabyFit Family-Friendly Dining Guide. We tried to emphasize kid-friendly foods and health at the same time. As we believe in all things in moderation, you'll find a few indulgences and treats on each of our menus. We also provide pros and cons about this type of cuisine, plus some activities to entertain children at restaurants.


Though not as well-known as Japanese or Chinese fare, Korean food is a popular Asian cuisine. The dishes focus on a balance of flavors, with lots of vegetables, seafood, and pork.

Kid-friendly dishes

Appetizers/Sides
  • Mandu: These steamed dumplings are often filled with minced tofu or pork, spices and vegetables. Kids will recognize these from their favorite Chinese restaurant.
  • Pajeon: Korean "pancakes" are full of vegetables and sometimes chopped seafood. Cut them up, and let kids dip them in the sauce.
Entrees
  • Bulgogi: Thin slices of beef or pork are marinated in a sweet sauce, grilled and served with vegetables and rice. It's delicious and mild enough for kids.
  • Barbecue: Many Korean restaurants offer "grill your own" meats and vegetables at special tables. Wrap bits of cooked meat in lettuce leaves and add some sauces.
  • Japchae: Rice noodles are mixed with vegetables and bits of meat for Korean "spaghetti."
Treats
  • Sweet rice cakes: These are soft and chewy, much different from the diet food most people know. Break them into small bites for kids.
  • Cakes filled with sweet bean paste: Sounds gross, but sweet red or black beans taste a little chocolatey.
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  • Korean meals come with eight or nine small side dishes, called banchan. It's a great way to get kids to try new things. Bonus: The banchan are usually included in the price of a meal!
  • Korean barbecue is a fun DIY dinner. As the grill is part of the table, only take children who are old enough to know not to touch hot surfaces.
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  • Gochujang, a very spicy pepper paste, is a staple of Korean food. It's a bit too intense for small taste buds.
  • Many of the barbecue meats, such as samgyeopsal (pork belly), are very greasy meats. Opt for leaner bulgogi (thinly sliced beef sirloin) or kalbi (shortribs ).
Table talk
Koreans eat with chopsticks, so practice using them before the meal comes. Try putting a rubber band at the top. It can help kids learn hand-eye coordination. (You can do this at any restaurant that offers chopsticks.)

Note: Pregnant women should avoid eating deli and processed meats, soft cheeses, and some types of seafood due to the risk of illness to herself and her unborn child. Eating raw or undercooked meat, poultry or seafood also poses health risks. Find more information on which foods to avoid here.

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About The Author

Stepfanie Romine
A former newspaper reporter, Stepfanie now writes about nutrition, health and fitness, with an emphasis on whole foods and from-scratch cooking. She is a certified Ashtanga yoga teacher who enjoys Spinning, international travel and vegetables of all kinds. See all of Stepfanie's articles.

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