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Summer Learning Fun: A Cultural Tour of an Oriental Supermarket

August 9, 2012

An oriental supermarket is a great neighborhood field trip to introduce kids to new things that can spark curiosity about other Peoples and cultures.  For me, this was a usual stop to stock up on my favorite Asian food products that I cannot find anyplace else.  I bought some dried organic mung beans to make my recipe for Mung Beans with Ginger and Bok Choy.

On this trip, my 4-year old joined me to discover a new site and a new smell!  Yes, oriental supermarkets have a “distinct” smell due to a combination of fermented foods, seafood, seaweeds, and spices.  So, prepare your kids for that.  My girl covered her nose as soon as we walked in, but later adjusted her sense of smell when she saw the HUGE  frogs!

The store usually keep  the frogs  inside an unclear container.  But, that day, they had them in full display along with the seafood.  My daughter called them “sea creatures.”  There were clams, snails, mussels, squid, lobsters, and a variety of fish.

Leaving the seafood department, we came across some quail eggs.  Like most kids, my daughter is always curious about anything that looks smaller or are “baby” versions of foods.  Hint: this is a good way for them to eat new things like baby carrots or miniature anything.

Just shopping around the store, it  was interesting to see foreign words and pictures.  This was a fun way to talk about what people from other countries eat.  In most oriental supermarkets, you find products from a number of different Asian countries.

What surprised me on this trip was to find something from the deep corner of ….Louisiana?!  I guess the Asians here in Rochester are a big fan of Cafe’ Du Monde’ coffee from New Orleans.  You never know what you’ll find at an oriental supermarket….

Moving right along, I thought I’d try to find somethings different and nutritious to eat.  We saw some seaweed crackers.  The thought of eating seaweed seemed exciting at first to my child.  Unfortunately, I have to report that she did not like it.  Oh well, I tried.

There were lots of other things to see in the store like different kitchen utensils and a variety of chopsticks.

We saw many beautiful bowls, pottery, and even clothing.

Shopping at an ethnic grocery store or even just the ethnic food aile at your local supermarket can open a young child’s mind to different things.  There are plenty of interesting products to ask questions about and start a conversation.

Food is always a wonderful topic of discussion that brings people from different worlds together.  Giving children an opportunity to experience something that other cultures enjoy helps them to connect with those who may not look or live like them.  Even if it is just enjoying  a tasty new oriental cookie, that can be enough to share in a conversation with, maybe, a Chinese person.

The great commission for Christians is to go out and spread the gospel to the world.  In the beginning, it may be a trip to the local oriental supermarket.  But in the end, it could be planting churches in China and again enjoying that cookie discovered as a child in the grocery store.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. cooperflatoff permalink
    August 9, 2012 9:44 pm

    This is incredible. I’ve never seen live frogs at an oriental market! I also love the idea of exposing children to not only other cultures, but other intersting cuisines at a young age. There is really no reason for kids to request hot dogs or frozen fish sticks for dinner every night. Good for you! Thanks for sharing :D

    • August 9, 2012 10:28 pm

      Thanks @cooperflatoff,
      Many ethnic food stores also have prepared dishes that are packaged or ready to order. That makes it even easier to try new cuisine!

  2. Keri Williams permalink
    August 28, 2012 8:02 am

    Reblogged this on Moving to Jamaica and commented:
    This is an interesting post about using local international markets to teach your children about different cultures.

  3. August 28, 2012 9:40 am

    Kerry, that’s right. You don’t have to travel far to learn about other cultures. There are different international stores and even festivals to attend.


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