Friday, May 12, 2006

Getting Kids to Like Spicy Food

The other day we decided not to cook but to get our dinner from the pasar malam. It was unfortunate that most of the food were spicy and my oldest girl wasn't very happy with what we brought home. This brings me to the question of "How do you get your kids to take spicy food?"

I myself grew up not taking too much spicy food. My only experience with chilli was the "nasi lemak" I bought during recess break at the school canteen. Even then I had to extinguish the fire with lots of cold water. I'm much better now when it comes to spicy food. That much I owe to my DH and FIL who are the "cannot-live-without-chilli" kind.

Anyway, on a trip to Hong Kong a few years ago, we shared an apartment with an Indian family. Their little girl who is the same age with my daughter happily helped herself to Curry Maggi Mee. If I'm not mistaken, most Malay and Indian families cook spicy food most of the time. How did they get their children to take spicy food? Did they adopt an "eat it or leave it" attitude?

As mentioned before, my daughter is not a big fan of spicy food. My son however, seems to have inherit his father's genes and is able to handle the taste. He wanted to try Asam Laksa and we let him. Surprisingly he came back for more. Sometimes during church occasions someone cooks some spicy noodle. He doesn't mind it. Today we had ladies fingers (okra) cooked in sambal. That was his favorite dish.

So I wonder, is eating spicy food something you learn to acquire or is it a "either you have it or don't have it" sort of thing? What do you guys do with your kids on this issue?

p.s.: By the way, I finally found my putu piring which I desperately looked for during the puasa month but failed to obtain.


  1. when I was a little girl, I couldn't eat anything spicy. it's only around adolescence that I've come to like spicy food like kimchi, and now, the older I get, the more I love it. but since my stomach is not "used to it", I can't eat a lot of spicy food.

  2. Hi Irene,
    Yeah, our tastebuds change as we grow older right? I am very like you. I've come to enjoy the spice more than before but my stomach too also cannot take too much :)

  3. My boys can eat a bit spicy food. I guess its the exposure. AS you know, Indian food is spicy, so, they are used to it. But I guess they will learn to like it when exposed enough.. :)

  4. I used to be very careful with Laura as I was afraid that the chili would upset her stomach. Laura finds a little bit of pepper hot. I'm definitely more relaxed with Adam and let him try anything he sets his eyes on so he eats spicier food. Loves curry dhal with roti canai and Maggi Mee Curry too. I too have been thinking of how to introduce my kids to spicy food. Perhaps if the food was spicy (cooked with different types of spices) but not chili at first? Then add chili gradually?

  5. Exposure sure helps but start out with something not too fiery (or you might scare them off chilies for life LOL). If they take to it - great, then you can increase the spiciness gradually. If not, I wouldn't worry about it, sometimes all it takes is peer pressure. My kids love nasi lemak and started from there when they were younger.

  6. If you ever crave for putu piring again, go to SS2 pasar malam. They sold them there. hey, where's the grated coconut?


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