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Kids' menus at P. F. Chang's and elsewhere

I got a press release from P. F. Chang's Chinese Bistro yesterday announcing that the chain has just introduced its first children's menu. It consists of Kid’s Chicken, Kid’s Lo Mein, Kid's Chicken Fried Rice and Baby Buddha’s Feast.

This surprised me. I mean, the one thing about taking children out to a Chinese restaurant is you don't need a kids' menu. You can always find something in your dishes to put on the child's plate, and it's a great way to introduce them to food they would never think of eating at home.

Of course, I realize it's more lucrative for the restaurant if even the toddlers are ordering their own separate dishes, but I wonder how many people will take advantage of it. ...

On the one hand, P. F. Chang's chicken fried rice comes without veggies in the kids' version. Any parent knows a little chicken fried rice might be just the place to slip in a carrot or two. On the other hand, the Baby Buddha's Feast consists of snap peas, carrots and broccoli served steamed or stir-fried.

I'd like to know how many of those they sell.

I don't mean to pick on P. F. Chang's. Anything that keeps other people's children happy in a restaurant is fine with me. Children's menus are tricky. They usually offer dishes that kids will eat, i.e., a grilled cheese and chicken fingers serve with fries and nothing else, even if the restaurant would like to be healthier and more creative.

I'm sure there are restaurants around here that have healthier dishes on their kids' menus, but I've never noticed them and I can't guess what they would be.

(Kenneth K. Lam/Sun photographer)

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