Here’s an idea for a fun place to take your kids that you won’t find in most of the lists- MT Supermarket, the largest Asian market in Austin. A grocery store may not sound like a very exciting destination, but it can actually be a pretty rich cultural experience and a lot of fun.
Austin doesn’t have the large Chinatown experience of Houston or even Dallas, but The MT Supermarket’s huge 55,000 square feet of groceries and home goods from China, Japan, Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines definitely works as a “field trip to Asia.”
What can you do there? Besides just taking in all the interesting sights, sounds, and smells, here are ten ideas for specific things you can do to help your children enjoy their visit.
1. Watch the koi in the fountains out front and maybe throw a coin or two.
2. Check out how many unusual flavors of popsicles there are in the freezer case. Sesame seed, edamame, red bean, and peanut- to name a few!
3. Smell a Durian fruit. They are notorious for smelling like stinky feet but tasting delicious. See if you agree.
4. Watch the live fish, lobsters, and crabs in the seafood tanks.
5. Try on a Chinese hat.
6. Count how many different kinds of piggy banks you see in the supermarket. (I’m not sure the connection between Asian culture and piggy banks, but it really is striking how many the MT Supermarket sells.)
7. Admire the tiny quail eggs and the jumbo sized duck eggs.
8. Look at interesting cultural things in the homegoods department- floor mats for sleeping, Asian-style bathtubs, and training chopsticks.
9. Let your children fan themselves with a Chinese fan.
10. Let each person pick out an interesting item to try from the snack aisle. Have a little Asian food picnic on the benches outside the store on your way out. If you are interested in picking out some uniquely Asian snacks that are also kid-friendly, tapioca cookies, gellee snacks, Pocky sticks, or lychee fruit are pretty good bets!
For more information, visit the MT Supermarket website.
Katey shares oodles of ideas for homemade fun on her blog Having Fun at Home.