It’s the most flavorful time of the year! Epcot’s International Festival of the Holidays is in full swing. There are so many holiday activities in Epcot that it can be hard to decide what to enjoy first. We’ve visited the Holiday Kitchens all around World Showcase and tried out many of the dishes. The flavors found here range from exotic to old world traditional. The festivals are always a good time to try a style of food or culinary creation you’ve never had before because the pricetag and smaller portions are easier to swallow.
In this post we are going to cover the tropical and exotic flavors found at some of the Holiday Kitchens at Epcot. We will also note if any item is a hit, a miss, or just OK.
Feast of the Three Kings (near the rose garden pathway and near Canada pavilion)
Pastelon (a hit) – Nothing beats a balance of sweetness with a bit of spice. Tender ground beef is mixed with plantains and topped with queso fresco. This dish has tropical flavors but is approachable for anyone. A fantastic value for $5.00.
Queso Fresco-stuffed Arepa (just OK) – Arepas are small cakes made of ground corn and their flavor is generally pretty mild. This arepa is stuffed with cheese and served with a small helping of shrimp in a red sauce. A decent value at $6.00.
Arepas (a miss) – For a simple presentation of arepas this dish fits the bill, but it’s not the best value at $4.50. This is a good option for less adventurous eaters including young kids–just tell them it’s an inside out grilled cheese.
Las Posadas Mexican Holiday Kitchen (near Mexico pavilion)
Giant Tostada de Puerco (a hit) – So many wonderful flavors are layered on top of a crispy tostada. The star of this dish is the tender braised pork, but the supporting cast makes this a hit. Black bean spread, pickled onion, guajillo sauce (made of dried chiles), queso fresco, and crema Mexcicano add what tastes like countless layers of flavor. $8.50 is a little hefty for the portion, but overall the quality is there.
Tamal de Pollo (a hit) – For many people, the holiday season is not the same without tamales. If you’re among this crowd you will most likely love this tamale. It is taken up a notch with the yellow mole sauce (with a hint of chocolate and cinnamon) and the toasted pumpkin seeds. A decent value at $6.75.
Shanghai Holiday Kitchen (near China pavilion)
Pork and vegetable egg rolls (just OK) – One would hope they would do something special to egg rolls to make them stand out at an Epcot food festival, but there’s nothing outstanding about these. They’re a good snack is someone is looking for familiar, easy flavors. At $4.25 for two egg rolls they’re a good value at least.
Mongolian Beef Bao (a hit) – When bao is done right it can be downright dreamy. As long as it is not over-steamed, a bao is light, soft, and airy. The beef has a strong Mongolian flavor and overall was fairly tender. If the booth is having an off day the bun can be a little chewy and the beef a little tough. The price feels slightly inflated at $6.75.
Celebration Barbecue Pork (a miss) – We were hoping this would be a good one. Sadly it reminded us of a mall’s food court. At $7.75 it is a hard pass in our future visits.
Chengdu Spicy Street Fries (a miss) – Another one we had our hopes up for and ended up disappointed. The spice was nice but the fries were soggy which might have been acceptable if it had more of the sauce on it. At $7.25 the serving size is decent, but still not a strong value.
In a future post we will cover the traditional olde world flavors that can be found at the remaining Holiday Kitchens at Epcot’s International Festival of the Holidays. It’s great to visit Epcot during the merriest time of year.
Born and raised in the land of sunshine and dreams come true, Dani is a proud Orlando Native who loves sharing her hometown with others. She's worked in nearly all of Orlando's theme parks, on board Disney Cruise Line, and in hotel management. Follow her adventures on Twitter and Instagram @thisfloridalife