OK, confession time. The total cost of the 9 dishes below isn’t $50. It’s $52.75. And since we here at TouringPlans are math wizards, we can’t even pretend that’s rounding error … because if we rounded, it would be $55. Oops. Still, if you’ve got an afternoon to spend in EPCOT and you’re looking to sample the best of the Festival of the Holidays without breaking the bank, we’ve got your picks below. Even if we did fudge the numbers a bit to make the title catchy.
🌿Potato Latkes, L’Chaim Holiday Kitchen, $4.50.
We are the first to admit that some of the entries on this list will be familiar if you’ve read it in previous years. But seriously, how can you not love fried potatoes? This plate is two large portions of a holiday favorite with the most delicious sour cream/dill sauce. Crunch and crispy outside. Thick and filling deliciousness inside. And plant-based to boot! Honestly, we can’t see ever leaving this off the roster.
Cheese Fondue in a bread bowl with steamed baby vegetables and marble potatoes, Bavaria Holiday Kitchen, $8.25.
Yes, it’s Germany. Again. Yes, the whole booth is on this list. Again. But seriously people – MELTED CHEESE! In the words of our park reporters, it’s “a bountiful fest of dairy & carbs with a few veg sprinkled in for dipping”. Or you know, what they said last year, the DING DANG MELTED CHEESE. Yes. Get this. You won’t regret it. You might not want to share it.
New Year Celebration Soba: Buckwheat soba noodles in a hot dashi soup with yuzu, shrimp tempura, and chopped green onion, Shi Wasu Holiday Kitchen, $8.50.
We promise we’ll get to some new stuff soon, but this is another returning entry from last year. It’s the dashi that gets us every time. It’s rich and flavorful, and if you’re visiting on a cooler day it will warm you to your soul. The noodles are hearty and plentiful too.
Beef Bourguignon with crushed potatoes, Yukon Holiday Kitchen, $6.50.
See? We told you we’d have some gate crashers soon! This is not a new dish at the Festival, but it’s new to our list. This bowl is full of tender beef over a huge scoop of potatoes with a puddle of beautiful gravy. More beautiful than it looks in the picture. Maybe it’s just that it was raining on the first day of the Festival, or maybe they tinkered with the recipe a little. We don’t know … but we know that we loved this. Bonus points as a (probably) safe bet for picky eaters.
🌿Peanut stew with sweet potatoes, mustard greens, and roasted peanuts, Refreshment Outpost, $5.25
This plant-based bowl is a spicy mouthful, so be prepared for some heat. But our parks reporters are spice wimps (they’ll tell you that themselves, it’s not a secret) and they think this one is worth the sting. Spicy, but full of flavor. And filling!
Pork Schnitzel with mushroom sauce, spätzle, and braised red cabbage, Bavaria Holiday Kitchen, $6.50
It’s Germany again, making its appearance in the second course. Someday they may stop serving this dish. Or raise the price to the stratosphere. But until then, it’s hard to go wrong with tender pork and a mushroom sauce that is a must-eat.
Blackened Catfish with Hoppin’ John and comeback sauce, American Holiday Table, $6.75.
This dish barely missed our list last year and squeaked out an honorable mention. This year it’s been promoted to the main event. The Hoppin’ John and comeback sauce are great. But it’s the irresistible crust that propelled this onto our Best $50 list this year.
🍪Linzer Cookie, Bavaria Holiday Kitchen, $3.
This is always one of our favorite cookies on the cookie stroll, and yes, it always makes the Best $50 list too. It has raspberry jam (at least, we think it’s raspberry). It has powdered sugar, which you should be prepared to wear. And it’s so good that you’ll need to give serious consideration about whether to share with your kid. For sure, if you ask them, they won’t share with you.
Sweet Potato Mochi Cake: Gooey sweet potato mochi cake with purple sweet potato cream, strawberry, black sugary syrup, and sesame seeds from Shi Wasu Holiday Kitchen, $6.50
This is new to the Festival and new to our list. This sweet potato mochi is mild and gorgeous, and we loved that it wasn’t too sweet. It was the least sweet “sweet” of the Festival even with the fluffy purple sweet potato cream. If you’re not in the mood to be covered in powdered sugar, try this instead. Or better yet, get both!
Have you been to the Festival of the Holidays this year? What did we miss that you think should be on our list? Let us know in the comments!