2014 Food & Wine: Japan

Japan is always a Food & Wine Festival favorite for us. We’re big fans of Japanese food, so we’re always happy to stop to try new items and revisit old favorites at this kiosk.

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In previous years, the menu featured four food items, but this year, we only get three. The Spicy Hand Roll, which has been around since 2012, remains unchanged, even in price. More “common” items, such as the California Roll, have made way for more interesting items. This year brings two: the Teriyaki Gyoza Bun and the Chirashizushi. (Note: A similar item was served at the 2013 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival at Japan’s kiosk, Hanami. It was called Chirashi Hanazushi.)

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Since Matt loved Teriyaki, I’ve been wanting him to try the Teriyaki Gyoza Bun. I’ve been reluctant to order it myself when I’m roaming Epcot alone since Teriyaki isn’t a flavor I care for. But having walked past Japan numerous times during the Festival already, I stopped by for the Chirashizushi.

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The Chirashizushi features Salmon, Shrimp, Crab, and Omlette and is served over Seaweed Salad and Ginger Rice. And by Crab, it’s Krab, or surimi. But not CraB.

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The salmon was plentiful throughout the serving, and I have to say, the quality was quite good. I was afraid it might have become mushy, but it retained its firmness and flavor. Diced cucumber added crunch to the dish.

The Omelette is what I’m assuming is Tamago – something I’ve not had as nigiri before – reminded me of Cidic, an Eastern European “Egg Cheese” which my paternal grandmother prepares at Easter (a sort of slightly sweetened, compressed, scrambled egg ball that is sliced). There was a good amount of krab as well. One single shrimp finished the dish, and there was a sprinkling of some sort of puffed rice or wheat balls sprinkled on top.

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I’m not a big fan of ginger, and the rice itself wasn’t “gingery” as its “ginger rice” name implied. Instead, there was some shredded, pickled ginger tucked between the fish/cucumber/egg and rice, of in a corner, waiting to surprise me when I took a bite with several pieces mixed in. 😉 Upon the initial surprise, it wasn’t too bad with smaller amounts mixed in and knowing it was there. And the seaweed salad beneath all the other elements was delicious.

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While the Spicy Hand Roll is very good and definitely worth ordering, I don’t know if I will for myself as I’ve had it several times in the past, and I’m trying to spend my money on new items. That’s not a definite, however, and I’ll happily enjoy a bite should Matt order one!

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UPDATE!

Over the weekend, we made a quick lap around World Showcase and Matt ordered the Teriyaki Gyoza Bun. Even though he loves Teriyaki, he admitted he was a bit nervous about this one because he wasn’t really sure what to expect. If you’ve had either of the buns in China during the festival, the dough used here is the same style. It’s pillow-soft with a bit of chew, but instead of being folded in half, it is sealed like a potsticker before being steamed.

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The large bun is filled with Chicken, Vegetables, and Sweet Teriyaki Sauce. The chicken used is ground chicken, and with the added sauce, you’d be hard pressed to think it’s not beef. While the sauce wasn’t my favorite, it wasn’t too bad for my palate. Matt enjoyed this dish more than I, but had it been some sort of spicy sauce, I wouldn’t hesitate to order it again. At $5.50, the dish isn’t cheap, but the bun is really stuffed with filling making it a fair deal.

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We’ll keep you posted on updated reviews from Japan as the 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival continues. What have you tried from the kiosk, and what did you think? What are you looking forward to trying?

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4 responses to “2014 Food & Wine: Japan

  1. Hmmm. I’m on the fence about this one, as I’m not big on tamago or krab. But I LOVE salmon, so I may have to take the shot anyway.

    Would you recommend a hater of mayo ask for my hand roll without sauce?

  2. I eat Japanese food quite a lot (my grandparents would be proud of me!). So much that I decided to only try the Teriyaki Gyoza Bun, since that is something I don’t normally have. It had great taste and I would probably revisit if I were to fly back to WDW before the festival ends. The only complaint I have – and I think it’s the same complaint I have for gyoza buns in general – is the bun-to-filling ratio. I always feel there should be more filling. Maybe that’s the way it is supposed to be, but I say “More filling!!”. But like I said, I would have another one! 🙂

  3. Jenn – I didn’t find the sauce too “mayonnaise-y,” but I’m sure the consistency changes a bit during the Festival. It’s a big flavor component; perhaps ask for it on a side plate and try dipping it so you don’t miss out in case you in fact like it! 🙂

    Ricardo – I’m really hoping Matt orders the bun soon so I can have a taste (and a picture)! 🙂

  4. I hope they’ll still keep the tuna roll. I haven’t had a chance to try it yet. I really enjoyed the tuna, salmon and avocado dish (can’t remember the name) that they had for a couple of years, although the last year they had it, they kinda overdosed on the sauce. I never got much here just because I prefer sashimi or more raw rolls than the cooked stuff.