We continue from Taste of Marrakesh.
Hanami materializes in the same spot across from the Japan Pavilion for the 2019 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival.
The venerable Frushi is the only returning item.
Frushi: Fresh Pineapple, Strawberry, and Melon rolled with Coconut Rice garnished with Whipped Cream, Berry Sauce Drizzle and Toasted Coconut – $5.95
One of the most photographed items year in and year out, Frushi shines brightly with vibrant colors and fresh fruit flavors. The strawberry, cantaloupe, and pineapple add a burst of fruit juice to the cool coconut and the whipped cream sweetens the pot further if that’s the direction you want to go. At two bucks a piece, you’re paying actual nigiri prices for a few cents worth of diced fruit, but I’m told that it’s light and fun even if I am unable to personally feel those emotions.
Taste: ? for you. 5/10 for me.
Value: ? for you. 3/10 for me.
Chilled Soba Noodle Salad with Pan-seared Tuna and Wasabi Dressing – $6.50
This dish looked the part, but we were surprised by how muted the flavors ended up being. Wasabi implies some amount of spice, which there was none of. Even the sesame seeds lacked the rich nutty punch that usually accompanies the oilseed crop. The Tuna Tataki from The Citrus Blossom is a smarter buy if you’re after Festival Tuna, though this may improve as the Festival continues.
Chicken Karaage with Nanban Sauce: Japanese-style Fried Chicken served on a bed of Shredded Cabbage and topped with a Soy and Vinegar-based Dressing – $6.25
This was another surprisingly bland dish with chewy, tough chicken bites on top of Shredded Cabbage that is probably going largely-uneaten. The food is wheeled periodically from kitchens across the way and I think the quality suffers here as Fried Chicken is going to be best fresh out of the fryer. This is a “safe” dish for a picky eater, but I think most people will want to seek out bolder flavors elsewhere.
Kirin Draft Beer- $4.50
Kirin tastes better on draft at Epcot than it does in a can at home, but there are still better selections all around, including the Ginga Kogen at the Mitsukoshi Department Store Sake Bar and the draft choices at Block & Hans or The Smokehouse. It may also be worth noting that the beer is brewed in Williamsburg, Virginia.
Sayuri “Little Lilly” Nigori Sake – $7.50
This is a smooth, unfiltered sake with a light cherry flavor and a refreshing sweetness. The creamy mouthfeel is a little different than some of the sakes that we’ve seen here in the past, but I think it’s a pretty inoffensive entry if you’re new to the world of sake.
“Ichigo Sun” Strawberry Lemonade Cocktail with Sake, Strawberry Purée and Lemonade – $7
Typically, Japan offers a sweet cocktail that’s light on the alcohol, but pleasant on the palate. We found this one to be far too sweet and syrupy to be enjoyable. If you really like the taste of cloying artificial strawberry then you’re in for a treat, though.
We both know you’re picking up the Frushi. Unfortunately, I think the other two dishes are easy skips. You might add the Sake if you have interest.