Lotus House is back across from China along the water.
The Spicy Chicken Lettuce Wrap replaces last year’s Gaoli Beef Bun. The questionably, perhaps hilariously, titled “M.S.G. Wine Cooler” is new and the Plum Wine is now served as a “Cooler” instead of straight up.
$5.95 Spicy Chicken Lettuce Wrap
I miss the steamed buns that had been a Festival mainstay for years. Hanami over in Japan also dropped theirs.
This was “just okay” for me. If this is butter lettuce then it did not do a great job of agreeing to be wrapped…I think two smaller lettuce cups would have been more manageable and certainly more shareable. More of a hoisin sauce would have also been welcome versus the dry chili rub that they were using. For six bucks, it didn’t inspire any interest in seeking out another, but you may enjoy it more. The flavors are pretty straightforward so it might also be a “safer” choice than you would initially suspect.
$5.50 Beijing-Style Candied Strawberries
These strawberries encased in a hardened sugar glaze are a favorite of dentists across the country and have a sort of cult following at each Flower and Garden Festival. I’m not sure where I come down on them personally…one bite of the extremely sweet, sugary strawberries is enough, but they are easily shareable and make for a nice picture when held up for a selfie with the lagoon in the background. Still, it’s potentially a lot of money for four strawberries and five cents worth of sugar. You can read more about the process of making them at home here.
$4.50 Vegetable Spring Rolls
This may be an above average vegetarian option that isn’t a salad or dessert, but I’ve never found these rolls to be particularly flavorful. They do offer a nice crunch with some crispy vegetables inside and they’re not at all greasy, which is nice. The mildly spicy, creamy sauce does help dress them up and they’re easily shareable among two people.
$6.75 Oolong Peach Tea
The Peach Oolong Tea with popping bubbles is non-alcoholic and while expensive, is incredibly refreshing on hot days. It’s about $2 more than most of the frozen drinks, but the portion is significantly larger and the flavors more unique.
$8.75 Kung Fu Punch
Vodka, Triple Sec, Mango and Orange Juice. Pour quality varies a bit from cast member to cast member, but China often does an admirable job of hooking you up and I would visit this booth over any of the others for their Kung Fu Punch, which is an ice cold, sweet, light mango and orange juice drink topped with Smirnoff and triple sec. You might eyeball the drink window and see what the pours are looking like before committing. It should be just one cast member doing the honors.
$8.75 Dragon Pearl
With Beer, Honey, Cream and Tapioca Pearls. The first time I ordered this they were either out of the boba or there was some confusion over to whether I wanted them. So this is a picture without.
So I returned and this is what it looks like at night without a flash with tapioca pearls. The taste profile on this one, especially upon the first sip, is very strange and I heard several people around me make that same comment. After the initial shock, I think the flavor starts to grow on you, though the bitterness of the beer never really fully meshes with the sweet flavors of the honey/cream. You sort of get the thinner taste of the beer up front before it’s washed away by the thicker cream and honey. People were typically nursing these as they walked around World Showcase. It’s not a quick drink at all, particularly with the heaviness of the cream and the boba that occasionally glide up the straw. You might opt to share one before committing to a larger quantity.
A cooler of Mango Wine, Strawberry and Ginger Ale. The Ginger Ale in this year’s version adds a pleasant carbonation and helps cut the otherwise overwhelming sweetness from the strawberry and mango. I’d consider this one if you’re looking for a relatively substantial, refreshing drink that’s going to be light on the alcohol content. It’s a good alternative to the Kung Fu Punch in that regard.
$3.50 Tsingtao Beer
Every year I write that every year I write the same review for Tsingtao. It does taste better at Epcot with some spicy food than it would out of a bottle at home, but far more interesting options abound. It will satisfy the Budweiser crowd.
Overall, I think Lotus Blossom is a more interesting stop for drinks rather than food, though none of the options are terrible. The strawberries stand out as being unique and while the vegetable rolls or lettuce wrap are unlikely to be memorable, they’re perfectly edible, which is more than we can say about Hanami/Japan this year.