We continue from Morocco.
Japan returns waterside across from the rest of the Pavilion.
The Teriyaki Chicken Bun and Spicy Roll return from last year, while the Frothy Ramen is new. On the drink front, just the Kirin makes a reappearance.
- Teriyaki Chicken Bun: Steamed bun filled with Chicken, Vegetables and a Sweet Teriyaki Sauce – $5.75
- Frothy Ramen: Chilled Noodles and Dashi Broth with a Light Foam Topping – $6
- Spicy Roll: Tuna and Salmon topped with Volcano Sauce – $5.75
- Kirin Ichiban Lager – $4.25
- Draft Sake – $8
- Nami Sake Cocktail: Sake, Gin, and Blue Curacao – $8.50
Teriyaki Chicken Bun: Steamed bun filled with Chicken, Vegetables and a Sweet Teriyaki Sauce – $5.75
The bun is soft and fluffy and, in a departure from past offerings, not so thick that it overwhelms what is a sizable filling of chicken and vegetables slathered in a sweet teriyaki sauce. My personal tastes tend towards the spicy, but this is a quality offering and comes recommended.
Frothy Ramen: Chilled Noodles and Dashi Broth with a Light Foam Topping – $6
If you were to ask me how I like my ramen, “cold” and “frothy” would not top the list of adjectives. “Hot” and “spicy” might, though. Here, the froth is almost a foam on top of the soup. Theoretically, it should help to cut the richness of the soup, but I think the froth just adds to the incredibly umami, or savory, quality. Unfortunately, the noodles were gummy and overcooked, like they had been sitting in broth for too long before they were served. There was also a salty soy glaze of some sort over the top, which made the flavor even more intense. I would still recommend trying one of these, even if you share one among numerous people. Some will likely be surprised by how much they enjoy it, while others will immediately swear off soup foam now and in the future. The portion is relatively large for the money and the cup is precious. So hopefully you can at least take a picture of it and increase your social media standing.
Spicy Roll: Tuna and Salmon topped with Volcano Sauce – $5.75
Served whole, the Spicy Roll returns as a Hand Roll with the seaweed on one end serving as the holder. As someone who likes to share the majority of the Festival dishes, the presentation can make things a little awkward to pass around and I would have liked to have seen it cut cleanly into four or five pieces. You can do this yourself, of course, but it’s a little tricky to make a clean cut through rice with a plastic knife. The quality is similar to what you’d ordinarily find at Katsura Grill and the portion is a lot larger than what’s offered at nearby Kabuki Cafe for similar money. The sauce provides a bit of spice and the rice does a good job of trapping the fresh fish inside as you pick the roll up to tear off a bite. Overall, it’s a pretty average entry, but if you’re craving sushi, it’s an accessible option.
Kirin Ichiban Lager – $4.25
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 Hops & Barley back in the American Adventure.
Draft Sake – $8
I liked the shape of the cup this year – it’s elegantly curved, unlike the standard little wine cups that we’ve seen here at past Festivals. The Draft Sake is probably more drinkable than most for people who either don’t like Sake or aren’t quite sure if they do. It’s crystal clear with faint rice and pear on the nose. The flavor is soft, sweet, and clean with just a little bit of alcohol showing through towards the end of the sip. The Epcot Festivals are an expensive opportunity to give various types of alcohol a try, and the Japanese Sake is no different, but it’s fun to mix and match the flavors of the dishes with the rice wine. You might pick one up.
Nami Sake Cocktail: Sake, Gin, and Blue Curacao – $8.50
This is a refreshing summer cocktail, with bright flavors of pineapple and citrus helping to cover up what might actually be a reasonable amount of alcohol for the first time in a long time. If you don’t like your drinks sweet, then this probably isn’t for you. Stick to the Draft Sake. But if your palate doesn’t agree with straight alcohol, then this would be a good substitute. I wouldn’t seek it out specifically.
Zoomed out, you can see how small the cup is, just like most other cocktails at the Festival.
Overall, the Teriyaki Chicken Bun is a good value and the Frothy Ramen is worth trying. The Spicy Roll doesn’t stand out against the many quick service sushi options around the Pavilion, but it doesn’t break the bank for the quality and quantity offered. The Draft Sake might surprise you if your past experiences have all centered around the flavor of rubbing alcohol. The taste is much fresher.