Category: Florida

Disney’s International Food and Wine Festival at Epcot

Destinations Florida United States of America

Disney’s International Food and Wine Festival at Epcot

Every year my family and I go to Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival at Disney World and it’s always a lot of fun! During this festival stands are set up all over Epcot, each representing its own country. There are over 30 stands to choose from! At these stands, you can buy authentic food and drinks from the country, made and served by people who are actually from there. Every year some of the countries are changed out for new ones, while some of the more popular ones stay. While you eat, you can also enjoy live music from various cultures. It’s the perfect festival for travelers who love to eat (like me)!

At Epcot, you can get your own free festival passport to keep and place a sticker by the name of each place you “visited”, as well as check off what you had there. It makes a cute keepsake!

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Here’s all the places I got to visit:


Hawaii

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The Hawaii stand has been at the food and wine festival every year that I’ve gone and I don’t think it’s going away any time soon. I highly recommend getting the Kalua pork slider, it’s a very popular choice and for a good reason! The savory meat and sweet pineapple along with some spicy mayonnaise make an amazing flavor combination. I’m just barely under the drinking age in the United States, so I couldn’t buy any drinks myself, but the beer pictured is my dad’s Kona Brewing Company Big Wave Golden Ale.


Patagonia

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I’ll be honest, I had never heard of Patagonia before seeing it on this year’s passport. After a little research, I discovered that it’s located at the southern end of South America and is shared by Argentina and Chile. The food from this stand was delicious, especially the beef skewer. In fact, the beef skewer topped with Chimichurri sauce was my favorite food out of the whole festival this year. Hopefully Patagonia is back again next year because I’d love to have their food again!


Islands of the Caribbean

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  I was born in an island of the Caribbean (Puerto Rico), so seeing my part of the world being represented is always exciting. Maybe I’m biased, but Caribbean food is some of the best food there is and this section did not disappoint! I had the pescado con coco (I forgot to mark it off, oops) and the Jamaican beef patty to the right. Both are an accurate taste of the Caribbean, even if the beef patties were pretty tiny.


Morocco

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Morocco is on my bucket list for sure, but until that happens, the Morocco stand at the food and wine festival will have to do. I’m not a fan of onions, which this pita pocket had a lot of, but the seasoned pork inside definitely made up for it. There was also live Moroccan music being performed near the stand, which was fun to listen to and watch.


Mexico

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I love flan and I love chocolate, so imagine my excitement when discovering that Mexico had chocolate flan! The line for Mexico was incredibly long, but the chocolate flan was worth the wait. I wish the serving size was bigger, but maybe next year I’ll get two.


Germany

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My most recent trip was actually to Germany, so going to this stand was super nostalgic for me. If you’ve ever listened to me talk about Germany, you know that I can rave about their sausages forever, so obviously that’s what I ended up getting. While they aren’t crispy on the outside like the ones I had in Berlin, they do taste very close to them, even down to the bread they were in. Also, European beer is the only kind of beer that I sort of like, so it was nice to try some of it again (the beer was my dad’s once again, so I didn’t mark it off, but it was the first one on the beverage list).


Scotland

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Smoked salmon is one of my favorite kinds of fish, so I had to get the potato pancake with smoked salmon. I wasn’t really sure how to eat it since I couldn’t cut the potato pancake with a fork, so I ended up rolling it up and eating it like a taco. Close enough, I guess? The pancake itself didn’t have a lot of flavor, but smoked salmon and sour cream is surprisingly good together, so I enjoyed it.


Ireland

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Ireland is a place I’ve been to quite a few times (both the actual country and the stand) and one of my favorite stands at the festival every year. One thing they always have is the fisherman’s pie, which is made up of mashed potatoes, melted cheddar cheese, and pieces of seafood, like clam and lobster. It’s a must-have if you’re a sea food lover, I promise! Two new things featured in Ireland were the warm chocolate pudding and the pumpkin chai tea and caramel shake. Everything the Ireland stand has is always delicious and this whole meal was perfect for fall (if only it was chillier in Florida). I’ll definitely be looking for a recipe for that pumpkin chai tea shake.


What I had at Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival was just a small taste of what they have to offer, since my stomach and wallet can only afford so much food. There are still so many other countries to check out (from Australia to China to even more), so there’s something for everyone! If you’re ever going to Orlando in the fall, I highly encourage you to discover all of the countries and their delicacies for yourself!

Authentic Japanese Food in Orlando, Florida

Florida North America United States of America

Authentic Japanese Food in Orlando, Florida

If you’re looking for a great (and affordable!) local Japanese spot to eat in Orlando, check out Bikkuri Sushi Noodle and Grill! I think I started to fall in love with the restaurant before I even got inside. The glowing red neon lights and the flashing “open” sign were the first promising signs of an interesting atmosphere, and it only got better from there. As soon as you walk in, you’re in a lobby with a mirror on the wall (perfect for cool selfies bathed in red light) and a set of stairs.

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Once you’re up the stairs, you’re greeted by a sign that asks you to wait to be seated and get your first peek of the restaurant. The whole place is cozily small and dimly lit, with red Japanese lanterns, soft lighting above each booth and a few neon signs in the windows. It immediately gives a kitchy, New York City 80’s vibe with a Japanese twist, which I absolutely loved.

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There’s a full bar with a TV, making it an ideal place for a night of drinking (but I’m under the legal drinking age, so I didn’t experience that part).

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My friend and I were seated right away. The booth was by a window with a view of the street below and surrounding buildings. Each table was set with the usual silverware, napkins, and condiments along with chopsticks and a rose in a glass vase. From the inside out, Bikurri is an extremely aesthetically pleasing place. Another bonus, for an evening in downtown Orlando it wasn’t crowded at all! There were a few other groups of people, but it was pretty quiet and overall very chill with quick service.

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Now, onto the food!

There were a large variety of drinks, from your normal soft drinks to cocktails to Japanese teas and sakes. I had a cold Hojicha Green tea, which wasn’t sweetened at all but very refreshing and felt cleansing, like an instant detox. I skipped the appetizers because they were a little on the pricey side (like, over $10 an appetizer) and went straight to the entrée. For my entrée, I ordered donburi, which is a bowl of chicken, fried egg, onion, and scallion over steamed rice with broth. This was so delicious, I’m really glad I chose it. The combination of savory flavors and the warmth of the food made me want to curl up with the bowl on a cold, lazy and rainy day. I would describe donburi as the ultimate Japanese comfort food. While it wasn’t exactly comfort food weather (90 something degrees on a humid Florida day), this was still so appetizing and filling, too.  I still crave it from time to time (right now, for example).

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I also got the salmon tropical roll on the side, which consisted of 8 medium sized rolls of sushi with salmon and cream cheese inside, topped with mango, pineapple, krab, scallion, avocado, and mayo sauce. I wasn’t nearly as impressed with the sushi as I was with the donburi. There wasn’t anything wrong with it at all, I just felt like there wasn’t anything unique about it. I mean, I’ve bought sushi that tasted just as good from the supermarket. The tropical addition of mango and pineapple sounded interesting, but it wasn’t what I expected it to be. Basically, it just tasted like having mango and pineapple in your mouth and then having a mouthful of sushi. It didn’t complement the flavors inside of the actual sushi. When it comes to getting sushi from Bikurri, I would recommend it, just in a different (maybe more classic) flavor.

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For dessert, I had fried cheesecake with vanilla ice cream on the side. These don’t actually come together, but I thought that vanilla ice cream would be the perfect match, so I ordered them separately. This was really tasty and I would definitely recommend ordering it! You can’t go wrong with taking something sweet and frying it. The outside of the fried cheesecake was warm and crispy, while the inside was cold and creamy like a normal cheesecake. It was an amazing combination, especially with the vanilla ice cream added. If you love cheesecake, you’ll love this dessert, I promise.

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Overall, my meal was about $36, including the tip. The portions were all generous and the service was good, so I had no problem with the price. What really won me over was the awesome atmosphere of the restaurant, but I left happy (and stuffed) with the food I had, too. It’s not easy to find a place that can do both, so this was a win-win. Without a doubt, I would go eat at Bikurri Sushi Noodle and Grill again and actually hope to make another visit soon.