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Sunday Brunch

Sunday Brunch: Lotus Blossom

18 August 2013

by Reuben Gutierrez

Today marks the conclusion to Brent Week at From Screen to Theme. To celebrate we'll visit Brent's favorite place to eat that has not already been covered in Sunday Brunch: the Lotus Blossom cafe in the China Pavilion at Epcot. While the China Pavilion opened in 1982 the same year Epcot premiered, the counter service cafe (along with Nine Dragons Restaurant) opened in 1985. Lotus Blossom cafe, one of several restaurants in Epcot independently owned and operated by a third party vendor, while frequently visited by many guests, unfortunately suffers in quality and authenticity.

Lotus Blossom

We have hypothesized that the cast members here work on commission or are incredibly eager to assist you. One only has to be walk by the doorway to hear a cashier exclaim 'Picture menu here!'

Lotus Blossom
My research concludes this is more for show than in reference to an actual person

Lotus Blossom

The menu, which changed numerous times through the years, contains familiar, but simplified 'Chinese food' menu items commonly found at Chinese take-out restaurants across the country. Chinese-ish food is probably the more accurate category. Descriptors like 'Hong Kong Style' help make the menu a wee bit exciting, but as far as Chinese food goes in this country, this menu's basicity surprises one considering the quality of the other counter service menus in the other World Showcase pavilions.

Lotus Blossom

A sudden desire for Chinese food overwhelmed my brother, Albert, and I one evening this past week, so we decided to journey to China in Epcot. A decision I wish we revised, because the 'Chinese food' was underwhelming, and not worth the Disney price we played. In comparison, the cost of a single entr'e priced between $7-$9 could elsewhere (like a mall food court) easily cover 2 entrees, a choice from 3 different starches (white rice, fried rice, lo mein), and an egg roll. To get all that at Lotus Blossom cafe, plan on spending more than $20 and feeling more than unsatisfied.

Lotus Blossom

Still we wanted Chinese food, even if it was more 'ish' than Chinese and cost more than we should be spending. We'd get to be in Epcot at the very least. My brother, Albert, ordered the Sesame Chicken Salad, a bowl of mixed greens with several pieces of the signature Sesame Chicken. He liked it, thinking the Sesame Vinaigrette dressing was 'okay.' He concluded that 'you can't really mess up a salad.'

Lotus Blossom

As for myself, I ordered the Orange Chicken, something I have ordered before. The dish also happens to be Brent's favorite, even if he doesn't like most Chinese food. To tell you the truth, this is not 'real' Chinese food, and harkens back to the 'ish' I mentioned earlier. Rather, you're apt to find this same 'Chinese Chicken nugget' in Chinese buffets and take-out restaurants as Sweet-and-sour chicken. The all-purpose chicken nuggets actually get used in the Orange Chicken, the Sesame Chicken, and the children's Sweet and Sour Chicken, each with the appropriate 'sauce.' Orange Chicken and Sesame Chicken are made with a typically tighter, crunchier chicken nugget, with flavor dominating in the sauce rather than the meat. The orange sauce in my chicken contained a distinctly orange flavor with visible orange zest, though had more of a sweetness to it rather than orange. Both chicken entrees contained sauces which were more sweet than flavorful. To the average palette, this is great, as it's familiar and easy to enjoy. For the more adventurous, the overbearing sweetness of the sauce feels more like a letdown, or even a turn-off. As we grow older, our tolerance will lower for sweet tastes. Unfortunately, I've reached that age where too sweet is too much.

Traveling through Disney World, guests encounter excellent dining, and appropriately find the duds, successfully making the excellent extraordinary. Take it from someone who knows, if you have time and want good Chinese food, take the extra time and pay the extra dollar to dine next door at the superior Nine Dragons Restaurant. While it is not authentic Chinese cuisine ' then again that's hard to find in this country ' the food is of superior quality, flavor, and variety. If you don't have that kind of time or dollar, you still can find good Asian food fast at the Katusura Grill in the Japan Pavilion. Let's be honest, folks, they are pretty much the same thing, just better. While not the worst thing in all of Walt Disney World, the Lotus Blossom cafe offers okay food and at least the atmosphere is more authentic than the food.

Lotus Blossom


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