On the festival’s first day, we tried several new, old, and horrible food items. Every food event at EPCOT has a few things that miss the mark; it’s bound to happen even though we wish it wouldn’t. For the most part, the Festival of the Arts had delicious food, but we experienced a few misses; we also experienced some out-of-this-world dishes.
The Best Food Items
- Tomato Soup with pimento cheese, bacon, and fried green tomato grilled cheese (New) – $6.50 – Located at POP Eats!
- Three-Meat Meatloaf with “Peas and Carrots”: Green pea pudding, carrot ketchup, shaved carrot salad, and snap peas (New) – $6.50 – Located at The Artist Table
- Hummingbird Cake: Banana cake with pineapple, coconut, pecans, and cream cheese frosting with banana sorbet (New) – $4.75 – Located at The Artist Table
- Rainbow Katsu Sando: Pork cutlet sandwich with tangy tonkatsu sauce and cabbage in rainbow sweet bread (New) – $6.50 – Located at Goshiki
- Sushi Donut: Donut-shaped sushi featuring salmon, tuna, shrimp, cucumber, and sesame seed over a decorated plate of wasabi aïoli, sriracha aïoli, and eel sauce – $8.25 – Located at Goshiki
- Chorizo and Potato Empanada with turmeric aïoli and annatto aïoli (Wonderful Walk of Colorful Cuisine Item) – $6.75 – Located at Vibrante & Vivido
Out of this list, I got to try the Sushi Donut, and it was love at first bite. The fish and shrimp were fresh, and the rice was perfectly cooked. My only concern was that the salmon on there was cut very thin where, whereas the tuna was thick. I would’ve loved it if it had matched the cut of the salmon.
Craig and Ryno raved about the Hummingbird Cake, and they aren’t the only ones. I have seen many festival goers compliment the dessert and give it very positive reviews. They also ranked the grilled cheese sandwich high on their list. The soup wasn’t anything special, but it is a great dipping sauce for that sandwich.
The Worst Food Items
- Duck and Dumplings: Smoked duck breast, ricotta dumplings, petite vegetables, and duck jus (New) – $7.00 – Located at The Artist Table
- Blood Orange-braised Beet Tartare with mustard vinaigrette, pickled clamshell mushrooms, and golden beets (Wonderful Walk of Colorful Cuisine Item) (Plant-based Item) (Gluten/ Wheat Friendly) – $5.50 – Located at Gourment Landscapes
I had the Blood Orange-braised Beet Tartare, and it was NOT love at first bite. I’d never eaten beets before this moment, so I didn’t know what to expect. It was the blandest dish I’ve eaten at EPCOT. I kept picking at it to see if it got any better, but it just didn’t. Ryno tried the Duck and Dumplings and was not pleased. He described it as “wet chicken,” which does not sound appetizing at all.
The Iffy Food Item
- Angry Crab: Whole crispy soft-shell crab with green papaya salad, mango-sriracha fluid gel, and coconut-lime foam with pomegranate and mango crush pearls (New) – $7.25 – Located at Moderne
Craig and Ryno shared this dish, and they had mixed reviews. It was good, but it could’ve been better if eaten with all the components on the plate. I wanted to try this dish so badly because I love crab, but the batter has ingredients that I’m allergic to, unfortunately.
The Weirdest Food Item
- Compressed Watermelon Tataki with pickled watermelon rind, yuzu pearls, watermelon foam, and wasabi (New) (Plant-based Item) – $4.75 – Located at Moderne
The compressed watermelon wins the weirdest category because, on paper, it just seems like an odd dish. After taking my first bite, all I could say was, “this is interesting,” and after the second bite, I started to like it. The flavors balanced each other out, which is why I would go back and buy it again. You’ll love this dish if you like combining sweet, sour, and spicy flavors.
To see our entire food-tasting journey from the first day of the 2023 EPCOT International Festival of the Arts, watch the YouTube video below.
Hi, I'm Erica, and I write about all things Disney. Before working for The DIS, I was a theme park performer at SeaWorld, but I also performed at Disney. I have such an immense love for theme parks to the point I studied them in college.