When most people think of EPCOT Center at Walt Disney World, they think of the “giant golf ball” and all things futuristic. But World Showcase, EPCOT’s second area, is an amazing place. Highlighting the cuisine, culture, history and architecture of 11 countries, each pavilion is displayed along a mile-long promenade that encircles a picturesque 40-acre lagoon. Join me as we sample healthy snacks from each one to get a real taste of these countries!
World Showcase is a fun and educational way to learn about the cultures and sample the flavors of countries from all corners of the globe. Because each of the park’s 11 pavilions has at least two options for food, World Showcase is probably the most restaurant-packed area in all of Walt Disney World. There are many excellent sit down restaurants and buffets in World Showcase, as well as many souvenir shops that also sell food items, but for the purpose of this article and our goal to sample a little something from each country, let’s concentrate on the quick service eateries!
Of course, even if you pick out the healthiest food at each stop, there’s nothing healthy about gorging yourself on 11 different delicacies in one day’s time. The key to trying something in every country is sharing. If you share every snack, then a few bites each of the Epcot restaurants make for a truly delightful experience. (And some fun family bonding time, too!)
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Let’s start by going left at the foot of World Showcase and work our way around clock-wise. There’s no reason you can’t go right, but if you start by going left your first stop will be Mexico and adults can kick off this journey with a margarita at La Cantina de San Angel. I am not a big fan of drinking at Walt Disney World or drinking with kids in general, but a frosty cocktail at the get-go is a fun way to get this fiesta started.
While you’re there, grab a little something to munch. La Cantina de San Angel has delicious fresh guacamole and the Enselada Mexicana is good, too. The Cantina has some nice outdoor seating overlooking the lagoon, so it’s a great spot to relax and sip those margaritas as you begin your journey.
The Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe has some of the richest desserts in all of World Showcase. Many of their pastries feature fatty cream fillings and sugar on top. So save the calories you’d take in sampling these treats and instead try the Ham and Apple Sandwich. Featuring fresh cheeses and served on multigrain bread with sweet apple chutney, a few bites of this will satisfy your sweet tooth and give you a taste of traditional Norwegian fare.
If you are a tea drinker, you will love The Joy of Tea kiosk in China. Located right outside the main entrance of the China Pavilion, this spot is often overlooked. It offers an impressive selection of traditional hot and iced teas. And for something a little more substantial, order The Lucky Combo to share. It includes a Curry Chicken Pocket, Chinese BBQ Pork Bun, an egg roll, and your choice of ice cream: Caramel Ginger or Strawberry Red Bean. It’s a great way to sample various Chinese treats without going overboard!
Inside the China pavilion, the Lotus Blossom Café offers a good but fairly generic selection of Chinese food. The Orange Chicken, made with white meat and served with steamed rice, is a favorite and we always share a plate when we visit EPCOT.
The Germany section of World Showcase is one of the liveliest and features one of the biggest selections of places to eat. Sommerfest is a counter service spot serving bratwurst, soft pretzels and beer. Make sure you don’t miss Karamell-Küche, a delightful shop and the only working kitchen for Werthers in the world, selling fresh candy and caramel corn. We opted for a chocolate dipped caramel apple. They slice it for you after you pay so it is fresh and ready to share. The crisp, tart apple is an amazing (and healthy!) balance to the decadent chocolate.
I’ll be honest: I am a sucker for Italian food. Carbs are my weakness and I could live on pasta if it wasn’t so darn bad for you. So I was a little disappointed to learn that the Italy pavilion does not have a quick service pasta or pizza place, only table service restaurants. So we had to settle on dessert.
Not to worry, Italy has the pretty Tutto Italia cart where you can get Italian fruit soda, gelato and sorbet. We shared a refreshing lemon sorbet and it was lovely to sit on the steps in the plaza and enjoy this refreshing treat in the sun.
As expected for a quick service restaurant featuring popular American food, the Liberty Inn serves traditional fare – burgers, BBQ, chicken and the like. We could have happily skipped eating here, but to stay in the spirit of our snacking around the world, shared an individual apple pie. It is as American as America can get!
The Japan pavilion features lots of healthy offerings. Katsura Grill in Japan is a picturesque counter service restaurant with lots of healthy options including sushi, miso soup and edamame. We shared a kids meal, which is an inexpensive way to go and includes Teriyaki chicken, rice, vegetables and a cookie. The side salad – while it sounds like a mundane choice – actually comes with a delicious Japanese ginger dressing and is highly recommended. The green iced tea is also very good.
The Tangierine Café offers great options for those with adventurous palettes. The Vegetarian Platter is a great healthy option, featuring falafel, couscous salad, hummus, tabbouleh and marinated olives. In other words, a little bit of everything Moroccan cuisine is known for. There is also baklava and some other traditional desserts worthy of sharing.
The Boulangerie Patisserie is the place to go for an amazing selection of croissants, eclairs, quiche, souffles, tarts, cheese plates and sandwiches. My family shared the cheese plate and a fresh baguette.
We happened to be here in the evening and it was the perfect time to grab a glass of French champagne to enjoy while watching the IlluminNations fireworks show. Also in France is an artisan ice cream and sorbet shop called L’Artisan des Glaces. That’s where the kids went while we ordered our champagne.
The Yorkshire Country Fish Shop is a walk-up counter service restaurant that sells one thing – fish & chips. While they don’t have traditional snack foods, this quintessential British fare fits the bill. But like any fried food it’s loaded with fat, so just take a bite or two! And if you don’t like breaded fish, you can order just a side of chips (aka fries).
The pavilion for Canada has only one restaurant and it is an upscale sit-down steakhouse called Le Cellier. I guess Canadian snacks are not in high demand. However, if you’re like me and don’t feel your snacking tour of World Showcase would be complete without trying something from the Canada pavilion, head to the Beer Cart located near the entrance of Le Cellier and order yourself a light beer! And maybe some popcorn for the kiddos.
There you have it – a look at some of the healthy food options around the world at EPCOT restaurants. So next time you visit World Showcase, arrive with an empty stomach and an open mind. You’ll be in for an international snacking adventure!