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Japan Pavilion – Warming Up with Noodles and Broth

When it’s cold outside, what sounds good to eat? In the DVC Duo house it’s warm broth and noodles! Growing up in the cold New Hampshire winters there is something about broth and noodles (in all forms), that warms us up instantly. With record cold reaching most areas of the US this past week, I got to thinking about our last trip to Disney and slurping up some of the good stuff. In today’s food review we’re heading over to the Japan pavilion.

Ramen in the Japan Pavilion
Tonkotsu Ramen at Katsura Grill

Katsura Grill – Ramen

Hidden in the back of the Japan Pavilion is a tranquil quick serve location. Just beyond the koi ponds in the back right is Katsura Grill. Serving up a variety of Japanese delights from sushi to teriyaki, and what we went for ramen. After ordering you meal you can either head outdoors to the patio or stay inside, depending on the weather of course. The patio is well tucked back amongst some beautiful Japanese Maple trees and is a welcome break from the Florida sun.

On this day we chose to inside to avoid the rain shower and nothing warms you up like hot streaming bowl of broth and deliciously chewy ramen. We chose to go with the Tonkotsu Ramen, which is traditional ramen noodles with Pork and vegetables, served in a broth.

Overall, the ramen was solid and did the trick of warming us up. The star of the dish was definitely the pork, as it was pork belly! You can never go wrong with pork belly, right? The broth was light and well seasoned without overpowering. Overall I didn’t feel like it all quite came together for me though. Everything seemed maybe just a little bland and there was just a few small slivers of pork – hardly enough to consider it part of the meal, more of a garnish. The dish has the workings to be outstanding, we think it just needs a little more depth of flavor and more heft.

Passholder Insights: We’ve heard the dishes to get a Katsura Grill are the teriyaki options. Additionally, Nate has had the sushi previously and it’s solid.  

Soba Noodles at Japan Pavilion Festival Booth
New Year Celebration Soba

Festival Booth – Soba Noodles in Dashi Broth

In the front of the Japan Pavilion you’ll find the festival booth. The booth is open during the different Epcot Festivals, like Festival of the Arts, and has an ever changing menu. Offerings range from imaginative sushi creations, to Japanese inspired sweet treats, and of course noodles!

On this pleasant Florida December day, not too hot, not too cold, wandering around the Festival of the Holidays we stumbled upon the Japan Pavilion booth, where we discovered the New Years Celebration Soba. A dish comprised of buckwheat soba noodles, chicken, and spinach, all served up a hot dashi broth.

Wow, just wow! It was a perfectly orchestrated dish where all of the components complimented each other. The buckwheat noodles were chewy and dense, the chicken was moist and steamed, the broth was earthy, hearty, and satisfying. We couldn’t believe the dish was just a “snack” on the dining plan. What a steal!

Our Thoughts

When touring around Epcot and you’re in the mood for something a little light we would recommend heading over to the Japan Pavilion. In our opinion, we would choose the festival booth option over the ramen option at Katsura Grill, but that is just our taste. Slurp away, it’s actually a compliment to the chef!

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