REVIEW: Kawaii Chirashi Sushi Tree, Matcha Creme Brulee, and More at Shi Wasu Holiday Kitchen for EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays 2019

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The Japan pavilion is not our favorite country in the World Showcase simply for shopping at Mitsukoshi; it also holds some of our favorite restaurants that can be found in EPCOT. So, let’s head over to the Shi Wasu Holiday Kitchen, a special food booth for the 2019 EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays, and see if this booth is just as good as the year-round restaurants!

Menu for Shi Wasu Holiday Kitchen at the EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays

Food:

  • New Year Celebration Soba: Buckwheat Soba Noodles in Hot Dashi Soup with Kakiage (Vegetable Tempura) and Chopped Green Onion – $7.25
  • 🆕 Chirashi Sushi Tree: Sashimi-grade Tuna, Salmon, Ikura and Yellowtail with Vegetables decorated on a bed of Rice – $6.00
  • 🆕 Matcha Crème Brûlée: Creamy Green Tea Custard with a Caramelized Sugar Crust topped with Mochi, Red Bean Jam and Strawberry – $5.75

Beverages:

  • Ichigo Milk Boba: Strawberry Cream Drink with Japanese Calpico and Popping Strawberry Boba Pearls – $5.25
  • Sapporo Draft Beer (4.9% ABV) – $4.25
  • 🆕 Tsubaki Whiskey Sour: Plum Wine with Whiskey, Cranberry Juice, Sugar and Lemon – $7.75

The New Year Celebration Soba returns from 2018, with an adjustment: Kakiage (or vegetable tempura) and chopped green onion replace the chicken and spinach.

Photos of Menu Items for Shi Wasu Holiday Kitchen at the EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays

New Year Celebration Soba: Buckwheat Soba Noodles in Hot Dashi Soup with Kakiage (Vegetable Tempura) and Chopped Green Onion – $7.25

This was one of the best executed items at the festival, and a great value at $7.25 given how filling and tasty this is.

Soba noodles aren’t always the easiest to cook, with the possibility of slimy noodles due to the starch in the buckwheat, or the chance of the noodles being undercooked (making them gritty) or overcooked (possibly disintegrated.) In this case, they were perfectly cooked. Not too soft, not hard, and just right, which is hard when you’re cooking in bulk for a festival.

Even the tempura managed to stay hot and crispy, with the bottom getting just slightly soaked in the flavorful, savory broth. The tempura does come as all one unit, with zucchini and carrot shredded, battered, and lightly fried.

This dish will definitely be a go-to once temperatures drop here in Orlando again. Even if you’re not a vegetarian, you should still try this. Do note that we didn’t ask if this was fully vegetarian, and usually broths like these contain fish sauce, so if you’re vegetarian and looking to try this, do ask beforehand.

*NEW* Chirashi Sushi Tree: Sashimi-grade Tuna, Salmon, Ikura and Yellowtail with Vegetables decorated on a bed of Rice – $6.00

This was one of the most highly anticipated dishes of the fest, mainly because of how adorable (and yes, Instagrammable) it is. You have short-grain rice topped with thinly sliced flecks of lettuce, then layers of fish, masago and ikura (fish eggs), plus strips of paper-thin cucumber, all topped with an amazing volcano and dynamite sauce.

The whole dish is presented with short-grain sticky rice pressed to look like a Christmas tree and topped with a kawaii carrot star.

If you like sushi, the flavors here are amazing, and it isn’t a bad price given how unique it is. Our only complaint is that the fish to rice ratio is somewhat off here. I know it’s for presentation, but you inevitably end up with more rice than fish… although the sticky rice is delicious on its own.


If we had to choose between this or the soba, we’d be hard pressed to pick just one. With the soba, you’re getting slightly more food for your money, but I can never pass up a cute dish like this. My take is, just get both.

*NEW* Matcha Crème Brûlée: Creamy Green Tea Custard with a Caramelized Sugar Crust topped with Mochi, Red Bean Jam and Strawberry – $5.75

Custard desserts are fairly popular in Japan, as are green tea flavored treats. Here, you get the best of both worlds, plus some fun extras like mochi, a fresh strawberry, and a dollop of red bean paste.

We usually don’t expect strong green tea flavors from these desserts (looking at you, Tokyo Dining cake slice), but this dessert actually has a lot of matcha green tea worked in. Given how expensive the ingredient is, we were surprised at how potent its flavor came through here, meaning they probably used a lot. (Culinary grade, but still good.)

This is more of a sweet matcha flavor with the caramelized sugar coming through. If you’re craving a Starbucks green tea latte (and no, there is still not a Starbucks in the park), this should hit the spot.

The textures here are somewhere between a pudding and a flan, but overall it was very good. Could this dessert have been $4 instead of $5 and change? Yes, but this is an EPCOT festival, so expect high prices.

Ichigo Milk Boba: Strawberry Cream Drink with Japanese Calpico and Popping Strawberry Boba Pearls – $5.25

Ichigo Milk Boba: Strawberry Cream Drink with Japanese Calpico and Popping Strawberry Boba Pearls – $5.25

The best non-alcoholic drink at the Festival, this is a popping strawberry boba cream drink with Japanese calpico. It’s sort of a creamy punch. It was highly enjoyed and reminds us of a strawberry creamsicle.

Sapporo Draft Beer (4.9% ABV) – $4.25

Sapporo describes their Premium Beer as “a refreshing lager with a crisp, refined flavor and a clean finish. The perfect beer to pair with any meal and any occasion.”

*NEW* Tsubaki Whiskey Sour: Plum Wine with Whiskey, Cranberry Juice, Sugar and Lemon – $7.75

This Tsubaki whiskey sour tastes like its components: you get the familiar burn of the whiskey, followed by the flavors of sweet plum. Still, we’d only say that this was about okay.

It’s a strong drink, stronger than many we paid well over $10 for at the festival, so at $7.75 for a nearly full plastic chalice, we weren’t too disappointed.

Location of Shi Wasu Holiday Kitchen at the EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays

Shi Wasu Holiday Kitchen is located adjacent to the Japan pavilion on the World Showcase Promenade. Shi Wasu Holiday Kitchen is number 17 on the map below.

Nearly everything at the Shi Wasu Holiday Kitchen booth is new this year to the Festival of the Holidays, so we highly recommend checking out this kitchen.

About the author

Jessica Figueroa

Jessica lives in South Florida with her 15-pound cat Gordo and a small army of Tsum Tsums. You can contact her, ideally with photos of your cats, at [email protected]

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