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REVIEW: China Meets but Doesn’t Surpass Expectations at the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival 2021

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The China marketplace booth at the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival is consistently one of our favorite booths. This year they added a new Bao Bun to the menu, so let’s hope ours doesn’t come to life like the adorable bun in the Pixar short Bao.

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Menu for the China Marketplace at the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival

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Food:

  • Pan-fried Chicken Dumplings with House-made Sweet and Spicy Sauce – $5.00
  • 🆕 ZiRan Beef Bao Bun: Grilled Beef with Cumin – $7.25
  • Crispy-fried Pepper Shrimp with Spicy Sichuan Noodles – $7.50

Beverages:

  • Mango Bubble Milk Tea: Assam Black Tea, Whole Milk, and Mango Syrup (Non-Alcoholic) – $7.25
  • ByeJoe Punch: Chinese BaiJiu Spirit, Lychee Syrup, Soda Water, and Piña Colada Mix – $11.75
  • Dragonfly: Jose Cuervo Gold Tequila ($18/bottle), Absolut Vodka ($17/bottle), Orange Juice, and Mango Syrup – $13.95
  • Kung Fu Master: Absolut Vodka ($17/bottle), Triple Sec, Mango Syrup and Orange Juice – $13.50
  • Jasmine Draft Beer – $5.00 (6 oz) / $8.50 (12 oz)

Photos of Menu Items from the China Marketplace at the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival

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Pan-fried Chicken Dumplings with House-made Sweet and Spicy Sauce – $5.00

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This was chewy and overcooked. It didn’t have a lot of flavor from the filling.

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For as much red “spicy” sauce is on the outside, it’s not very spicy. Otherwise, the sauce is good, with a little chili flavor.

*NEW* ZiRan Beef Bao Bun: Grilled Beef with Cumin – $7.25

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The bao was fluffy and a little chewy, but that’s not any different from similar bao offerings at this booth in the past. The beef itself was a little chewy, but it had an overall good texture and flavor.

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The cumin flavor was there, but on its own, it didn’t really bring much to the dish. The sauce had a good tang, but there wasn’t enough of it to pull the dish together. Still, if you love bao, this is a solid choice.

Crispy-fried Pepper Shrimp with Spicy Sichuan Noodles – $7.50

This dish isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel, but it’s a solid option. You get a pile of noodles with a few shrimp on top that have been slightly peppered. They’re nothing overly spicy, although you’ll probably need a breath mint after all the noodles. It’s a hefty portion for the price and feels worth the money, but it’s nothing ultimately unique. The best reason to get this dish is to soak up some of the alcohol in your system to help keep you going.

Mango Bubble Milk Tea: Assam Black Tea, Whole Milk, and Mango Syrup – $7.25

This milk tea is fantastic. It’s sweet, but not overly so, and the boba pearls provide a licorice-like flavor to counter the milk. It’s one of the better beverage options without alcohol at this festival.

ByeJoe Punch: Chinese BaiJiu Spirit, Lychee Syrup, Soda Water, and Piña Colada Mix – $11.75

Epcot Food & Wine 2018 – China – Byejoe Punch
ByeJoe Punch: Chinese BaiJiu Spirit, Lychee Syrup, Soda Water, and Piña Colada Mix – $11.75 (Photo courtesy easywdw.com)

This is one of the most refreshing drinks of the festival, with subtle hints of the featured flavors. Nothing is overpowering, and the alcohol pour is relatively heavy. It’s a solid choice.

Dragonfly: Jose Cuervo Gold Tequila ($18/bottle), Absolut Vodka ($17/bottle), Orange Juice, and Mango Syrup – $13.95

You can ignite your taste buds with this drink, with Jose Cuervo Tequila Gold, vodka, mango syrup, and orange juice. Connoisseurs of Jose Cuervo will definitely know that this is Gold tequila instead of Silver, as the taste is very prevalent. It’s also a sweet drink with lots of mango flavor. Overall, we found it yummy and refreshing.

Kung Fu Master: Absolut Vodka ($17/bottle), Triple Sec, Mango Syrup and Orange Juice – $13.50

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The China pavilion has two things going for it: Nine Dragons and heavy pours. Whether it’s the drinks from The Joy of Tea booth or their festival booth, the pours are always large and in charge. The Kung Fu Master highlights and exploits this by being a drink that tastes very alcohol-forward and feels boozy. It’s a bright, semi-sweet, flavorful drink with a nice fruity flavor. It clearly has an orange flavor, though some in our crowd thought it tasted like peach. This was a crowd favorite. The price to have a solid drink like this isn’t a horrible deal, especially at EPCOT.

Jasmine Draft Beer – $5.00 (6 oz) / $8.50 (12 oz)

Epcot Food & Wine 2018 – China – Jasmine Draft Beer

Surprise! This one’s not brewed in China—or even made there! In fact, it’s brewed locally in Florida with a slapped-on Jasmine name, sort of like how local brewery Crooked Can made a unique draft for Morimoto Asia at Disney Springs. It’s a straightforward, unfiltered wheat beer with a small floral hint. Very drinkable, and we believe this is the only spot to actually get this beer.

Location of the China Marketplace at the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival

The China Marketplace is conveniently located directly across from the China Pavilion on World Showcase Promenade, at number 6 on the map below.

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Do you have a favorite item from the China marketplace? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

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Anonymous
Anonymous
3 months ago

I just recently discovered your website, and I want to say that I really appreciate the honesty of your stories and food reviews. I love WDW, but I know not everything there is worth! an! exclamation! point! like some other Disney food sites. So thanks for your thoughtful posts.