Happy New Year, everyone! I had the pleasure of spending the holidays in WDW and got the chance to try some new restaurants that I have never experienced before. One of my favorites from my trip was a dinner at Nine Dragons in the China pavilion in Epcot®. I have recently become a diehard Asian food fan, so I was excited for the opportunity to dine in China.
Though my party was fairly early for our dinner reservation, we were seated promptly after checking-in and were quickly greeted by our friendly waiter. My group was eating on the Candlelight Processional Dinner Package, so we were all required to pick drinks, an appetizer, an entree and a dessert for the evening. Extremely hungry after a day in the parks, I certainly wasn’t complaining about the amount of food I was about to be “forced” to eat. Appetizer choices ranged around the table, including items like Spicy Beef, Chicken Consommé with Pork Dumplings, and Pot Stickers. I had the pleasure of having both the Chicken Consommé and the Pot Stickers. The Pot Stickers were a perfect medium between pan fried and steamed dumplings and were served with a cilantro soy dipping sauce. The Chicken Consommé was also delicious with a traditional chicken broth and tasty pork dumplings. Both were perfect starters to our meal.
Next was on to the entrees. I ordered the Honey Sesame Chicken with Steamed Rice, while the men at the table chose the Steak and Shrimp Combination Platter. My Honey Sesame Chicken was one of the best Asian chicken plates I have had in a while. The chicken was gently breaded, covered in a sweet, flavorful sauce. The steak and shrimp combination also got two votes of approval from the taste testers.
Last but not least: dessert. I have to admit that I am not the bravest when it comes to trying new desserts. I went with an order of a simple dish of vanilla bean. However, I did try Nine Dragons’ Ginger and Red Bean Ice Creams that were at the table. I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed both of them.
The atmosphere of Nine Dragons fully immerses you in Chinese culture and provides a quiet dining environment for families. It is a great place to try if you are in Epcot® for the day!
This week’s recipe is for the Nine Dragons Honey Sesame Chicken! Recipe courtesy of http://allears.net/din/rec_hsc.htm.
Yield – 4 servings
10 to 12 ounces chicken breasts, cut into cubes
1 tsp chicken base (not bouillon; base is a pastelike mixture available in gourmet or larger supermarkets) Dash of white pepper Salt to taste Sugar to taste ½ tsp cooking wine ½ tsp sesame oil
Toasted white sesame seeds Chopped green onions
¾ cup all-purpose flour ¼ cup cornstarch 1 heaping tsp baking powder ½ of a beaten egg 2 tbsp oil 2/3 cup water Pinch of salt
1/8 cup, plus 1 tbsp honey ¼ cup sugar 1/8 cup ketchup 1 tbsp white vinegar
1. Combine marinade ingredients and let cubed chicken soak in liquid for 30 minutes. 2. Combine batter ingredients. Set aside. 3. Combine sauce ingredients. Set aside. 4. Heat cooking oil for frying, about 320º F. Using tongs, dip marinated chicken into batter and deep fry. 5. Heat honey sauce in a large wok. Turn off heat. Add chicken pieces and toss to coat. Place chicken in green onions and sesame seeds.
(Pictures taken from author’s personal collection)
Kristin Casagrand is a student currently studying physical therapy at Bellarmine University. Born and raised in Pennsylvania, Kristin has taken many a family vacations as a child driving 24 hrs, cramped in the back of the car and fighting with her sister to get to Disney (definitely worth it though). She looks forward to sharing “A taste of Disney” with everyone each week.