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Review: Anandapur Local Food Cafes (Yak and Yeti Counter Service) in Animal Kingdom

I haven’t written about this one in a long time, and I was excited to go back. Anandapur Local Food Cafes in Disney World’s Animal Kingdom — also known as the “Yak and Yeti Counter Service” by many folks — has the most interesting counter-service options you’ll find at Animal Kingdom. (I didn’t say “best,” I said “most interesting.”)

This restaurant is tucked waaaaay back into Asia — pretty much as far back from the entrance to Animal Kingdom as you can get without being at Rafiki’s Planet Watch — and is a great stop if you’ve just toured the Maharaja’s palace on Maharaja Jungle Trek or gotten doused on Kali River Rapids. It’s also just a short walk from Expedition Everest.

Anandapur Local Food Cafes

Atmosphere

This all-outdoor eatery offers fantastic themeing and decent food. You’ll order at registers lined up over an overhang; but while you’re waiting, be sure to take in some of the “props” used by Imagineers to make you feel like you’re in an Indian market.

Props Outside the Restaurant

Ordering Area

Cooking pots line shelves above the food windows

Once you have your food, it’s time to head over to the seating areas. Several outdoor tables are arranged in a courtyard book-ended by marketplace shops (selling not-at-all exotic things like flip flops, dresses, towels, socks, and other sundries that may be needed by folks who’ve just emerged sopping wet from Kali River Rapids) and punctuated by a lovely fountain.

Seating Alley

Seating Area With Water Feature

Some tables are actually under covers and some are shaded by trees or umbrellas.

Seating Area

Seating Area

As you can see, this is not a place to be when it’s 1.) Crowded, 2.) Excessively Hot, or 3.) Raining. But if you’ve successfully avoided those three things (a feat in central Florida, and Disney World particularly), then we can recommend swinging by for a bite.

Seating Area

Be sure to look around the courtyard to see the themed advertisements on the walls.

Eats

Ordering might be difficult for picky eaters, but even though this can be considered “ethnic” food, it’s definitely not all that exotic.

Anandapur Local Food Cafes Menu -- click for larger image

Once you have your food, it’s off to the wheel-o-condiments, of which there are many. Choose from duck sauce, hot sauce, Chinese mustard, soy sauce, other kind of soy sauce (low-sodium?), mayonnaise, ketchup, regular mustard, etc., etc. OK, it’s not actually a wheel. But they are definitely condiments.

Condiments

I found a table in the sweltering July heat (I know, I know, I don’t even take my own advice) and dove in.

On our past visit, we tried the Honey Chicken, Pork Egg Rolls, and Chicken Fried Rice. You can read that Yak and Yeti Counter Service review here.

We went for different options this time, and got the Sweet and Sour Chicken and the Asian Chicken Sandwich, served with Sun Chips.

The Sweet and Sour Chicken looked a lot like the Honey Chicken to my untrained eye — just a little bit orange-er. In the fun little “take-out” boxes, the chicken dishes are served with rice and veggies/fruit on the bottom and fried chicken bits on the top, all covered in sauce. You’ll need to mix well if you plan to get a little bit of everything in each bite, which can be hard to do since the food is packed pretty densely.

Chicken Take Out Container

Sweet and Sour Chicken

While this dish wasn’t anything to write home about, I did enjoy it. The textures were good, and the sweet and sour flavors were as expected. I liked the abundance of fruit and veggies buried beneath the chicken.

Pineapple and Peppers in Sweet and Sour Chicken

But I did have to dig a bit to get to that rice!

Rice in Sweet and Sour Chicken

The Asian Chicken Sandwich was pretty disappointing, though, I have to say. First of all, it’s boring to look at. After the fun take-out packaging of the other menu options, this is kind of a dud.

Asian Chicken Sandwich and Sun Chips Packaging

And I’m not sure how this sandwich is actually Asian. It has lettuce, tomatoes, onions, deli sliced chicken, and a mayonnaise-y sauce. That’s…pretty much it. While it wasn’t a bad sandwich, it was a boring sandwich.

Definitely go for one of the other options like the chicken or beef dishes if you’d like a bit more pizzazz with your trip to Asia.

Asian Chicken Sandwich close up

Asian Chicken Sandwich open face. Ho hum.

Speaking of pizzazz, one of the things I love about this spot is that it has it’s own drinks window — and I’m not talking soda-pop, my friends.

Quality Beverages Window

These drinks are “high-octane” as they say in Cars Land.

Quality Beverages Menu -- click for larger image

Once again, I bypassed this window because I needed to stay awake for a few more hours, but I’ll show you the Yak Attack, which you can still get here.

This features mango daiquiri, bacardi light rum, and wildberry. The most shocking part? The price has stayed the same for the past 2 years. A miracle.

Yak Attack Drink -- thanks to Shayne Newell for the pic!

Overall

While my loyalties lie with Restaurantosaurus and Flametree Barbecue in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, this place is no slouch. For more interesting food and fun themeing, Yak-and-Yeti-Counter-Service-Anandapur-Local-Food-Cafes is definitely a fine option.

And while you can now get some decent frozen margaritas between here and the Dawa Bar, that’s no reason to skip out on a Yak Attack, right?

I’d love to hear your reviews and opinions of Yak and Yeti Counter Service! Let us know in the comments below!

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19 Comments

  1. Christina says:

    We ate there a couple of times on earlier trips, and liked it. However, about 2-3 years ago, they removed the Shrimp Lo Mein from the menu, and took away the fried rice/egg roll kid’s meal. At that point, it lost it’s appeal, and we haven’t eaten there since.

  2. Claire says:

    Yep, I totally agree. Not stunning, but a good meal if you’re in that area of the park and tired of hamburgers and pizza. I believe I had the Beef Lo Mein because I remember all the noodles in that cute little take out box. It was good, not spectacular but tasty. Although that said, I think we all get a bit jaded about Disney’s food. You get used to it being really good and its not until you venture outside of WDW and into some other park that you realize how great a job Disney does with even their counter service options.
    And although we weren’t there in the heat of the summer, we found a nicer place to eat. Heading back towards Africa we found a kind of hidden area of tables overlooking the water, surrounded by the lush trees. It was quite a nice setting, quieter and shaded, and not that far away.

  3. Alan says:

    In what is probably the least visited of the theme parks, in an area that is as far away from the main gate as you can get, lies one of the most tranquil and beautifully themed areas in all of WDW. Before Everest was added it was a dead end with no real attraction except it’s beauty. I love just sitting there, maybe with a Safari Amber and some fries as a snack, and just enjoying the freedom of a vacation in a great setting. The problem I have with the rest of the menu is that it is basically the same sort of food I can get at a mall food court. I guess the thing is I want to eat the things and at the places I can’t find at home. I can’t get the atmosphere but I can get that level of food.

  4. Cindi says:

    The Yak Attack is simply delicious, but oh so powerful, so beware. In my case it’s better off shared between 2 people. Oh, but it is delicious and frosty on a hot summer day.

  5. Christa M. says:

    This is one of our favorite CS places in WDW. We have tried Flame Tree, but weren’t crazy about it (shocking, right?), so this is our “go-to” at AK. I love the Honey Chicken.

  6. Heather says:

    We ate here a few years ago and did not enjoy our meals. I agree with Alan. It reminded me of a mall food court meal.

  7. Corrie says:

    I like Yak and Yeti, they custom make vegitarian dishes upon request and I find it way better than the standard veggie burger served at other locations in Animal Kingdom.

  8. Courtney says:

    @Corrie – I wrote this off as another AK location with NO veggie options. What have they made up for you, upon request?

  9. kathy says:

    We came accross this hidden gem and loved it! Plenty of food to share with the kids. we only needed two counter service meals to fill us all up! Kids loved the sweet and sour chicken and we loved sitting outside!

  10. WDW-less in Seattle says:

    I can’t believe you’ve been here twice and haven’t tried the Beef Lo Mein. We travel every year or two to the Disney parks on your coast, and this is one of our very favorites for counter food in all WDW! It is THE thing I will be going back for at AK the next time we’re there (and adding a Yak Attack to it)! It’s not over the top culinary, but it is really good flavor and something totally different compared to all the burgers, fries, bbq chicken and pizza that abound throughout the parks. The meat was flavorful and pretty tender and the noodles were a great consistency, with good portions and just the right amount of sauce. I would totally repeat this dish back to back days at AK. Go back, go back… And seek out the Yak & Yeti once again!

  11. Sandra says:

    We have given this place a try three times, and been disappointed all three. The chicken in the sweet and sour and honey chicken are both closer to fried mystery meat than chicken. The rice was a bland mess, and the sauce way too sweet. The eggs rolls were pretty nice, I thought, and my husband was quite taken with the Yak Attack. I would suggest using this place as an afternoon break stop, with a snack and a FAB for grownups, and a frozen lemonade for the kids. Sit in the back near the fountain for a more restful experience. Or try the tea stand across the way, for lovely teas hot and cold, coffee drinks, and snacks. Then lean on the fence and enjoy the little black and white apes and the view of Everest.

    Although normally we wouldn’t bother with Chinese food at WDW because we have such excellent choices available at home, we tried this for our son, who loves Chinese fried chicken bites in sticky sweet sauce. We much preferred the orange chicken at the Lotus Blossom Cafe in Epcot; more flavorful chicken, less breading, nicer sauce. They also have a good basic veggie dish (though not vegetarian) and red bean ice cream.

  12. Dave A. says:

    I guess I’m going to go along with everyone else: The food id good, and hot (physically), but not spectacular. It is take out! We’ve had the Honey Chicken, the Sweet and Sour Chicken, the Beef Lo Mein (my favorite), and the Chicken Salad. All were good, and yes the rice is a pain to get at. All we’ve had to drink is soda and I’ve had several of the Safari’s (nice and cold).
    Not a bad place for a quick lunch, especially if you can get a shady table.

  13. Cindy Kay says:

    My favorite counter service meal is at Yak and Yeti… chicken fried rice and only $3.99!!! Most people around me were eating the beef lo mein and all saying how good it was. Look forward to eating there again.

  14. Iris says:

    @Courtney – I found this article on DFB: http://www.disneyfoodblog.com/2011/01/20/a-vegetarian-in-disney-tips-from-an-expert/ where a Disney World Moms Panelist gives some great tips on getting vegetarian options at Disney (even if they are no on the menu). Specifically, Yak and Yeti is mentioned as having a great meal.

    This will definitely be on our list when we are in AK in less than 20 days!

  15. Chrissy says:

    We ate here a couple of years ago during one of our trips because we couldn’t get into the proper Yak & Yeti for the day we were going to be at DAK. Both of us had the sweet and sour chicken, and we found it boring and not at all impressive. We even made the comment that the Panda Express or other Asian restaurants in our local mall was better quality than here. The lesson? Stick to tried and true favorites for counter service, unless you’re at the World Showcase at EPCOT.

  16. Corrie says:

    @courtney They offered us a few choices, I think that they just take the current sauces and do stir fry with them. I had the sweet and sour stir fried veggies and it was yummy!!! We are planning on eating there again in December

  17. Asuka says:

    Green soy sauce packets are typically low sodium and red are regular. :)

  18. Joey B. says:

    One other thing that works well at Yak and Yeti is sharing! I love Flame Tree but it can almost be too much food sometimes if you have an earlier dinner ADR. The take out containers make it easy to pass the food back and forth. I have only tried the Honey and Sweet and Sour Chickens, but every time they have been good quality. So, while it may not be the best place in AK for counter service, I agree it is a nice change of pace and it definitely is not bad.

  19. Nicola says:

    The chicken fried rice was amazing and can be used as a snack option on the Disney Dining Plan

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