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Quick Bites: Pot Stickers and Pork Buns in Epcot’s China Pavilion

We’re back in the World Showcase of Epcot today with a peek at a few snacks from The Lotus Blossom Cafe and the Joy of Tea!

Atmosphere

To be honest, I often overlook the Lotus Blossom Cafe — the China Pavilion’s counter service spot — just because there are usually better options for my particular palate elsewhere. But the Joy of Tea, that adorable little stand with some of the best drinks in World Showcase, gets more love from me.

And if nothing’s going to cut it for you except Chinese food while you’re powering through the World Showcase, then it’s time to stop at these spots!

Lotus Blossom Cafe

Located just past the entrance of the Nine Dragons Restaurant in the China Pavilion, Lotus Blossom boasts modern decor and indoor/outdoor seating.

Eats
Here’s an idea of what you’ll find for a quick bite to eat at Lotus Blossom. As you can see, the menu includes pretty standard fare like Egg Rolls and Sweet and Sour Chicken.

Lotus Blossom Cafe Menu - Click to Enlarge

Since I’ve recently been going through a pot sticker phase, I wanted to try them here.

Pot Stickers - Lotus Blossom Cafe

I’m no Chinese food expert, but they were not great — basically tasteless and gummy, and I’m pretty sure that’s all wrong. I was also kind of shocked at how little sauce I received with the order.

Pot Stickers - Cross Section

I was surprised by this, as Lotus Blossom is generally pretty well-liked among guests. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Joy of Tea

If you want an even faster nosh and something you can eat-while-walking, the Joy of Tea kiosk has some nice dim sum options, like these snazzy Pork Buns. Don’t they look delish? These are just as good as the curry chicken pockets here at Joy of Tea, and well worth a try.

Pork Buns - The Joy of Tea

The soft, rich bread gives way to a delicious pork barbecue filling. The flavors are a good balance of sweet and sour and there’s a good ratio of filling to bread here. Definitely a thumbs up.

Pork Buns - Cross Section

Overall

This is a pretty easy conclusion: I’ve definitely got some more research to do at Lotus Blossom Cafe. I really didn’t have a great experience there, so I’m eager to try some of the other menu options to see what I enjoy more.

Until then, I’m gonna stick with snacks from Joy of Tea like those pork buns or the yummy curry chicken pockets. And if it’s a drink you’re after, take a look at our recent Tipsy Ducks in Love review!

As always, if snacking your way through Epcot is a favorite pastime of yours, check out our Disney Food Blog Mini-Guide to Epcot Snacks!

What’s your favorite snack or drink in China? Leave us a comment below and let us know!

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20 Comments

  1. mealtrip says:

    What!!! Pork Buns??? Heck yeah… I didn’t even know about those! Now I’m just a bit sad Canada is so far away, because I’m thinking a couple of those puppies with some Cheddar Cheese Soup as my very own cross-continental, totally wrong, Elvis inspired, faux Au Jus dippen’ sauce would be awesome!!!

    But yes, sadly, the poor Pot Stickers… tasteless and gummy is about how they’ve been any time that I’ve ordered them there. I can’t really figure out why… perhaps there’s an evil freezer involved somewhere along the line? I don’t know… I’m just an eater, not a maker.

  2. Jill D says:

    I have always liked The Lotus Blossom as an alternative to the Red Dragon. It is primarily the same food. Not to mention that it is the cleanest and best maintained counter service restaurant I have visited. Is the food fabulous? No, but it is a nice change from the ordinary counter service food you might get used to eating.

  3. Patty says:

    Lotus Blossom has my most favorite salad in EPCOT! The Sesame Chicken salad is amazing, it even has edemame!

  4. Alan says:

    The great thing about Chinese food is that it is almost always made fresh when you order it. We’ve all stood in takeout places with open kitchens and watched our food made in front of us. I think part of the problem at Disney is the high volume service. I would guess most of the items are pre or semi-cooked, which is part of the problem. The other part is something we’ve discussed before; the need at most ethnic counter eateries at WDW to appeal to as many folks as they can. If they served dishes that are so esoteric that only foodies and DFB readers will try them there would be no volume. That said, I find some of the newer places like the tea counter and Cava and Tutto Gusto to be very exciting.

  5. Mark D. says:

    Love me some Joy of Tea. Lucky Combo!

  6. Janna says:

    Hmmm…I’ve always enjoyed the potstickers here. As for sauce, I usually have way too much – as in it spills out and soaks my potstickers! ;)

    Anyhoo, I’m not Chinese food expert either but I can say that I’ve had worse.

    Now I need to try the pork buns!

  7. Sherri Erwin says:

    I’ve never had a good meal at Lotus Blossom, actually. It’s like shopping mall chinese food, soggy when it should be crisp, greasy, and lacking in flavor. Not like my neighborhood takeout, which is not the best but decent. I avoid Lotus Blossom. There’s so much better to be had in WS, but of course it’s a matter of taste. Though, Patty does make a good case for the sesame chicken salad and I might give that one a shot.

  8. Alex says:

    I’m going to WDW in 2 days and those pork buns totally have my mouth watering right now! Love stopping at Joy of Tea for a drink, but I never even noticed they had food there!

  9. Sandra says:

    We’ve eaten at Lotus Blossom Cafe because our son wanted something non-burger, non-chicken strips. He’s a big sweet and sour chicken fan, but being an adult, he had to settle for the orange chicken. It was quite good, actually. Compared to the CS at Yak & Yeti in AK, it was gourmet. Light sauce, real chicken, hot rice. I ordered the veggie stir fry and found it very good also. Note that it is made with chicken broth, so strict vegetarians should give it a pass. I agree that it is closer to mall food than a regular Chinese restaurant, but on a cold day, with nice hot tea, it was a good meal for us.

    As for the potstickers, most of them have struck me as gummy and low on taste no matter where I have ordered them. If you have a good local Chinese dim sum place, that’s where to get them. Otherwise, you are very likely getting the same type that come in big bags frozen at Costco or the neighborhood Asian food mart.

  10. Shayne says:

    Pork bao at Joy of Tea?!? Duly noted.

    Just curious if you’ve tried the steamed pork buns in the dim sum basket at Yak & Yeti and, if so, how these pork buns compare to those? The ones at Yak & Yeti look like the ones I remember from my childhood, while the Joy of Tea ones look more like biscuits on the outside. But the pork filling looks pretty authentic.

  11. AJ says:

    mealtrip — Yes indeedy!! Pork buns! And good ‘uns too!

    Jill D — Great points! And they’re always friendly there, too. :-)

    Patty — Ooh, great tip!!

    Alan — Agreed. I had a wonderful meal at Tutto Gusto recently that I can’t wait to write up! Not as good as Territory Lounge, but almost!

    Mark D. — For sure!!

    Janna — I’m going with you next time and stealing your sauce.

    Sherri Erwin — Thanks for your feedback!

    Alex — They do! And it’s yummy. Looking forward to hearing your take on it.

    Sandra — There’s nothing better than a cozy meal on a cool day in WDW! Great story!

    Shayne — I’ve had the steamed pork buns at Y&Y, but it was a couple of years ago now (really need to get back there — it’s been a while since your’s and my reviews). The Joy of Tea ones really are like shiny dinner rolls with pork inside, less doughy than the Y&Y ones. Both are good, just different.

  12. Manda says:

    My husband and I ate there in July for the first time. Will probably never do so again. Horrible! I had the veggie stir fry and he had the shrimp fried rice. I took 4 bites of mine and stopped. The veggies were waaaay overcooked, the sauce was not that appealing, and the rice was sticky and gummy. He ate half of his and stopped. I would much rather spend my quick service time in Mexico, Germany, or Morocco.

  13. Gumbo says:

    Hmmm. I love baked pork buns, but I have to say that the one time I tried them from the Joy of Tea stand I took 2 small bites and threw the entire batch in the trash (they were that bad – may be the only time I have ever tossed a pork bun in my life). The bun was dry, almost toasted, and I could not detect the sweetness I love about pork bun dough – and the texture was weird as well, too crumbly or something. I seem to recall that the filling was strange as well (though my memory fails me as to the exact details on the filling). Perhaps I just caught them on a bad day? Perhaps they are using a better supplier now? Maybe I will try again when I’m next at Epcot…

  14. Aurora says:

    I ADORE Joy of Tea as I have stated many times. The Peach Snap is my go to beverage at all times. It is the best. You also can NOT go wrong with the Curry pockets! I am not a huge fan of BBQ so the buns arent my flavor but I can easily make a meal out of the curry pockets! Totally a favorite!!

  15. Galloping Gourmand says:

    Yes, the pot stickers sit around for way too long. I think the gummyness comes from them boiling too many for too long in too little water. The starch that comes out of the pasta attaches to the outside of the pot stickers giving them a gummy texture.

    Lotus Blossom is not bad, but I don’t recall anyone calling it well regarded except in comparison to Nine Dragons. The veggie stir fry is pretty decent, but my big weakness is the sesame chicken. It’s one of those dishes that I can’t objectively call good yet for some reason I really enjoy while eating it.

  16. Mark D. says:

    @Gumbo – I had them once like that and once when they were good. The first time I had them they seemed like they were super stale. I gave them another chance and they were pretty good. Not like real bao, but still good.

  17. notchris says:

    @Galloping – Pot stickers aren’t supposed to be boiled, at least now how I’ve seen them prepared, which was a combination of pan-frying and steaming.

  18. Molly says:

    I’ll eat any Chinese food anywhere, I’m not that picky – I really love the stuff. It takes a LOT to make me turn up my nose at a plate of anything halfway Asian-influenced. So when I say I’m disappointed by a meal it’s got to be REALLY bad.

    I had the Orange Chicken at Lotus Blossum and it was just…gross. The sauce was gelatinous and seemed to only make the chicken soggy (if a gel can produce sog?) The chicken wasn’t crispy, it was just floppy. The rice was clumpy, too. You get a lot of food for your Quick Service buck, but after eating about half of it I finally just tossed it and regretted not going to another country. Boo.

  19. Gwen says:

    SO SAD! I need to work there and fix their menu :P

    I would offer steamed buns instead of those baked buns with moist pieces of fatty pork inside (you need the energy to walk in Showcase!) and it looks like those are definitely frozen mass-packaged potstickers. They should offer siu mai instead. OK I’m not sad anymore, this makes me mad because of the misrepresentation of my culture!!!

  20. neil says:

    My wife can not go to Epcot with out stopping for the Ginger Ice Cream. This is a rare treat, great flavor.

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