Our stop next at the 2019 Epcot International Festival of the Arts is China’s Painted Panda. This Walt Disney World dining review features real world photos of every food and dessert on the menu, a look at the popular Panda Bubble Tea, plus our thoughts on each dish.
We had high expectations for the Painted Panda Food Studio. As we’ve noted before, we feel Walt Disney World’s offerings in the China pavilion unfairly maligned. Lotus Blossom is universally reviled, but better than its reviews suggest. Despite being a running joke among fans, Nine Dragons is both good and a good value. Joy of Tea has a combo meal that’s tasty and is one of Epcot’s best-kept secrets.
On the heels of an uneven showing from the Shanghai Kitchen at the Epcot International Festival of Holidays, we were hoping for a strong outing from the China booth this time. Sadly, that’s not the way the fortune cookie crumbled with Painted Panda…
Before we get to the substance of the food reviews, here’s what’s on the menu at China’s Painted Panda Food Studio:
- Crystal Mooncake with Fruit Filling and garnished with Toasted Coconut
- Dragon and Phoenix: Spicy Sautéed Shrimp with Spinach Noodles
- Plum Infused Cherry Tomatoes
Now let’s take a look at our photos and reviews of each food item at China’s Painted Panda Food Studio…
First up is the Crystal Mooncake with Fruit Filling.
The enigmatic Crystal Mooncake holds many secrets, namely, why does this exist and what is it supposed to taste like? I guess you could say it’s in the mochi family, but that family might want to think about disowning the Crystal Mooncake.
At $10, this is approximately $15 overpriced. If someone gives you this for free, it’s a sign they dislike you. Charging money for it is borderline criminal.
Next up is the Dragon and Phoenix: Spicy Sautéed Shrimp with Spinach Noodles.
These noodles are available as a side in Nine Dragons in a significantly more sizable portion. They’re delicious, as are the slightly spicy shrimp. However, none of this even approaches over $10 in value. I’d be hard-pressed to recommend this at $7, and even though it’s an “objectively” good use of a Disney Dining Plan snack credit, keep in mind that it’s (subjectively) about a $5-6 snack.
Finally, the Plum Infused Cherry Tomatoes.
When you see a dish like this, you form a mental impression of how it’ll taste. For some reason, mine was maraschino cherries. I have literally no idea why as that makes zero sense, but they definitely did not taste like maraschino cherries.
Opinions of these varied pretty widely among our group; I ended up liking them quite a bit, which was not the consensus. Your mileage may vary. Irrespective of taste, this is at least a few dollars overpriced.
Finally, there’s the sugar art, which has limited availability and a $15 price point.
You’ll notice this is not on either the text menu or photo of the menu above, and that’s because it’s only available, I kid you not, when the sugar artist finds inspiration. “Fortunately” it seems like said artist has found plenty of inspiration of late, because Cast Members were waving around these (admittedly cool) creations trying to find patrons both days we walked past this booth. It’s definitely a neat thing to stop and take a photo of, but it’s tough to justify that price (we couldn’t).
Here are your options in terms of drinks at the Painted Panda Food Studio:
- “Panda” Bubble Tea: Classic Milk Tea with Black and White Boba Pearls (non-alcoholic)
- Jasmine Draft Beer
- Fortune Cookie: ByeJoe Spirit, Amaretto, Coconut and Pineapple
- Kung Fu Punch: Vodka, Triple Sec
- Tomato Plum Cocktail: Plum Wine with Plum Infused Tomatoes
Overall, the Painted Panda Food Studio at the 2019 Epcot International Festival of the Arts is probably the worst showing we’ve seen from the China pavilion at any Epcot festival in years. This booth is often hit or miss, but the combination of price points, portion sizes, and food quality leaves a lot to be desired. You can never go wrong stopping here for a Panda Bubble Tea, and the shrimp aren’t a terrible use of a Disney Dining Plan snack credit, but otherwise, you should probably keep on walking when you get to Painted Panda. It’s not worth your time, money, stomach space, etc.
Check out our Food Guide to the Epcot International Festival of the Arts if you want to see and read more about every Food Studio this year, what to eat & avoid, and other tips for making the most of the culinary side of the event. As this event isn’t just about the cuisine, you’ll also want to read our full Epcot International Festival of the Arts Tips & Tricks post for info about the non-culinary side of the festivities. That covers the Disney on Broadway concert series, visual arts, performing arts, participatory arts, and much more!
Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
What do you think of the Painted Panda Food Studio? Have you tried any of the food items at the China booth? What did you think of them? Do you agree that China’s Painted Panda Food Studio ranks as one of the worst overall booths at the 2019 Epcot International Festival of the Arts? Questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback—even when you disagree with us—is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!