Hawaii Review: 2018 Epcot Food & Wine Festival

Hawaii’s booth at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is one of the first or last Global Marketplaces you’ll encounter, thanks to its prominent location. It should probably be among the first, as this is once again one of the absolute best options at the 2018 event.

Since its introduction, the Hawaii booth has been home to one of the best snacks in all of Walt Disney World: the Kalua Pork Slider. This delicious item also contributes to the obsession with all things Dole among Disney fans, but rather than being topped with pineapple soft serve, this features a nice chutney. (Although perhaps one of the test chefs should pioneer a Dole Whip Slider!)

You’ll want to save your Disney Dining Plan snack credits or money for this booth, as Hawaii features four different food items–almost all of which offer reasonably good value for money, which is becoming increasingly rare among Epcot Food & Wine Festival booths. Let’s take a look at what’s on the menu, and what’s worth buying…

First, here’s a look at the Hawaii Global Marketplace menu:

  • Kalua Pork Slider with Sweet and Sour DOLE® Pineapple Chutney and Spicy Mayonnaise (KA)
  • Grilled Tuna Tataki with Seaweed Salad, Pickled Cucumbers and Wasabi Cream
  • Teriyaki-glazed SPAM® Hash with Potatoes, Peppers, Onions and Spicy Mayonnaise
  • Passion Fruit Cheesecake with Toasted Macadamia Nuts (V)

Now our photos and reviews of each item…

Kalua Pork Slider – If you’ve been to Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival in the past several years–or even read coverage of the event–you’ve tried or heard of this. It’s a fan favorite, and for good reason.

Despite the relatively small roll, this sandwich comes with a heaping helping of moist pork, topped with pineapple chutney and a liberal coating of spicy mayonnaise. The mild zest of the sauce mixes perfectly with the pineapple, and the meat is always perfectly flavored. This is a can’t miss.

Grilled Tuna Tataki – Replacing the poke a couple years ago, I’m a fan of this seared tuna. Yes, it’s a relatively small portion for the price, but it’s a unique preparation as to what you’ll find elsewhere around Walt Disney World, and it “feels” somewhat ambitious.

Grilling the fish just a bit changes its flavor profile, and the wasabi cream gives it a nice kick. It’s certainly not the standout in a booth of all-stars, but it’s good enough for me to recommend.

Teriyaki-glazed SPAM Hash – I love this. It’s everything a dish at Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival should be: inventive, unexpected, authentic, and delicious. I know using SPAM has been a trendy thing for a couple of years now, and it’s nice to see Walt Disney World getting in on the act.

The hash is good because it is well-prepared, with a nice crispiness and teriyaki glaze that adds a light sweetness to the flavor of the SPAM. The spicy mayo plays nicely with this, and the end result is an excellent, complex dish. It’s fun, delicious, and a good value for the money–definitely get this.

Passion Fruit Cheesecake – There are a few similar desserts like this at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, so we don’t blame you if you want to skip this. That’d be understandable, as the passion fruit flavor is understated and you might’ve already filled up on sweets by this point in your grazing around World Showcase.

However, the macadamia nuts provide a nice texture, and there is enough fruit flavor to give this a sense of the tropics. We like it enough to order one every year. (In other words…you might as well order the entire menu in Hawaii, because the Passion Fruit Cheesecake is good enough to justify that move!)

Of course, there’s alcohol on the menu, with a couple of beers and another Dole-infused concoction:

  • Maui Brewing Company Bikini Blonde Lager
  • Florida Orange Groves Sparkling Pineapple Wine, St. Petersburg, FL
  • Mai Tai with Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum and DOLE Pineapple Juice

Overall, the Hawaii Global Marketplace is one of the strongest booths at the 2018 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. This booth has been solid for years, but we think it has come into its own in the last few years, and with four items that are all strong. It’s really impressive that a single state is up there with culinary powerhouses like the country of France as one of the best booths of the fest, but that’s exactly the case with the Hawaii Global Marketplace!

Check out our Epcot Food & Wine Festival Booth Menus post if you want to see and read more about every menu this year. You’ll also want to read our full Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival Guide before you go to get an idea of what to do, strategy for the festival (yes, you will need a strategy), 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!

YOUR THOUGHTS

What do you think of the Hawaii Global Marketplace? Have you tried any of the four food items at this booth? What did you think of them? What do you think of this booth–or the idea that a single state can hang with culinary powerhouses like France in producing some of the best items of the event? 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!


7 Responses to “Hawaii Review: 2018 Epcot Food & Wine Festival”
  1. Leigh September 21, 2018
  2. Anne September 14, 2018
    • Nick Andrews September 15, 2018
  3. Leigh September 4, 2018
  4. Angela September 3, 2018
  5. Cristine Kedzie September 3, 2018
  6. nick Andrews September 3, 2018

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