We wind down our Holiday Kitchen reviews from the 2019 Epcot International Festival of the Holidays with a stop in Japan for the Shi Wasu booth. In this review, we’ll share photos of every snack and dessert item on the menu, and offer our food reviews & tasting notes.
I don’t purport to be an expert on holiday traditions in other cultures. I do love hearing about European and Norse folklore and mythology pertaining to winter holidays, but that’s mainly because they offer rich and interesting anecdotes. However, we’ve actually spent a lot of time in Japan during November and December, and I was puzzled by the name “Shi Wasu,” as it’s neither a place nor holiday of which I’ve heard.
It turns out that, unless I’m missing something, shi-wasu is an antiquated term for December on the Japanese calendar. I guess it’s a fun deep-cut, and probably chosen as there aren’t really any major traditional holidays prior to New Year’s Eve. Our experience with Christmas in Japan mostly involves the kawaii elements of the holiday imported from the United States.
Beyond that, couples go on dates on evenings leading up to Christmas (this is popular at Tokyo DisneySea–every day is a veritable dapper day!) and people ordering elaborate cakes from 7-11 (Tokyo Disneyland also sells these cakes) and fried chicken. New Year is the bigger ‘traditional’ winter holiday in Japan.
Here’s what’s on the food menu at the Shi Wasu Holiday Kitchen:
New Year Celebration Soba: Buckwheat Soba Noodles in Hot Dashi Soup with Chicken and Spinach
Holiday Green Tea “Yule Log”: Delicate Spongecake rolled with Whipped Cream Filling
Now our photos and reviews of each item…
New Year Celebration Soba – Toshikoshi Soba is a customary New Year’s Eve dish, so this is an interesting dish from that perspective, but the noodles are a disappointment and the chicken was dry and flavorless.
The dashi broth is fine, but ultimately this ends up tasting more like an elaborate miso soup with other stuff added more so than a hearty bowl of soba.
Holiday Green Tea Yule Log – Green tea is certainly all the rage right now, but this is light on flavor and a bit too airy. It’s not terrible, but there’s really nothing to it.
Here’s the drink menu for Japan’s Shi Wasu Holiday Kitchen:
Ichigo Milk Boba: Popping Strawberry Boba Cream Drink with Japanese Calpico (non-alcoholic)
Sapporo Draft Beer
Cinnamon Apple Cider: Plum Wine, Orange Juice with Lemonade and Apples
Overall, Japan is a real disappointment, which isn’t helped by the fact that it only has two substantive items, neither of which we can recommend (even with reservations). Mexico certainly gives it a run for its money in terms of which booth is the worst–and the individual savory dishes there are not as good as the soba here–but in the end, at least we recommended one thing from Mexico. Maybe next year, Walt Disney World will do a partnership with 7-11 or KFC so we can get some traditional holiday fried chicken here! 😉
What do you think of the Japan Holiday Kitchen? Have you tried any of the food items at this booth? What did you think of them? Do you agree that Japan is a disappointment, or did you enjoy what you ordered? 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!