06 June 2012

Served in a boat

If you want a bite of the globe, chances are that you are venturing into World Showcase at Epcot. However, there is a variety of appealing morsels from Africa and Asia that can be found at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Once such small plate, introduced last year, is the Chilled Summer Roll.

The Chilled Summer Roll can be found in one of the small stands that line the path between Asia and Africa near the dock turned seating area. The roll is filled with cellophane noodles, water chestnut, carrot, cucumber, cabbage, cilantro, mint, and sweet basil in a tandoori marinade. It is then wrapped in rice paper and served alongside a sweet chili sauce.

The rice paper can be a bit sticky, making it tricky to remove it from the paper in the cardboard boat it comes in or your fingers once it has latched on. The other thorny bit of this dish is how to best use the sauce. Some could do without it this deceivingly sweet, yet will cause you to cough with its heat condiment, while others prefer to pour it on as they eat, or dip the roll into the sauce after each bite. I’m in the dipping camp. For me, a gentle dip gives the next bite an even coating and I don’t run the risk of getting too much or too little in a section of the roll.

As for the veggies and noodles, this combination, along with the aforementioned sticky rice paper, creates and unique texture sensation. It isn’t an everyday pairing here in this country, but the crisp crunch of the vegetables and the chewy noodles and paper is commonplace throughout the world. Otherwise, the flavors are fresh and light, perfect for a quick bite, while you are relaxing near the water, during these hot summer months.

It may seem as if you have to be adventurous in your eating habits to enjoy this dish, but really it is just a different packaging for things we eat every day. Some fresh veggies and noodles, with a kick of heat from a well composed sauce, should be enough to brighten any day. I recommend that you go ahead and try the Chilled Summer Roll, it may be a bit out of the ordinary, but isn’t trying something new one of the hallmarks of a good vacation?

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