Broth, protein, veggies, noodles, and some heat. That’s all any explorer, guide, skipper, social director, or dance instructor can ask for in a meal, right? At the Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen, they offer up a choose your own adventure style noodle bowl that is picture perfect and ready to send your taste buds on their own adventure.
The Rice Noodle Bowl is just about the freshest thing around the Skipper Canteen, which is saying something considering some of the crew members that are wandering around! Seriously though, the noodle bowl is chock full of julienned vegetables, including carrots, red onion, and a variety of peppers. The veggies are combined in a lemongrass pho broth with rice noodles and several different herbs piled on top. Lime wedges accompany each dish for those looking to add a citrus zing to their bowl. The Rice Noodle Bowl comes one of three ways, with chicken, duck, or tofu being included as the protein options. For this review I opted for the chicken.
The chicken was tender and succulent, which was way more than I was assuming for chicken slices added to a soup dish. As stated above, the vegetables, along with the lime, were fresh and added brightness to the noodle bowl that I was not expecting. The noodles were well prepared and the herbs, cilantro and basil, brought the whole dish home. With all of these positives, I kept feeling underwhelmed and it took me a while to figure out why. It turns out the problem with this dish is in the broth.
The lemongrass pho broth is light, but doesn’t add enough flavor to the experience. One could argue that with everything above it should be fine, but it’s not. I can understand that the Skipper Canteen would want to keep the base vegetarian to give guests with dietary restrictions an option, but it makes the Rice Noodle Bowl a miss for me. The broth needs to be able to pull the dish together, and the lemongrass just makes it too thin to do so.
When I ordered the Rice Noodle Bowl, I was hopeful to find an in-park counterpart to Kona Cafe’s Asian Noodle Bowl. I expected less heat from Skipper Canteen to make it more approachable to a wider range of guests, which is what I found. Overall, however, the Rice Noodle Bowl just wasn’t sturdy enough to hold my attention or please my palate, no matter how pretty it was to look at. This choose your own adventure, like so many books in my formative years, ended before it truly began. With rumors of a menu overhaul coming, my hope is that the Rice Noodle Bowl stays on the menu, but that it finds some more umph to push this dish to the top of the order.