Disney’s Animal Kingdom has long been a source of great meals, but the quantity of those meals seemed to be on the low end. Sure, Flame Tree Barbecue always had something delicious to feed us, as has Yak & Yeti Local Foods going back to the days when it was Anandapur Local Foods. For many years, however, that was it unless you wanted to sit down at Tusker House, and if you did no one could blame you for that either! With the opening of Harambe Market and the Thirsty River Bar and Trek Snacks, we’ve had even more offerings to satisfy. Today we’ve headed down that thirsty river on a trek to find a bite and a drink fit for any weary traveler.
Let’s start off with something refreshing, the Himalayan Ghost. This cocktail includes Snow Leopard Vodka, guava, and Odwalla lemonade. Much of the Serka Zong area of Asia is open to direct sunlight, which can be sweltering in the Florida heat no matter what time of year. The Himalayan Ghost sounds cold, which is just what the Sherpa ordered. The beverage is exactly that, cold and clean, there aren’t a lot of lingering aftertastes here. It is a bit sour from the lemonade, but the lemonade and guava are both sweet, so it balances out nicely. It’s not too strong of a drink, which means you won’t have hallucinations of some terrible yeti on the Forbidden Mountain, but it strikes a fairly middle of the road note on all fronts. If you need a walking around cocktail, the Himalayan Ghost can definitely be that for you.
Of course, all of this trekking has us hungry for something a bit more substantive. Luckily, there are offerings aplenty at the Thirsty River Bar and Trek Snacks. After careful consideration, we opted for the Roasted Pork Sandwich that is described as combining roasted pork, pickled vegetables, and cilantro with a sriracha dressing. The roasted pork is nice, it makes for a great break from turkey or ham in a sandwich, and is served well with the cilantro but neither of these is the stand out star here. That is the wonderfully astringent pickled vegetables, including carrots and onions, and the heat-generator itself, the sriracha dressing. That play between vinegar and the heat of the peppers in the dressing is wonderful and made my mouth do a little happy dance. To top it all off, the roll it is served on, which is basically all I gave you a picture of in my hurry to devour the Roasted Pork Sandwich, is hearty enough that it won’t fall apart the minute you take your first bite.
If you, like me, put these two items together, you are in for a treat. The Himalayan Ghost can contain and cool off some of the heat brought on by the Roasted Pork Sandwich. Similarly, the savory and spiciness of the sandwich can cut through some of the sweetness from the beverage. In fact, the only problem with pairing these two together is with the set-up of the Thirsty River Bar and Trek Snacks. Each are served through a separate line which means you are either waiting twice, or splitting up your trekking group to divide and conquer.
The structure of the Thirsty River Bar and trek Snacks may be a bit of a quandary, but the decision as to whether or not I’d pick up the Roasted Pork Sandwich and Himalayan Ghost again is not. Although, with all of the offerings popping up around Disney’s Animal Kingdom, it may be a while before I find my way back around to this spot. Then again, a few tasty bites and sips, while caching a breeze and beautiful scenery of Discovery River Lagoon, might just beckon me back sooner rather than later!