Nine Dragons Restaurant in the China Pavilion at Epcot has been a longtime favorite, maybe because we’ve had the privilege of meeting the talented Asian chefs in the kitchen who create authentic Chinese dishes. Yes, they cater to Americanized tastes with favorites such as Kung Pao chicken and sweet-and-sour pork, but it’s also the place where you can enjoy braised pork belly steamed buns, shrimp and taro lollipops and Shanghai xiaolongbao, the ultimate steamed pork soup dumplings.
In celebration of the Chinese “Year of the Monkey,” Nine Dragons is offering some special menu items and a new prix fixe lunch menu.
The lunch special (3 courses for $17.98) starts with spring rolls or pot stickers. There is a choice of three entrees: Happily Family, with sliced chicken breast, beef and shrimp stir fry; Moo Goo Gai Pan with stir-fried chicken breast, mushrooms and snow peas; and General Tso’s Chicken Buns Lunch Box with three steamed buns and hot-and-sour soup. Dessert is strawberry-red bean ice cream or ginger-caramel ice cream.
Another addition to the menu, just for Year of the Monkey are three steamed buns: braised pork belly served with chili aioli; sweet-and-sour, batter-fried fish buns topped with pork floss; and General Tso’s Chicken buns with batter-fried chicken breast. (Pork floss is dry, fluffy shredded pork seasoned with soy sauce and sugar.) Add a cold Tsingtao beer for a real treat.
The menu specials run through January 27, 2017, so you have plenty of time, with the restaurant open daily for lunch and dinner (Disney Dining Plan accepted). Passholder, Disney Vacation Club, Tables in Wonderland and Golden Oak discounts are accepted (to celebrate the Chinese New Year, all these discounts are 20% for the month of February). For reservations, visit Disneyworld.com/dine or call 407-WDW-DINE.
If you’d like to try to make the steamed buns at home, here’s a recipe. Happy Year of the Monkey!
Sweet-and-Sour Fish on Steamed Buns
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup ketchup
- ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ cup vinegar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 8-ounce fillet white fish, such as cod, snapper or grouper
- ½ teaspoon salt, plus additional for seasoning
- Pinch ground white pepper
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2/3 cup water
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus additional for frying
- 4 prepared bao buns (folded Chinese-style steamed buns–see Cook’s Note below)
- Thinly sliced onion, carrot, and lettuce
- Pork Floss (see Cook’s Note below)
For sweet-and-sour sauce:
- Combine water, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, vinegar, and salt in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer.
- Combine cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water, stirring until dissolved. Stir cornstarch mixture into sauce, stirring constantly. Simmer, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens, 1 to 2 minutes. Set aside.
- Pat fish dry and cut into four equal-size pieces.
- Season fish with salt and white pepper. Set aside.
- Whisk together flour, cornstarch, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Whisk together water and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Add water mixture to flour mixture, whisking just until no lumps remain.
- Pour vegetable oil into a deep pan to a depth of at least two inches. Heat oil to 350°F.
- Dip seasoned fish into prepared batter. Shake off excess. Drop gently into oil. Fry 2 to 3 minutes, until golden brown.
- Transfer cooked fish to a plate lined with paper towels. Sprinkle with salt.
- Reheat steamed buns by placing in a steamer basket over simmering water 4 to 5 minutes.
- On a plate, assemble bun by inserting a slice of fried fish between a bun, ladle sweet and sour sauce over fried fish, and place garnish over sauce. Sprinkle with pork floss (optional). Serve immediately.
Cook’s note: Bao buns are available in the refrigerated or freezer section of Asian markets. Pork floss is a sweet and salty dried, shredded pork product available in most Asian markets.