Are you ready to take your taste buds on their own foodie adventure? I sure hope so because Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is bringing some new flavors and dishes to its menus for you to enjoy!
For those venturing over to the resort, you’ll find some delicious updates coming to multiple locations, including The Mara and Jiko: The Cooking Place. In this edition of What’s Cooking from Disney Eats, I’ll be giving you the full run-down of all the new dishes on the way. And trust me, you won’t be disappointed.
Be sure to check out the Disney Eats topics page too on the Disney Parks Blog to find all the other latest foodie news you won’t want to miss.
Ok – I think it’s time we get to the food!
Starting out at Maji Pool Bar, this spot will be refreshing its menu starting on Dec. 8 to add poolside snacks with an African twist. First up is the Shrimp Bakuli, which means bowl in Swahili. This dish is inspired by the open-air food markets found in Zanzibar, Chef Sahib Bhatti’s home country, where each evening as the sun sets, the vendors prepare seafood delicacies with the day’s catch. The bakuli includes chilled poached shrimp, pickled carrots, and Basmati rice with a flavorful soy-ginger dressing and berbere aïoli.
For plant-based diners, the chefs have also created a new offering just for you – the Multigrain Tabbouleh. This bowl is a vibrant salad with protein-rich grains, fresh herbs, and grilled vegetables. How delicious!
For those with a less adventurous palate, the team has developed two more traditional offerings with African flair. The Spiced Pork Nachos are topped with spiced pork, beans, herbed crema, and kachumbari. The “spiced pork” used is pork vindaloo, originally from Goa but based on a Portuguese dish “carne de vinha d’alhos.” This tender pork is prepared with flavors of paprika, garlic, tomato, vinegar, and a house-made spice blend.
Another mouth-watering option available is the Short Rib Grilled Cheese. The short ribs are slow-cooked with a house-made spice blend, tamarind, and red wine until tender. The buttery brioche bread is topped with short ribs, gouda cheese, and pickled onion and pressed to order. Yes, please.
The Mara will also be adding a few items to the menu starting on Dec. 8. For those who are looking to keep their safari on the tamer side, there is the Marinated Sun-dried Tomato and Herbed Ricotta Flatbread with sun-dried tomatoes, fresh herb ricotta, tomato sauce, four-cheese blend, and arugula.
For those looking to walk on the wild side, the chefs have created three new bowls that are sure to please. The Chermoula-spiced Shrimp Bowl is a must-try with grilled shrimp, pilau rice, kale slaw, cucumber-tomato salad, and chermoula sour cream. Pilau rice is similar to rice pilaf, and this version is simmered with The Mara’s unique spice blend and utilized as the base for all three bowls. Also available is the Oak-grilled Chicken Bowl made with marinated chicken thighs, slow-roasted over the oak-fired spit.
Rounding out the new additions at The Mara is the plant-based, and very tasty, South African Vegetable Bowl, a perfect balance of flavors! Chef Wendy Welcovitz and Sous Chef Khuloud Abu Samra drew inspiration from South African cuisine to thoughtfully craft each component: curried vegetable stew, pilau rice, kale slaw, dried fruit achar, and avocado-tahini sauce. You’ll be saying “Hakuna Matata” once you try this masterpiece.
Of course, no trip to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is complete without experiencing the vibrant flavors simmering at Jiko: The Cooking Place and this winter is no exception. You can always enjoy fan-favorites like the Oak-grilled Filet Mignon or Braaied Wild Boar Tenderloin, but there is a new appetizer to try – Sweet Potato-Groundnut Soup. This soup features spiced groundnuts, finger lime, pickled red chilies, and sorrel. Now, you may be asking “what is a groundnut?” Popular in modern African cuisine, you know this ingredient as a peanut, the name is used in reference to how these legumes grow … in the ground!
Last, but certainly not least, to celebrate the premiere of “Avatar: The Way of Water” on Dec. 16, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge will be introducing a signature beverage for those over 21 to “sivako!” Available at Boma: Flavors of Africa, Sanaa, and Victoria Falls Lounge, Way of Water is a shimmering blend of African Starr Rum, BACARDÍ Raspberry Rum, Bols Blue Curaçao, and lemonade garnished with a glowing lotus flower and mint.
There you have it – the delicious dishes and sips coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge this month! Tell us which ones you’re most excited to try and share your favorites with #DisneyEats on your own social channels.
(Note: All offerings are subject to change and availability.)
ALL of these dishes sound amazing and creative; I can’t wait to taste each and every one of them!