Monday, March 10, 2014

2014 EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival: Hanami (Japan Pavilion)

Japan Pavilion at EPCOT

Japan's booth is named Hanami, which means "flower viewing". How cool is that? Quite appropriate for the Flower and Garden event (of course).

Honestly, I could skip the Japan booth. I love Japanese food, but it is easy enough to come by out in the real world, so I don't have a need to try it at EPCOT when there are so many other exotic cuisines to choose from. But, in the interest of hitting every booth, of course we stopped here.
Passport Page for Hanami

I ordered the Frushi which is gluten free, and although it is not marked as such, I believe it is also vegetarian/vegan. Frushi is fruit sushi- the pink wrapping is soy paper, and the filling is coconut rice, pineapple, strawberries and melon, topped with raspberry sauce and toasted coconut. The whipped cream is from a can (I didn't note the brand), so be careful about that if you have food sensitivities to milk, corn, soy, or artificial flavors.

I also ordered the popped rice cakes, which are not marked as gluten free in the passport, but the Chef happened to be there in the booth, and he assured me that the rice cake dish IS gluten free, even though it was not marked as such in the passport.

Each of these items is VERY sweet. I would classify the Frushi as a dessert item. I would classify the rice cakes -with raspberry sauce, sprinkles, red bean paste, and green tea whipped cream- as equivalent to an 8-year old's birthday cupcake on steroids. Seriously. That was just sugar on a plate. Wow. It was fun to try a few bites, but unless you need a sugar rush or have a burning desire to visit your dentist, I'd say don't bother. If you are looking for dessert, go get flan at the Mexico pavilion!

Frushi: Fruit sushi (gluten free)

Popped rice cakes with green tea whipped cream (gluten free)

In my opinion, the coolest thing about the Japan Pavilion during the Flower and Garden show is not the food, but the Bonsai. Do yourself a favor and walk back through the Japanese gardens to take a look at the bonsai on display. I admit, I do not know as much as I'd like about bonsai (I do have some bonsai books on my "to read" list at the library), but even knowing nothing about the art, I was blown away by the trees on display. Here are a few photos, although they really do not do the trees justice- they were much more stunning in person.

Koi pond at Japan Pavilion

Bonsai on display at Japan Pavilion
Cypress Bonsai on display at Japan Pavilion
Several Bonsai on display at Japan Pavilion

These are just a few of the trees- there were many more on display.

Just for fun, here are a few links to more information about Bonsai:
American Bonsai Society
Bonsai Experience: Types of Bonsai Trees
US National Arboretum: Bonsai Gallery

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