Tokyo: Eating My Way Through DisneySEA

“You just have to visit DisneySEA!” exclaimed not one, not two, but three friends of mine who had visited Tokyo in the recent few years. They were very enthusiastic and insistent that I should not miss this theme park and told me it was beyond magical (or thereabouts), and so I worked it into my itinerary. I also noted that a recurrent message following this non-stop fan raving was that food was amazing over there. Even the little snacks from the snack carts.

Seriously… snack carts?!?

I can’t say I wasn’t skeptical because I guffawed at the thought. I imagined Universal Studios Singapore and the really lackluster and mediocre food options in stylish themed casual diner and food counter settings but packed with a larger, more uncontrollable crowd and queues and it just didn’t feel right to me that I would be enjoying food in a theme park.

Then again, I forgot this was Disney we were talking about. I ate my words, literally, with a gigantic dose of good food… from none other than… snack carts. At the end of it all, I wish I could have eaten more and tried everything, but there was only so many calories I could binge on in a day.

DisneySEA is made up of various worlds filled with attractions and entertainment that’s all themed accordingly, from the rides right down to the food options and gift shops. One thing to note is that the snack carts here do not sell a range of items but rather each cart has one specialty item or meal. It’s sort of like a collectible approach to eating. You only get this snack here and if you want it again, you’ll need to come back because everywhere else has something different specially sold there. These marketing geniuses from Disney are too smart.

Here’s how The F Man and I ate our fantabulous way through DisneySEA.

UKIWAH BUN FROM SEASIDE SNACKS

PORT DISCOVERY

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What a queue The F Man had to face to get us one of those Ukiwah buns

Port Discovery is a futuristic marina with plenty of aquatic themed park rides amidst whirlpool, fountains and rock formations. One of the snack carts here is called Seaside Snacks and you’ll find it between Port Discovery and Cape Cod. It sells a shrimp filled bun called Ukiwah Bun.

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Way too excited to taste this – the packaging looks amazing

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Barely dealing with the excitement as I shot this photo – like seriously, look at the steaming bun – it’s bloody photogenic

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The F Man had the honour of taking the first bite

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Showing off that delicious Ukiwah bun and the generous shrimp filling

The Ukiwah bun is like a chinese steamed bun, shaped and coloured to look exactly like a lifesaver float, and features Donald Duck on the little plastic sleeve it is held in. Apparently this snack is one of the best selling snacks from DisneySEA.

I wasn’t expecting much from it since I had a pretty blah experience with “cartoon” type buns that look better than they taste from Singapore’s River Safari (those hard buns stuffed with red bean paste shaped to look like Jia Jia and Kai Kai the pandas), but I surprised.

The Ukiwah bun was NOTHING like any bun I’ve had from other theme parks. It was soft. It was pillowy. And it was so pleasant to eat. The shrimp filling was adequately savoury and well portioned so that it wasn’t too much or too little of it. It was indeed delicious, but best food from the entire theme park? I wasn’t so sure about that. It was nevertheless, a very good first munchie of the day.

MICKEY’S TIRAMISU ICE CREAM SANDWICH &

MINNIE’S SEA SALT ICE CREAM MONAKA FROM MILKY WAY CAFE

PORT DISCOVERY

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It’s hard to be angry or sad in a place like DisneySEA. I mean, how can you? It’s immaculate Japanese precision meets next level service standards and crazy (good) food quality. I got to give props to the Disney staff. They are so enthusiastic and willing to pose and hold items for you to shoot regardless of how long you take. They are so polite, they even smile throughout the time they’re doing that.

Anyway, the ice cream carts are not unique to the Port Discovery area. It can actually be found around the park, so it’s not essential to grab the ice creams here because they are very conveniently available.

The Milky Way Cafe has three different types of ice creams to cool you down. There’s the flavoured ice lollies and what we had, the Tiramisu Ice Cream Sandwich and Sea Salt Ice Cream Monaka. By the way, I noticed that Japan has an ice cream obsession. No matter how cool the weather is, they are huge consumers of ice creams, especially soft serves. 

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The F Man absolutely can’t wait any longer for me to take photos

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Tadah! Ice cream sandwich!

Mickey’s Tiramisu Ice Cream Sandwich looks rather unassuming and I felt a bit hesitant to purchase it because it didn’t look spectacular but it tasted really nice. It’s a really nice tiramisu flavoured ice cream sandwiched between two crumbly coffee biscuits. Once again, packaging scores 100 marks (as always in Japan, hard to find some really crappily packaged stuff, it’s bordering on impossible).

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My cutesy seashell shaped Sea Salt Ice Cream Monaka

A monaka is a Japanese snack and is typically red bean paste sandwiched between thin and crisp mochi wafers. The F&B team has reinvented the monaka into this sea salt ice cream creation encased in the same crisp wafers but in a sea shell shape. It was easy and fun to eat without any mess (thanks to the monaka shell) and while not the most radical sea salt ice cream I’ve had, was relatively tasty with a bit of saltiness to balance the sweetness.

CURRY POPCORN FROM POPCORN WAGON

ARABIAN COAST

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You’ll find so many of these popcorn wagons all over the park, and they all sell interesting flavoured popcorn. Only one flavour is available at each wagon so if you want to have a taste of this curry flavoured popcorn, you’d better take some time to trod over to the Arabian Coast – and of course that’s where all the curry flavoured food stuff are at. The Arabian Coast is constructed to recreate the worlds of Aladdin and 1001 Arabian Nights (and this area includes not just Aladdin, Genie, Jasmine and Abu but also Sinbad and Chandu). I thought curry was distinctively Indian rather than Middle Eastern (please do correct me if I’m misinformed), but oh well, whatever, I love curries and curry flavoured anything!

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Every Popcorn Wagon sells not just a different flavoured popcorn but also a special limited edition popcorn bucket which features different Disney characters or corresponds with a certain theme, such as Halloween when we were there in October. The buckets are a whopping ¥1,700 but you can refill it with any popcorn from the various wagons in the park just ¥520. Being a bit conservative, we decided against bloating ourselves with way too much popcorn and took the ¥310 regular box of curry flavoured popcorn instead.

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This is soompah (seriously, cross my heart) the best curry flavoured popcorn I have ever tasted! The F Man and I practically gobbled every handful of popcorn up greedily and I have the photo of him doing so to prove it. The curry flavour is so rich and even. It’s not like some bits had not much taste and others were super tasty. Everything was just right and so fragrant. It was so hard to stop eating them. Yes, Carrie so approves this snack!

CHICKEN CURRY WITH RICE & NAAN FROM CASBAH FOOD COURT

ARABIAN COAST

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I died and went to heaven when I spotted Casbah Food Court and noticed that they had a menu of curry and rice (and naan). CURRY AND RICE (and naan)! I just had curry popcorn but I didn’t care, I just needed a serving of this curry and rice to kill my insane craving.

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Casbah Food Court is one of the many different food counter type diners around DisneySEA but this was one of the most expensive to eat at. A combination of three curries and rice with naan would set us back by ¥1,020 which I felt was a bit out of budget. Also a plate of a single curry, rice and naan was ¥780. That said, the more I stared at the curries, the more I knew that resistance was futile so we ordered one Chicken Curry with Rice and Naan to share (once again, Japan does it with double servings of carbs in a single meal).

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Chicken Curry with Rice and Naan

The portion wasn’t huge but I loved how yummy and spicy (I mean this in a it is full of the flavours of spice and not I am sweating in hell-like heat kind of spicy) the curry was. The chicken was tender and rice soft. I thought the naan wasn’t great, but all in all quite fulfilling compared to most of the food we had so far on our DisneySEA foodie adventure.

HERBED CHICKEN ON CIABATTA FROM NEW YORK DELI

AMERICAN WATERFRONT

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American Waterfront is an inspired amalgamation of New York and New England in the 1920s. It’s a really vintage world. It also has so many restaurants. I spotted the Japanese restaurant there but it had the longest queue ever and I didn’t want to waste too much time waiting for food. So we popped into an emptier diner called the New York Deli.

Okay so the New York Deli is also a counter concept with plenty of seating area. I found it easy to settle myself down somewhere and chill in the cozy setting and atmosphere. The Deli mainly sells sandwiches and fries. There are quite a few types of sandwiches, but the only one that caught my eye was the Herbed Chicken on Ciabatta because it sounded heartier. It’s quite expensive to dine at New York Deli because sets are over ¥1000 and single sandwiches are around  ¥700. I discovered soon that of all the meals I had at DisneySEA, this was the least value for money.

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The Herbed Chicken on Ciabatta wasn’t bad. The dusty bun had great texture while still being soft and fluffy, the vegetables and cheese slice was very fresh and the herbed chicken was appetizing. However, the size of this was really too small. It only took a couple of bites to devour this little sandwich. Considering I’ve been nomming all day and I still felt hungry eating this, I think that says something.

CHANDU’S TAIL FROM SULTAN’S OASIS

ARABIAN COAST

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This is the freaking bomb. Chandu’s Tail from Sultan’s Oasis is top on my list of things to eat at DisneySEA when I return to Tokyo, Japan again. Once again it is actually a steamed bun but this time shaped like a tail… in fact, that’s Chandu’s tail (If you’ve no idea who Chandu is, it’s actually Sinbad’s friendly tiger companion)… and then stuffed with creamy chicken filling which is oh my gah fantastic. I have no additional words to say how much I want to eat this right now – even with my fitness goal hanging there by the balance!

I think I actually ate MORE than just seven snacks and meals combined at DisneySEA, but it seems I’ve only got these seven items caught on camera. Massive eating for one day. No wonder I came back from Japan almost 3kgs heavier! By the way, what were your must eats at Disneyland or DisneySEA?

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