Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Gluten Free at Yak and Yeti in Disney's Animal Kingdom

I love all things Disney, and I've tried to keep up on blogging about everything I've eaten there. The problem is that it would require me to take photos of my food, and I simply refuse to be that tourist who takes a photo of everything she eats. Also, I usually end up digging in before I remember that I should be taking a photo for my blog. But I'll do my best to relay the information and help other celiacs feel comfortable about the menu choices in Disney World.

Yak and Yeti is a beautiful Nepalese inspired restaurant located in the Asia section (makes sense, right?) of Animal Kingdom. Though the outside looks like a reject gingerbread house, the inside is warm and inviting with authentic Nepalese d├ęcor.

I've now eaten here three times since being diagnosed with celiac, and it has never failed me. This is a unique experience in that the restaurant itself is NOT owned by Disney -- however, they are just as strict and careful about allergies. You still meet with the chef, they still go over all of your options and are very accommodating. The only difference is that the food doesn't come out with a little flag that says "allergy" on it. 

The Yak and Yeti menu is a generic Asian menu. I grew up Chinese, so this is nothing particularly authentic or edgy in its flavors. As would be expected, everything fried carries the risk of cross contamination. But they carry gluten-free soy sauce, so anything saucy is pretty much safe (except for the wheat noodle dishes).

The only safe appetizer was the lettuce cups. I was disappointed when I heard this, because I normally consider lettuce cups to be super bland and boring. But these were delicious! The chicken was well-seasoned, and I found myself licking my fingers after. The only thing is that if you're on the dining plan, this counts as two appetizers because it's meant for two. 

The star of the menu is the Malaysian Seafood Curry, which is completely gluten free and safe. I dream about this curry. I have searched (in vain) for a similar product in the Boston area, and have yet to find anything that is quite as tasty.

The sauce is coconutty and creamy but not overly rich. It's tangy and sweet and slightly spicy, and there's a ton of seafood in here -- scallops, fish, clams, shrimp, and mussels. Everything is perfectly cooked and tender, and the squeeze of lime adds a mouth puckering note that is so pleasing. This is Asian comfort food at its best. Most people would crave mac 'n cheese or pizza for comfort food, but I dream of white rice soaked in this sauce as my comfort food. If you love spice, you can add sriracha, which blends beautifully in this sauce. There are also veggies in here -- zucchini and tomatoes to round out the dish. It's a satisfying dish that keeps me going back to Yak and Yeti every single time that I visit Disney.

This is my thumbs up review of the dish, plus the sriracha bottle in full display.

There aren't a ton of dessert options aside from the sorbet, but honestly, I am always so full and the seafood curry is so satisfying that a decadent dessert would be overkill. My husband loves the mango pie (clearly not gluten free).

As far as gluten-free restaurants go, yes, this is not the best option in all of Disney. The menu isn't that expansive, and they don't have gluten-free bread or anything. But the dishes that they do have are so well-executed that this is high on my list of must-do's for every Disney trip. If you are looking for a place to eat in Animal Kingdom, this is it, especially if you are on the dining plan.

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