Nine Dragons is the table service restaurant at Epcot’s China Pavilion. After so many years of marching to another pavilion and neglecting to eat here, Katie and I finally decided to see what it had to offer. To be completely honest, our experience was slightly underwhelming.
For an appetizer, we started off with General Tso’s Chicken Buns (8.98). On the menu, they were listed as “Bao Buns”. I admit, I knew neither what that was nor how to say it. Either way, these were the best part of the meal by far. Katie was concerned that they’d taste too much like General Tso’s Chicken (she’s not a fan), but they were more like a fried chicken that most Chinese restaurants serve with sweet and sour sauce. They were lightly drizzled in some sauce with a few garnishes and surrounded by two steamed buns. Very tasty.
For her meal, Katie ordered the Nine Dragons Fried Rice (15.98), which was a stir fry of chicken, eggs, ham, vegetables, shrimp, and rice. We both found it to be a little plain, but still enjoyable. I elected to try something different, and I got a Vegetable and Tofu Stir Fry (16.98). This dish was a mix of veggies and tofu in a sauce that tasted resembled your stereotypical “chicken w/ broccoli” sauce. I never eat Tofu but I would have enjoyed it except for one small problem… the dish was tiny! I really felt like I’d been ripped-off.
To drink I tried a traditional Jasmine Tea, which tasted a little bit more like Eggnog. Katie had a Shangri-La smoothie, which I highly recommend. We decided not to have dessert.
So why do I say our experience was underwhelming? Maybe it was the fact that our waiter seemed to rush us a bit, but I can forgive that. There was nothing wrong with the food itself. It was fine, really. But for the price, maybe I would expect a little more value. I can get great Chinese food in central Jersey, why should I have to pay Epcot prices for it? This is probably why I’ve managed to avoid this restaurant for so long, alongside Italy’s two offerings in their entirety. On the contrary, the Japan pavilion’s Teppan Edo hibachi restaurant offers outstanding food with a great dining experience (yeah, it may be twice the price, but damn that food is good).
If you want to try Nine Dragons, I would recommend sticking with the appetizers, which packed a punch for the value.
Overall, I give the restaurant two and a half stars out of five.