Exploring world cuisines in the heart of Hong Kong Disneyland

EXPLORER’S SEMI-BUFFET

THE APPEAL of Disneyland is nostalgia. People come in headbands with Mickey or Minnie Mouse ears and relive the characters and places that remind them of their childhood classics. However, there’s more to experience in the themed resort than what meets the eye — particularly the food.

Instead of usual amusement park fare like popcorn, burgers, and ice cream (though parts of Hong Kong Disneyland offer those, too), visitors can opt to try new things at the Explorer’s Semi-Buffet at Explorer’s Club Restaurant. On April 25, a media lunch allowed us to sample its international cuisines.

Inspired by one of the theme park’s original characters Lord Henry Mystic, a well-travelled globetrotter and lord of Mystic Point, the buffet’s upgraded menu offers cuisines from Morocco, Italy, India, China, Russia, and Egypt.

“We’re inviting guests to go on a culinary adventure and discover these flavors that the Lord Mystic character has picked up on his travels,” said Rakesh Kumar, the sous chef at the Explorer’s Club Restaurant.

The buffet has salads of all types, from Russian eggplant caviar and mimosa salad to a tangy Egyptian salad with pomegranates. One can try them all to see which salad will take your fancy.

Of the main courses for lunch, most notable is the Indian Butter Chicken. The chicken marinated in curry sauce is delicious, best eaten with the cucumber raita on the side. Crispy papadam is available to pair with this, but it’s heavenly with the biryani rice.

The Moroccan lamb is also an interesting choice, though it isn’t for everyone’s tastebuds. Adventurous foodies will enjoy the different textures in the dish — couscous, chickpeas, yogurt, and the very tender lamb.

Of the main courses for dinner, the Indian spice-crusted sea bass was the star. Its spices were a subtle punctuation to the creamy tandoori crushed potato and soft sea bass. Based on this and the butter chicken alone, it seems the Explorer’s Semi-Buffet shines best through its Indian dishes.

“Aside from dining here, guests can also appreciate the decorations around the restaurant that are basically Lord Henry Mystic’s artefacts from his travels,” said Danny Leung, the executive sous chef of the restaurant.

He pointed out that, for dessert, there is again a wide array of flavors to choose from. The apple crumble is comforting, the exact way you’d expect a classic apple pie to taste, while the madeleine is delicate yet creamy. Chocolate lovers will enjoy the sinful chocolate palmiers.

The Explorer’s Semi-Buffet lets guests choose one main course, along with the appetizers, salads, desserts, and drinks from the buffet. It can be found at the Explorer’s Club Restaurant in Mystic Point, Hong Kong Disneyland.

Prices are HKD$298 for adults and HKD$198 for children. Online reservations must be made via Klook or the official website:https://www.hongkongdisneyland.com/book/general-dine/explorers-semi-buffet. — Brontë H. Lacsamana