Growing up in Florida, I've always wondered if EPCOT's food is culturally accurate. So, I set out to unravel the truth behind EPCOT's international food scene. I began my journey with a goal to eat in each country but that proved to be much more challenging than expected, as I hit a food wall after only 4 countries. However, 4 countries was plenty to get the scoop on EPCOT's authenticity.

United Kingdom

The first stop of the day was to the United Kingdom, where I snacked on some golden “chips” straight out of the fryer. The salty, greasy smell was so enticing that I couldn’t wait for the chips to cool, and I immediately began to shove them in my mouth. I’m not proud of this impatience because I ended up looking like a fire breathing dragon, but it be like that sometimes.

Kelly Hazlett

While chips are similar to the American French fry, there is one key difference: chips are cut much thicker and served with malt vinegar. Fish and chips have been a staple of the U.K. since the mid 1800s when people realized that this cheap combo was rather tasty. By World War II, fish and chips gained popularity because potatoes and fish were some of the only foods that weren't rationed. Today, this is the national dish, and I believe that in this case, EPCOT's food was culturally accurate (at least with the chips).


Next, I headed over to Mexico to try an empanada. Empanadas vary all over Mexico, as the dough can be corn, plantain, or flour based and filled with various vegetables, cheeses, and meats. In this case, I was served a fried flour empanada with green salsa and sour cream on top. The menu provided little description beyond the word “empanada”, so I played empanada roulette and was pleasantly surprised when I discovered a sweet cheese filling that poured out of the flaky shell. The dish also came with a colorful coleslaw which proved to be refreshing in between bites.

Kelly Hazlett

While it was tasty, the question of cultural accuracy was striking because I have never had a purely cheese empanada. Beef and cheese empanadas are most popular, followed by the traditional Mexican pumpkin empanada (sign me up). Additionally, empanadas are served with salsa or a light dipping sauce, not coleslaw. Therefore, EPCOT did not quite hit the mark as far as cultural accuracy, but they did serve a delicious dish.


All this savory made me crave sweet, so I stopped in Norway to get a pastry. I scanned the array of enticing chocolates and custards, struggling to make a decision as each pastry seemed to outdo the next. The cashier could tell I was having a dilemma, so she suggested the skoleboller, which is a Norwegian pastry that kids bring to school as a snack.

Kelly Hazlett

The pastry has reached far beyond schools, claiming the hearts of many Norwegians... and my heart too. Skoleboller is a sweet bread with a divot in the middle to accommodate the star of the dish: a generous dollop of vanilla custard topped with toasted coconut flakes. EPCOT truly outdid itself this time.


My last food stop was China where I went all out. I decided to go for the orange chicken, pork and vegetable egg rolls, and pot stickers. While delicious, orange chicken is next-level Americanized because it’s a spin off from Americanized General Tso’s chicken. Americanized-ception.

Kelly Hazlett

Then I moved on to the egg rolls, which I, of course, paired with duck sauce. However, I discovered that duck sauce isn’t Chinese either; rather it’s an adaptation of traditional Chinese plum sauce. That one shook me. Egg rolls and pot stickers are traditional though and would definitely be found in China, so EPCOT gets a 50% rating in cultural accuracy here.

Next time you’re traveling around EPCOT, keep in mind that while some of EPCOT's food can be culturally accurate, others simply cater to the masses. Hopefully you can be a food champion and make it to more countries than I did because EPCOT guarantees one thing: you will have some delicious food.