Behind-the-Scenes, Dining

AANHPI Heritage Month at Universal Orlando Resort: Behind the Menu

May 16, 2024
Moo-subi at Cowfish

During the month of May, Universal Orlando Resort is proud to celebrate the rich culture of our Asian-American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander team members and guests during AANHPI Heritage Month.

One of my favorite ways to connect with others is through food; I love hearing how people can feel at home through the right combination of flavors and textures. That’s why I was so excited to check out all of the different dishes our Food and Beverage team members have created to showcase AANHPI culture. Read on to start making your list of this month’s must-try items, and hear from some of the chefs who are proud to share a piece of AANHPI heritage with you!

Thai Red Curry Coconut Shrimp and Bali Cooler | Confisco Grille at Universal Islands of Adventure

Thai Red Curry Coconut Shrimp

Confisco Grille’s menu is chock-full of international influence, offering several Asian-inspired dishes year-round. During AANHPI Heritage Month, the restaurant has added Thai Red Curry Coconut Shrimp to their lineup. The dish pairs plump shrimp with bamboo shoots, green beans and red bell peppers, all sautéed in a red Thai curry coconut sauce. As if that combo isn’t mouth-watering enough, the dish is served with a side of jasmine rice, Thai basil, cilantro and lime.

Confisco’s Chef Antwan Dickerson, the mind behind the meal, says the dish reminds him of “moments where happiness can be found in food.” Chef Antwan explains, “This dish encompasses some of Thai cuisine’s most fragrant herbs such as Kaffir leaves, Thai basil and lemongrass. Along with Thai chilies, this dish showcases the bold and harmonious taste profiles Thai cuisine is known for. This dish doesn’t overpower with spice, but gives a blended kick to let you know it’s there.” Okay, YUM!

Bali Cooler

Guests ages 21+ can pair their meal with the Bali Cooler — a mixed drink combining rum, mango syrup, lime juice, pineapple juice, dragon fruit syrup and frozen dragon fruit, topped off with a sliced lime wheel. As a big fan of sitting in a theme park on a warm summer day with a refreshingly fruity mixed drink, trust me when I say: you don’t want to miss this one!

“Moo-subi” and Vietnamese Iced Coffee | The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar at Universal CityWalk

Moo-subi at Cowfish

A play on the popular Spam Musubi recipe originating in Hawaii, “Moo-Subi” at The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar features seared teriyaki glazed Spam, sushi rice and furikake, served with a side of wasabi aioli.

The creation of “Moo-Subi” was a joint effort between Cowfish’s general manager Aaron Tang and Chef Dania Alvarez-King. “I’m from Hawaii, and we moved here when I was a kid,” Tang reminisces. “My dad would always pack me lunch for school. While other kids got PB&Js and ham & cheese sandwiches, I got Spam Musubi in my lunchbox.”

Alvarez-King loved this story so much, she just knew she had to develop a dish that would be as authentic to Tang’s childhood as possible. “I tried to keep to the traditional recipe of the dish because it’s something that has meaning to him, so maintaining that integrity was important to me,” Alvarez-King explains. “I wanted to make him feel his childhood memories.”

If caffeine is your love language, you can’t leave without trying the restaurant’s Vietnamese Iced Coffee, which combines espresso cold brew, vanilla bean and condensed milk. What could be better than a mixture of sugar and coffee to keep you energized for the rest of your day in the parks?

Vietnamese Bursting Coffee Milkshake | The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen at Universal CityWalk

Vietnamese Bursting Coffee Milkshake

We know and love The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen for their over-the-top milkshakes, and they’ve once again delivered with this month’s Vietnamese Bursting Coffee Milkshake. Creamy coffee ice cream meets bursting coffee boba, condensed milk and fresh brewed coffee (because we can never have enough coffee). The shake is topped with a mountain of whipped topping and a dusting of turbinado sugar. One blink and suddenly you’ll be hearing that really sad noise that comes when your straw is sucking up the remaining drops from your almost-empty glass.

Research & Development Chef Chris Colon shares that the inspiration behind this shake came from the desire to showcase Vietnamese coffee while adding a “Toothsome flair.” The best parts about this shake, says Colon, are the unique elements that are new to the restaurant. “The bursting boba is an exciting part of the shake that we don’t usually do with shakes at Toothsome,” Colon explains. “My other favorite part of the shake is that we are actually brewing coffee to place into each shake instead of only using a coffee ice cream. It really intensifies the flavor.”

More offerings around Universal Orlando Resort

Bend the Bao

I’m not ready to stop telling you about all of the awesome limited-time food and beverages available this month, so I’ll end with a lightning round — here are some more food and drinks you can find across property:

  • Bend the Bao in Universal CityWalk is serving two kinds of Bao Buns: the Coconut Matcha Bao and Chicken Teriyaki Bao. I seriously can’t decide which one I want to try more… which means I’m having both!
  • At Universal Volcano Bay, stop by our food carts to try Crispy Lumpia: a pork-filled crispy rice paper roll with sweet chili dipping sauce.
  • Chocolate lovers, head to Lombard’s Seafood Grille at Universal Studios Florida to try the Milo Dinosaur, which combines Milo malted chocolate mix and whole milk (this one’s available at Confisco Grille, too!).
  • Across from Lombard’s is a hidden gem of a food stand called the S.F. Beer Company. Check here for the Mango Boba Spritz with strawberry popping pearls.

With so many delicious choices available for AANHPI Heritage Month, we’d love to know which you’re thinking of trying first! Tell us on social media or in the comments below.

Must be 21 years and older with valid identification to purchase or drink alcoholic beverages.

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