Three Ways to Eat The Waturi Way at Volcano Bay

Eating and Drinking
Three Ways to Eat The Waturi Way at Volcano Bay
By ATD’s Florida Experts, Susan and Simon Veness
Water parks aren’t known for stellar dining. It’s all hot dogs, pizza, burgers, and loads and loads of ice cream. But Universal hasn’t just applied their “something different” tag to Volcano Bay’s rides, they’ve upped the game when it comes to culinary choices, too.

We’re not ones to sling a gigantic turkey leg over our shoulder and munch on it periodically as we lug it around the parks, so it was with pure delight that we sampled some of the offerings at Volcano Bay. With four quick-serve food outlets and two bars, there is plenty of choice, all of it based on the back-story of the Waturis’ travels around the Pacific Ocean and the cultures they met along the way.

 

Volcano Bay food

 

We’ve broken our favourites down into three distinct categories: Don’t Mess With My Hard-Earned Beach Bod (healthy selections), Familiar With Benefits (you know it, you love it, but now it’s had an upgrade), and I’ve Been Hiking Up Stairs All Day And I Deserve This (stuff you eat on holiday because why not?).

We’re not going to debate the merits – or lack thereof – of fries, which are served with many “healthy” selections, so don’t send us hate mail because we include dishes that have them as the side. You love them, we love them, but if you’ve got the willpower of a saint, go ahead and ask if you can make a healthier substitution.

And with that, let’s take a look at the best of what’s on offer around the park.

 

Universal's Volcano Bay

 

KOHOLA REEF RESTAURANT & SOCIAL CLUB is the first quick-serve you come to when touring in a counter-clockwise manner, and it’s the biggest of all the locations, with ample outdoor covered seating that’s a real boon when you need time out of the sun. The menu is the most varied (there are four separate counters, for BBQ, Chicken and Seafood, Longboard Pizza, and Burgers, plus a large grab-and-go selection). Here is a breakdown of the best of each category:

 

Beach Bod:

Quinoa Edamame Burger (with roasted Shiitake mushrooms, lettuce, tomato, and spicy Sriracha mayo). We love quinoa and we love edamame. There, we said it. But putting that aside, this little darling is sure to please the earthy-crunchy crowd (including us) with its crisp crust and light interior that won’t set you back by 2 hours at the gym.

Jerked Mahi Sandwich (jerk-seasoned Mahi Mahi, cucumber basil slaw, tomato, and Sriracha mayo on coconut bread, served with vegetable chips). The mild flavour of this fish works well with the spicy kick of jerk seasoning and Sriracha, and, while the veggie chips aren’t house-made (you’ll find them in the grocery stores as Terra Chips), they make a nice change to fries.

 

Universal's Volcano Bay Food

 

Familiar with Benefits:

Coconut Curry Chicken (braised chicken in a green coconut curry sauce, with rice, coconut, and cilantro, and sweet plantains). This one took us by surprise with how light and refreshing it is – terms that aren’t often associated with curry. A great choice on a hot day.

Hawaiian Ribs(glazed ribs served with Boniato mash and sweet plantains). The sweetness of the plantains and boniato (Cuban sweet potato) pair beautifully with the smokiness of these fork-tender ribs.

 

I Deserve This:

Belly Burger (Szechuan-glazed pork belly, caramelized onions, cucumber basil slaw, lettuce, and tomato). If it wasn’t for the fact pork belly is so fattening, even as it begs you to overlook its flaws and think only of it as delicious, this bad boy would be in our Familiar with Benefits category. Because, yum!

You’ll also find a luscious Chocolate Lava Cake here, and you’re worth it.

 

Universal's Volcano Bay Food

 

WHAKAWAIWAI EATS is situated near Kopiko Wai Winding River, with outdoor, partially-covered seating across the walkway, with a view over the river. The menu is limited, and let’s just be honest and say you’re not here for the skinny version of anything.

 

Beach Bod:

*crickets chirping*

A small Grab-and-Go has salads and a side of Hummus with Carrot Sticks, but that’s where the ‘healthy’ ends.

 

Familiar with Benefits:

Hawaiian Pizza (topped with caramelised pineapple, diced ham and pickled jalapenos). One of the park’s seriously long Longboard pizzas, this was our favourite of the lot, even if it did have pineapple on it. Go on…be adventurous!

Jerk Shrimp Mac and Cheese (pan-seared shrimp tossed with pasta shells in a creamy white cheddar sauce). It’s like love, but with noodles.

 

Universal's Volcano Bay Food

 

I Deserve This:

Mac and Cheese

Straight-up comfort food, with all the creamy goodness of the Jerk Shrimp version, but none of the lean protein that makes it a respectable choice in polite company. There is a kid-size version, but if yours are picky and are used to the stuff out of a box, this isn’t it (meaning, it has actual flavour). Get them a hot dog instead. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Foot Long Pretzel Dog (foot long hot dog, pineapple salsa and bacon on a toasted pretzel bun). We know; none of that goes together. But it does. Especially with a Kona Big Wave brew from one of the longboat bars. (You’re welcome.)

 

Universal's Volcano Bay Food

 

FEASTING FROG is next, and while the tiny building looks kind of like a frog, if frogs were made of bamboo and thatch, the food here is much better than you might think. Itty-bitty as the menu is, don’t overlook it. Each taco selection includes two tacos, served with plantain chips and salsa. There is outdoor seating nearby.

 

Beach Bod:

Pulled Chicken Mole Taco (with Queso Fresco, cilantro and onions), Chipotle Firecracker Shrimp Taco (with pineapple salsa and jicama slaw), or the Carne Asada Taco (skirt steak tacos with guacamole, cilantro and onion). But go for the Taco Trio and get all three.

Just need a snack? Grab some Plantain Chips and Guacamole.

 

Universal's Volcano Bay Food

 

Familiar with Benefits:

Poke Poke Bowl (Ahi tuna tossed in a sweet soy honey vinaigrette). Nah, not really. We just put this under Familiar with Benefits because otherwise these last two categories would be empty. Enjoy its tender goodness, guilt-free!

 

I Deserve This:

What you deserve is to go back to Kohola and grab some of that Chocolate Lava Cake. That’s what you deserve.

BAMBU is the first quick-serve you come to if you turn left once you’re inside the park, or the last one if you’ve followed the entire walkway around Krakatau volcano. The menu is almost identical to Kohola, but smaller.

 

Beach Bod:

Waturi Mahi Sandwich (grilled mahi mahi, pineapple salsa, signature remoulade, lettuce and tomato on a toasted brioche bun with fries).Another light fish choice, but sweet instead of spicy. The salsa is a real winner.

Remember the Quinoa Edamame Burger back at Kohola? You can get it here, too.

 

Familiar with Benefits:

Karika Chicken Sandwich (with applewood smoked bacon, lettuce and avocado mayo on coconut bread). We weren’t sure about the coconut bread part, but paired with the smoky saltiness of the bacon, it make a very respectable showing.

However, if you’re looking for chicken and want something really interesting, pop back over to Kohola for the Coconut Crusted Fried Chicken. Succulent! 

 

Universal's Volcano Bay Food

 

I Deserve This:

Bambu Burger (double cheeseburger with slaw, fried onions and avocado mayo, on a King's Hawaiian roll). The slightly sweet bun and the creaminess of the mayo are a nice twist on a standard burger. And you know it’s perfect with fries.

You’ll also find Chicken Tenders, Pretzel Dogs, and regular Cheeseburgers here.

Remember those bars we mentioned? Both Dancing Dragon and Kunuku Boat Bars serve beer, wine and soft drinks, but they also have some island-style speciality cocktails worth trying, especially if you’re  visiting in summertime and experience (read: you’re seeking shelter from) one of Florida’s famous afternoon thunderstorms. Or, for any reason, really. What the heck? You’re on holiday, and you deserve this!

 

Universal's Volcano Bay Food

 

Be sure to join us on Attraction Tickets Direct’s discussion forums for more on Orlando and Volcano Bay!

 

Want to experience Universal's amazing new park? Click here, to view our Volcano Bay tickets. 

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