The Joy of Tea kiosk in Epcot's China Pavilion isn't really a high-end tea booth, as much as it's a grab-and-go for tea-based slushies and tea cocktails (with or without alcohol). You will find items like a Strawberry Oolong Tea Slush (which is quite good) and Mango Green Tea Slush, to the harder Mango Gingerita and "Canto Loopy" made with Vodka, Cantaloupe Juice (and presumably tea, because you know… the name of the booth is Joy of Tea).
But today I'm taking a look at a few of the munchies available at the Joy of Tea stand. The kiosk's "Lucky Combo" item is a combination of all the savory items available at the booth, along with a cup of ice cream, and a bottled soda.
Many asked why it's called the "Lucky Combo" and the answer had been simple… you feel really lucky to have found so much to eat for under $10 at Epcot. Like most things at Disney parks these days, the Lucky Combo's price seems to be increasing, at the same time the volume of food is decreasing.
When introduced a few years ago, the combo was in fact, under $9.98 and included a Chinese BBQ Pork Bun, a Curry Chicken Pocket, and an Egg Roll, along with the soda and ice cream. On our visit for this review (05/2016) the combo has lost the Chinese BBQ Pork Bun, and now consists of two Egg Rolls (one is a chicken egg roll, while the other is a vegetable egg roll), along with the Chicken Pocket, ice cream and soda… for $10.98.
Sure, it's the same number of items, but the Chinese BBQ Pork Bun was somewhat unique, and yummy. Replacing it with yet another egg roll seems like a bit of a step backward for foodies. I can get frozen egg rolls that are (missed opportunity) not worse than the one being served here. Still… it's under $15, which seems to be the new target amount for a counter service lunch in the parks (food item, plus drink).
Is there enough here to call it a lunch? It depends on how much you normally eat for lunch. For me, the answer is yes… or, if you have a big dinner planned later that same day (and to don't want to get too full before hand), then the Lucky Combo might just be the right size.
Each of the items in the Luck Combo can be purchased individually and come two to a plate, so if you really only like the sound of one of these things, getting just that one item might be a better way to go.
First up, the egg rolls. I have to talk about them together, because from a visual standpoint and from a flavor standpoint… I couldn't really tell them apart. They were both… "not really fresh", but still decent egg rolls... that were about on par with a frozen egg roll that you could warm up in your oven. I think the one with the bits of orange (presumably carrots) was the Kung Pao Chicken Egg Roll because it had a little kick to it (but not anything like a proper Kung Pao), and so the slightly smaller (and less colorful) egg roll must have been the Pork and Vegetable Egg Roll.
The Curry Chicken Pocket was the real star of the combo (as long as you like mild curry), the pocket had a very light, flakey exterior that was very reminiscent of a fried fill dough, and there was even a tablespoon's worth of pulled chicken curry in the center of the pocket. It might seem like there should be more chicken in the pocket, but the balance it about right because curry is a predominate flavor.
As mentioned, the combo did come with a bottle of soda (or water, if you would rather have a bottled water), and a medium sized cup of ice cream. The pre-packaged ice cream cup flavors don't change much at the Joy of Tea stand… you have a Strawberry Red Bean and a Caramel Ginger Ice Cream… just don't expect chunks of strawberries or ginger in your cream (aka this isn't Ben and Jerry's). The prepackaged cups do stay solid for a good long time in the Florida heat and are usually pretty good.
On this visit, my Strawberry Red Bean (which is devoid of any actual red beans) was a bit chalky in texture, which usually means it had been frozen, allowed to thaw, and then refrozen. Fresh and new… this is usually a fairly smooth ice cream. The Strawberry makes for a good photo, but I think I like the Caramel Ginger just a bit better.
All in all, it's okay food, at a price that you can't beat (relatively speaking) for in-park dining. Still, (and for just a few dollars more), the nearby Lotus Blossom Cafe
offers a much larger selection of entrees (and sadly, the exact same egg rolls) that are about as "made to order" as you're going to find in-park… so at least the food there is a little fresher, a bit hotter, and the portions are larger.
Seating at the Joy of Tea "stand" is obviously nonexistent and the line (assuming there's more than one person ordering something) is in non-covered, full-sun. Still, most guests are here to get an adult beverage or a tea slushy so the line moves fairly quick. There is a bit of seating around the walkways of the China pavilion itself, or you can just head over to the Lotus Blossom Cafe, where there is free open-seating (i.e. you don't "have" to buy anything from the Lotus Blossom in order to sit down).