Monday, July 1, 2013

South African Quinoa Salad at Animal Kingdom's Tamu Tamu Refreshments

   It's pretty easy to make fun of Disney World and their current obsession and overuse of quinoa.  Though I use this grain (technically a seed...) on a weekly basis at home, it is often times the LAST THING I want to eat on vacation. In spite of my general disinterest in this south american staple, I had to get to Tamu Tamu to try this salad!

   Located in Harambe Village, part of Animal Kingdom's Africa section, Tamu Tamu Refreshments is a small counter service restaurant.  This location is very low key, yet extensively themed.  Tamu Tamu fits remarkably well within the context of Harambe.  The facade is embellished with  aged stone and brickwork, crumbling plaster walls, and "local" advertisements posters.   There is no indoor seating...though this is not a problem!  The outdoor seating area is one of the most gorgeous and serene spots in the entire park.  PLUS there is a special sausage tree, and some traditional Swahili plaster carvings!!

   The ordering process is similar to most outdoor seating counter service restaurants.  Order at the main window, and pick your food up at a near by window.  The line can get pretty long here at peak meal times (Tamu Tamu serves both breakfast and lunch...) but luckily service is very quick.  The menu includes a few meat based sandwiches both of which have "african flair," as well as the now ubiquitous Animal Kingdom fruit salad. But lets not beat around the bush, I had heard great things about the new South African Quinoa Salad and I knew I had to have it!

   First and foremost, this salad is absolutely enormous.  The plate is practically overflowing with chickpeas, feta cheese, fried tofu cubes, tomatoes, cucumbers, and arugula over a bed of super crisp romaine lettuce.  The whole thing is dressing in a very light dressing, tasting mostly of lemon. It also comes with standard dry Disney pita. It should be noted that there is very little quinoa in the, barely any at all.  I'm not complaining about this at all, as the quinoa added a nice nutty flavor to the overall saltiness of the dish added by both the olives and feta.

   The flavor in this dish is really spectacular.  All of the elements work really well together, in both flavor and texture.  Cool cucumbers, crunchy romaine, and more substantial chick peas and tofu make this a terrific meal.  The only big complaint I have is the feta.  It would be wonderful if this was a vegan option, and since there is already kalmata olives in the dish the saltiness of the feta isn't really necessary. Plus, the tofu adds that nice chewy element making the cheese obsolete.
   Overall this one is a real winner, and I hope that it remains popular enough to stick around for a while. As with all decent veggie options at the parks there is a good chance that few people will be ordering it.  Cross your fingers it stays long enough for you to try it!


  1. This looks great! I'm going to try and copy it, do you think true dressing is just olive oil and lemon juice? Btw, this is my first comment, I love you guys! :)

  2. I love this salad too. Calling it a "quinoa" salad though is kinda silly, as it's probably the least prevalent ingredient in there (probably a tablespooon spread throughout the whole salad). I love it though, and it's a great quick service veggie option =)

  3. I'm really excited about this one as I've been floundering over what in AK to recommend to my pescatarian mom that isn't the standard issue veggie sandwich. This might work!

  4. I'm looking for the nutritional information on this salad. I've searched everywhere. Any suggestions? Thanks!!