Zǎo ān! I have to say that the China pavilion at Epcot is one of those places that just seems to get more magical every time I visit. I had a relative when I was younger who was quite taken with all things Chinese, and as a child, I never quite understood why. As an adult, I'm finally beginning to see what she saw. I find myself spending more and more time at this pavilion, just soaking it all in.
The entertainment is amazing, and the film - The Reflections of China - is just stunning. But my focus for this post is the large gift shop - Yong Feng Shangdian Department Store. The entrance to the shop is guarded by the traditional Foo Dogs. Just inside the entrance, you can find a sign that explains their significance, but in short, they bring peace and great fortune to the family that dwells here.
Once inside, you'll find an amazing array of food, clothes and decorative items. This is not a shop you want to rush through - so many amazing little trinkets to be found around every corner.
The tea is, of course, vegan, and something I actually expected. And as a tea-drinker myself, something I'm happy to take a look at.
However, I was actually surprised at the number of vegan food items I found, as well. While I'm not really familiar with Mochi, it appears to be some fruity rice treat. (*Ingredients: Maltose, Sugar, Glutinous Rice, Starch, Pineapple, Orange, Agar, Flavor, Sorbic Acid [Preservative])
There was some Puffed Rice. (*Ingredients: Rice, Sugar, Maltose, Peanuts and Black Sesame)
And some peanut candy (looked very much like peanut brittle). (*Ingredients: Peanuts, Malt Sugar, Salt, Sugar)
And there was also something more like peanut brittle in bite-size, individually wrapped pieces. (*Ingredients: Peanuts, Sugar, Maltose and Water)
In fact, there were so many different treats here that this is just a sampling. They weren't all vegan, but so many of them were that it's worth a look if something catches your eye.
Being the China pavilion, though, I couldn't leave without checking out the fortune cookies... and yes, they're vegan, too! (*Ingredients: Bleached Wheat Flour, Sugar, Water, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and Cottonseed Oil, Soybean Lecithin, Sodium Bicarbonate, Natural Orange Flavor, FD&C Yellow #5 & 6)
On a vegan but non-food related note... I must confess that I always just assumed that most of the beautiful clothes in this store were made of silk. Silly me - it's never a good idea to assume. This time, I read the labels. If I had just bothered to look at the prices, I would have realized that most of these couldn't be silk. It turns out that many - including the ones shown here - are either 100% rayon, or 95% polyester/5% spandex.
And the same goes for the beautiful purses! (A woman can never have too many handbags.)
It's actually rather ironic that I found so many wonderful vegan items in this store, as this pavilion is the one I usually suggest vegans avoid for meals. The restaurants are not really known for their vegetarian/vegan offerings, and they tend to be a bit less flexible than others. (It seems, from my attempts to gather information, that they don't like to modify dishes. They don't wish to take away the flavor, and I think they find the idea of veganism rather hard to understand.) So, you may want to find your dinner in another pavilion, but be sure to check out this gift shop!
*As a gentle reminder: always read the ingredients for yourself before purchasing. Ingredients listed in this blog should be used only as a guideline, and not as hard fact. Things change, and I could made mistakes.