Sunday, January 15, 2012

Boma at Animal Kindgom Lodge in Disney World

There is always something magical about a visit to Walt Disney World. It happens in the four theme parks, in the hotels and even in some of  the restaurants. Whether it's transporting us back in time, or to another land, Disney has a unique way of taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary. The same happens when you embark on a unique dining adventure at Boma, located in the Animal Kingdom Lodge.

 The minute you step inside, the decor is reminicent of an African lodge, featuring high polished carved wood on the walls and rustic furniture. Boma offers a buffet that includes an array of dishes from over 50 different African countries! Each exotic dish has a unique combination of flavors that allow you to savor the culinary traditions of the different regions; making them come alive. Since they change their menu daily, it is quite possible to come here several times and be able to try out different dishes each visit.

Carving Station
Salads and Bread
As in most buffets, there are several different stations or "pods" with about four or five choices per pod; each with chefs nearby to answer any questions you may have. Since tonight was a cold night, I'll begin with the soups. There are at least five soups and stews available every evening! Although there were so many choices to pick from, such as the Butternut Squash and the Curried Coconut Seafood Stew, I decided to go for the Chicken Corn Porridge. The main reason I chose this one was that since I wasn't in the mood for spicy food, I asked one of the chefs which one he recommended, and he suggested it. However, he also explained that the others were only mildly spiced so I really could've chosen any. It was delicious! It turned out to be a thicker soup, similar to a chowder, filled with chunks of chicken, corn, onion, red pepper, and potato in a creamy broth.

Braised Pork Shoulder
The carving station included two different kinds of meat. This particular evening they were Rotisserie Beef, and Braised Pork Shoulder. I didn't find the Rotisserie Beef extremely flavorful but the Braised Pork Shoulder was divine and quickly became my favorite. It was very tender and juicy with just the right amount of seasoning. Although it needed nothing else, there were four dipping sauces available in case you wanted to give any of the meat an additional punch.  These were the Boma Mustard,
Tamarind Barbeque, Masi Mara  and Sambal Sauce.

Durban Spiced Chicken
For those who prefer fish or chicken, Boma offers a roasted salmon dish and a Durban Spiced Chicken which I adored. I had the pleasure of speaking with Vee, a hostess at Boma, who happens to be from Durban. She explained how this delicious dish is made,  and how each time she has it here, it always reminds her of home. There are 12 spices used in this recipe, and the chicken is slow roasted to achieve the right amount of tenderness without losing any of the flavors.

The same goes for a special dish called Bobotie. This dish is similar to a "shepherd's pie". It is made with ground beef, lamb, curry and cumin. It is then set in a semi-sweet egg custard. The final result? A flavor explosion!! I had to go back for seconds!

Other delicious side dishes that I truly enjoyed sampling were the Fufu, a sweet and white potatoes dish mashed with coriander and cinnamon, Cous cous with dried fruit, rice, and several African breads, including my favorite, Mealie Bread. There were also several different hummus to choose from. These were White Bean, Black Olive and Sun Dried Tomato hummus. An entire pod was dedicated to salads, which included a watermelon rind salad and an avocado, grapefruit and papaya salad that had many people coming back for more.

Sampling of Desserts
Zebra Domes
Finally, I reached my grand finale for the evening: the dessert pod. Boma has a wide variety of bite size desserts to choose from which happens to be perfect, because you can sample several (or all of them) and still walk (not roll) out of the restaurant. My three favorites (yes, I said three) were the Peanut Butter Mousse, the Caramel Cheesecake and the world famous Zebra Domes.  The Zebra Domes are a coffee/ Kahlua flavored mousse on top of a tiny dome shaped sponge cake, all covered with a thin white chocolate/gelatin, and striped with chocolate to resemble a zebra. If I could have, I would have walked away with an entire tray or at the very least, hidden a couple dozen in my purse to munch on later. Unfortunately, I didn't bring a purse.

My dinner at Boma was a tribute to the senses and an introduction of how wonderful a traditional African dinner is. If you come to Disney, I highly recommend a stop at the Animal Kingdom Lodge and an awe inspiring dinner at Boma.

Boma - Flavors of Africa on Urbanspoon

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