Satu'li Canteen - Pandoran Comfort Food

by Roan Poulter, contributing writer
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It can be hard to embrace new dining options. I'll admit it, I'm a sucker for nostalgia and fond memories that seem to improve with time. New establishments within the Disney world seem generally to be met with a healthy dose of skepticism by diehard fans.

Satu'li Canteen seemed to hold little to no draw for me. My family had visited when Pandora first opened and had positive things to say about it, but given the excellent dining options in Disney's Animal Kingdom Park, it seemed I could always find something more appealing.

The insanity of Christmas has a way of changing the minds of even the most fervent. We visited on December 23, along with every other sentient creature in 1,000 miles. Lines for even the food carts were a half-hour.


Lines didn't seem to be much of a problem, even in the standard ordering convention. Photo by Roan Poulter

Why then would I head to the busiest part of the park? Well, NextGen dining options my dear reader. The ability to order from the MyDisneyExperience App. While I'm not always the biggest fan of the App—I find it crashes twice for every time I open it—the time saved waiting in a food line on a busy day cannot be overestimated. Now, word of warning, there may come a day when ordering ahead will become the standard, but that day has not arrived.


Here's a snapshot of the ordering app we used. Photo by Roan Poulter

Of course online ordering and quick pickup are only a small fraction of what Satu'li Canteen has going for it. We found each ingredient to be fresh, correctly prepared and served with enough attention to detail as to put to shame a few sit down dining options.


Servers hustle to get your food out while it's perfect. Photo by Roan Poulter

The concept is simple: pick a protein, pick a base, pick a sauce. But within those choices lie enough variability to suit most appetites: Chicken, beef, shrimp, tofu, red and sweet potato hash, noodles, rice and black beans, salad and three properly acidic sauces to counter the savory fatty goodness. Combine that with the Star Wars meets Dances With Wolves decorating motif and you have a most pleasant and satisfying dining experience.


Make sure to enjoy the Navi art that permeates the upward glances. Photo by Roan Poulter

What We Had

Slow-Roasted Sliced Grilled Beef Bowl (Slow roasted sliced grilled beef marinated in a blend of garlic, herbs, red pepper spice and red wine vinegar topped with crunchy vegetable slaw and Boba balls served with your choice of base and sauce. Base: noodles. Sauce: charred green onion vinaigrette): The star of the show I'm pleased to say is the Beef, cooked properly as I would, still red. The blend of textures and flavor profiles should please discerning palates. The noodles were good, but underwhelming in a cast of superstar ingredients. The crunchy slaw and vinaigrette balanced the fatty beef well. Not exactly sure who invited Boba to the party, but it did add visual interest and a feeling of confusion when I first saw them.


Vegans look away, but Carnivores stare deep into the tender beef. Photo by Roan Poulter

Chopped Wood-Grilled Chicken and Slow Roasted Grilled Beef Bowl (Wood grilled chicken thighs marinated with garlic and olive oil topped with crunchy vegetable slaw and Boba balls served with your choice of base and sauce. Base: rice and black beans. Sauce: creamy herb dressing.): As good as the beef was, the Chicken is truly a stand out. Wood fired meat is unfair competition, it is positively bursting with wood fired flavor. The rice and beans had been suggested by someone as the best option and I cannot argue, they were an ideal cell mate in this prison of decadence and deliciousness. If you're a meat eater, you simply cannot go wrong with this.


Chicken and beef, Santa must have gotten my letter. Photo by Roan Poulter

Cheeseburger Pod: Sadly an item that no longer seems to show on the menu. What I would call a cheeseburger cross pollinated with a Bao bun, it was a simple and delicious treat. We got one as we were splitting the beef/chicken bowl. In truth, it was just alright and I'm not shocked to see it gone.


Gaze upon it, but alas, it appears to be off menu. Photo by Roan Poulter

Our ratings are as follows:

  • Dad (44): 4.6 of 5 - This is American food at it's best. Everything tastes good, it reminds me of a Chipotle type restaurant. I love how fast and fresh everything is.
  • Mom (43): 4.7 of 5 – Fastest food in the park and honestly, some of the best.
  • Son (18): 4.7 of 5 – Chicken and steak? Heavenly. If only they threw in a pork side.
  • Daughter (20): XX of 5 – Not Present.

 

Comments

  1. By DaLoon

    We have eaten there a number of times. The bowls used to have sustainable fish as the protein - good both times I remember eating it. The Cheeseburger Bao Pod used to be an adult option (2 pods actually). But neither of the these are offered any longer. That takes me personally back to the option you mentioned first in your article - eating somewhere else: Flame Tree, Harambe Market, Restaurantosaurus, The Local Cafes of the Yak & Yeti (just to name some of the alternative set of counter service places since Satu'li Canteen is a counter service location.

  2. By xezat

    Thatís funny as our experience with this place was using the app to order as well since the lines looked long (plus it let us watch the power suit performer outside). But yeah it was pretty decent food for the price and a quick fill up, beef bowl was yummy and my dad enjoyed the tofu bowl offering.

    But yeah as far as finer dining goes thatís what the rest of AK is for, but if youíre ďstrandedĒ out at Pandora, itís a good place for quick bites.

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