There’s a fun event happening at Universal Orlando Resort that has some really great vegan options. Mardi Gras at Universal runs this year from February 5th to April 24th. This event features food booths all over Universal Studios Florida, a fun parade (with lots of beads) in the evening, and live musical performances each Saturday. We went for the food, so let’s see what they offer this year!
Our first stop was at the Southeast Asia: Volcano Planet booth. It is important to note that the names of these booths are no where on the booth, so you have to rely heavily on the app to know where/what each one is. There are of course menus listed on the booth, but that doesn’t show the name. Also to note, Universal labels Vegan and Vegetarian separately, two leaves are vegan, one is vegetarian.
This booth was located near the Animal Actors show and SpongeBob StorePants. The vegan option here is the Papas Bravas. This dish features crispy fried potatoes, garlic aioli, salsa bravas, and parsley.
These were made fresh to order for us and the potatoes were perfectly hot and crispy. The garlic aioli was very garlicky and the salsa packed a heat. The whole dish was absolutely delicious and if we didn’t have more food to try we would have ordered another one on this visit.
Next up is a full vegan booth which is also located near Animal Actors and Springfield. The all vegan booth is called India: Floral Planet. There are 3 savory options here and 1 sweet.
First up was the Potato, Pea & Carrot Samosas. They were very tiny, which was fine because you get 4 of them. They’re placed onto the chutney which had a strong citrus flavor which was a bit off-putting. This also caused the bottom of the samosas to quickly get soggy. The samosas themselves were good, they were in more of a spring roll style wrapper which made them much lighter. They didn’t have any heat to them.
Next there was the Vegetable Vindaloo. This option was packed with veggies and had no heat to it. There was tons of cauliflower and sweet potatoes. It came with a naan bread which we wished was warm. Both this dish and the Chana Masala had the tomato and onion salad on it which added nothing. It was mostly just large slices of raw onion.
The other savory option here was the Chana Masala which was our favorite of the three. There was a very low heat to it that built up the more we ate it. This option was a better use of the naan to scoop some of it up. The rice in both dishes was cooked well. I could have just eaten a bowl of this as a meal.
The sweet option here can also be found at Today Cafe, the Golden Chai Chocolate Blondie. This was absolutely incredible. A perfect mild chai flavor and the texture was soft and almost gooey. This is something we’ll be getting a few more times before Mardi Gras ends.
After eating all of that we wandered over to the Floribbean: Cape Canaveral booth which is located near Lombard’s Seafood restaurant. This booth has one vegan option, the Sweet Corn Johnny Cake.
This dish features a corn cake topped with jerk jackfruit, blood orange crema, avocado, and a yellow mole sauce. We really enjoyed the toppings on this one, but found the corn cake to be a weird texture and just taking away the flavor of the topping. It had a strong heat to it too, which we believe was from the mole. I would have loved to just eat the jerk jackfruit in a bowl with the toppings and no corn cake.
Last dish we tried was from Planet Mardi Gras located near The Mummy. This option was just Yucca Fries with Chimichurri. The option was just that, some yucca fries and a container of the chimichurri. We found the yucca fries to be very good but were underwhelmed but the chimichurri as it was mostly oil. BYO Mayo-Ketchup for these bad boys.
There was also a Cajun Twisted Tater available in the booth near this one, we opted to not get it as last year we didn’t love the cajun twisted tater. It was just a bit dry for us.
As a whole we really enjoyed what we ate during Mardi Gras. The vegan options here all felt well thought out and we loved that there wasn’t any faux meat used at all for these dishes. I can’t wait to stop in again for another Blondie and those Papas Bravas.