- Richard Harbaugh/Disney Parks via Getty Images
- For the first time, Disney World park Epcot is offering a L’Chaim! Holiday Kitchen pop-up at their International Festival of Holidays to include Jewish visitors to the park that celebrate Hanukkah.
- However, people aren’t happy with it, as some think the food and drinks offered are more like items off a New York deli menu than of a Hanukkah celebration.
- None of it is kosher.
- In particular, people pointed out that two classic Hanukkah favorites – potato latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly-filled doughnuts) – were left off the menu.
Disney World’s Epcot International Festival of the Holidays runs from November 18 to December 30, celebrating holiday traditions around the world with an array of festive treats from different countries and cultures.
According to the official Disney Parks Blog, this year’s festival includes a new L’Chaim! Holiday Kitchen featuring “traditional Jewish dishes” such as pastrami sandwiches and matzah ball soup.
Some people are thrilled that Disney is including Jewish-themed foods in their festival.
FINALLY Epcot is getting a Jewish food related kiosk! Looking forward to trying it all this holiday season! @ Epcot – Walt Disney World https://t.co/IgWCry2ljp
— Brittany Vitiello (@BrinaRifka) October 25, 2018
But not everyone is feeling the holiday cheer due to the menu’s lack of Hanukkah foods and kosher certification.
Here’s the full menu:
The dishes offered are pastrami on rye with house-made pickles and deli mustard, potato knish with herb sour cream, chicken and matzo ball soup, and a back and white cookie. For drinks, visitors can choose from egg cream (milk, chocolate syrup and seltzer), Brooklyn Brewery Brooklyn Lager, and a blue Cosmo cocktail.
For one thing, people have pointed out that the menu is missing two major Hanukkah essentials: latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly-filled donuts).
Some people think it reads more like a New York deli menu than a festive Jewish holiday one.
While many of these menu items have become synonymous with Judaism over the years, they’re not explicitly Jewish in any way. Most delis, not just Jewish ones, offer items like black and white cookies and pastrami sandwiches.
Since the pop-up is holiday-themed, people were wondering where the actual Hanukkah food was. The Festival of Lights happens to be a Jewish holiday with culinary traditions of its own. Since other pavilions have food and drinks directly related to Christmas, like the American Holiday Table that’s serving both Christmas ham and turkey, or the Bavaria Holiday Kitchen’s offering of glühwein (mulled wine), people were expecting Hanukkah food.
Disney seems to have confused “Jewish holiday food” with “New York Deli.” Where are the latkes and sufganiyot?
— Brian Beck (@tigerhawk310) October 26, 2018
Uhhhhhh. They can be. They’re not really a traditional holiday food. They’re standard Jewish deli fare. If Disney really wanted a Hanukkah food offering they’d have latkes or fried doughnuts. Heck, even matzoh ball soup.
— Evan (@Wexplorations) November 19, 2018
Cause nothing says Jewish and Chanukah like Brooklyn Lager. Good job Disney ???? https://t.co/JWc3RC2rGy
— Jo-Ann (@geonitacka) November 27, 2018
Some people are also upset that the food served at the L’Chaim! Holiday Kitchen is not certified kosher.
Disney World does offer kosher food for those who observe the religious dietary restrictions, but orders must be placed 24 hours in advance. There are also a few quick-service options that don’t require advance notice.
Offering an entire pop-up of Jewish food but neglecting to make at least one option kosher seems counterproductive and ironic to some Twitter users. They were confused as to why a menu intended to celebrate Judaism ended up excluding a significant number of observant Jews who keep kosher.
“While Holiday Kitchen L’Chaim! draws inspiration from traditional Jewish dishes, all of our festival food and beverage items are prepared in a shared kitchen space and due to those operational needs, we are unable to meet kosher guidelines,” a spokesperson for Disney told Mic in an email. “We continue to offer kosher meals on request at several of our Food & Beverage locations throughout the park, which are provided by a kosher-approved third-party vendor.”
Someone's job at Disney was to say, out loud, that Jewish people will not be able to eat at their Jewish food restaurant.
— Marion????Poliquin Ⓥ (@MarionPoliquin) November 26, 2018
Leave it to Disney to have a Jewish food station and literally none of the food be kosher
— emo poser (@traderjoesplum) November 25, 2018
Walt Disney World did not respond to INSIDER’s request for comment.
Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more.