Monday, November 4, 2013

Boma Dinner - Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

My family has been going to Boma - Flavors of Africa at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge for at least 10 years.  It was originally recommended to us by a concierge at Disney's BoardWalk.  At first, my mom resisted, because she doesn't like buffets, but we loved it so much, Boma would become a restaurant that my family went to every year during our annual trip to Disney.  In the past year, we have also discovered that it is one of the best places to have breakfast at Walt Disney World.  

When I was diagnosed with Celiac six years ago, I worried that I wouldn't enjoy going to Boma anymore, because I wouldn't be able to eat all of my favorite foods.  As you can tell from my first plate, there are plenty of great gluten free options.  

All the food on this dish is from the first station, where almost everything is gluten free, including the whole roasted salmon, slow-roasted pork ribs (my personal favorite), African carved beef strip loin, Durban spiced chicken, fufu (sweet and white potato mash), basmati rice, and the Mater Paneer.  

The Durban spiced chicken was really delicious with fufu on top of it.  I usually bypass this dish, but decided to try it on this visit.  

I always worry about cross contamination at the hummus station, because the bread is right behind it and gets dragged over the hummus bowls.  I asked the chef for hummus from the back, and he brought me papadum and another type of gluten free bread to go with it.  

All four soups at the soup station were gluten free on Saturday night.  One of my favorites is the carrot ginger, and I don't even like carrots.  They also had lentil & sausage soup, coconut curry chicken stew, and African vegetable lentil soup.  The soups vary depending on the day of the week.  

I have always loved the papaya, avocado, and grapefruit salad.  

On this visit, I noticed that the desserts had changed significantly.  Many of the desserts on the buffet were gluten free, including the Kenyan coffee tarts, strawberry mint panna cotta, and the cassava cake.  The Zebra Domes on the buffet contain gluten, but the chef can bring you a gluten free version from the back.  Boma also carries a variety of allergy friendly treats like Enjoy Life brownies.

At the salad station, all of the vinaigrettes are gluten free, including the mango, apple, balsamic, and chili cilantro.  The fruit station, and the lentils & hearts of palm salad are other safe options.  The dishes I mentioned here are just some of the gluten free options available at Boma.  Some are served every night, while others can change throughout the week.

Be careful with the peanut butter rice.  If a chef tells you that it's safe to eat, ask if it has gluten free soy sauce in it.  I have been told by at least three different chefs that it is safe to eat, but when I inquire about the soy sauce, they go check, come back, and tell me I should not eat it.  I'm not really sure why there is such confusion over this dish.  I have the recipe at home, which is how I know it contains soy sauce.  Some of my blog readers have eaten the peanut butter rice, without any reaction.  Read this blog post about soy sauce, and you might understand why.  

October 26, 2014 Update - My friend Shelley dined at Boma for breakfast a couple of weeks ago, and was told that the bobotie is now gluten free, because they have removed the bread!  Before I was diagnosed with celiac, one of my favorite dishes at Boma was the bobotie, so I was really excited to try it.

Here's a close up of the bobotie.  It was just as good as I remembered.  This meat and egg dish has a wonderful combination of spices, and I love the sweetness from the golden raisins.  The chef who gave me a tour of the buffet last night told me they took the bread out, and replaced it with mushrooms.  It didn't taste any different to me, and I definitely didn't taste the mushrooms.  I am pretty sure the bobotie was made with ground lamb last night, but sometimes bobotie is made with ground beef or turkey.  

Papadum is no longer available, so I had my hummus with falafel chips.  I assume these are the same falafel chips they are now serving at Sanaa.  They were pretty good, but I much prefer the gluten free naan at Sanaa.  

I was excited to see broccolini, one of my favorite vegetables, on the buffet last night.  It was seasoned and cooked well, so I hope this new dish is here to stay.  

The watermelon rind salad is a staple on the breakfast and dinner buffet, and I never pass it up, because it has a lovely gingery kick and it's a great palate cleanser.  It's also a very light and refreshing dish when your belly is starting to get very, very full.

I finished my meal with this lovely dessert platter prepared by the chef, and yes, I ate every last bite of it.  I asked for cassava cakes without the coconut on top, and I was also given gluten free zebra domes, fresh fruit, strawberry mint panna cotta, and a Kenyan coffee tart.  

If you have a Tables in Wonderland card, you can save 20% at Boma.  Boma, and Tusker House Restaurant in the Animal Kingdom are my favorite buffets at Disney World.  They both have an impressive selection of gluten free foods. 

You can view Boma's menus, and make advance dining reservations on Disney's website here.

Have you been to Boma for breakfast or dinner?  What are your favorite gluten free dishes?  


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