Jambo (Hello) everyone! Animal Kingdom Lodge, aka Jambo House, is well known for its culinary creations at its 2 table service restaurants – Jiko and Boma. Even though we have eaten at both establishments before, we decided to attend their FREE culinary tour. Yes, you read it correctly – the tour is FREE! If you are timid on trying new things, this foodie tour will allow you a gentle introduction into what culinary delights await you at Boma and Jiko. To attend, you simply show up at the Boma podium at 4pm. There are no reservations to make and you will tour as a group with any other guests who show up. We ended up touring in a group of 7. Guests do not have to be staying at Jambo to take part in the tour.
At 4 o’clock, our Culinary Guide was a young, female Cast Member from Zimbabwe who was working at Disney as part of their yearlong cultural program. She led us into Boma and began with a tour around the seating area of the restaurant, showing us hidden Mickey’s and sharing information about her homeland along the way. Our Guide also shared that Boma means a stockade or enclosure. (It would be bliss to be enclosed almost all day at Boma as they serve a fantastic spread for both breakfast and dinner.) The aromas were heavenly! When we arrived at the Boma buffet line, our Guide began recounting the various foods available and explained in a little more detail the foods that were commonly eaten in Africa. One of my traditional African favorites from the buffet is the Chakalaka (tomato, onion, and green pepper mixture) served over Pap (think porridge) . For samples, we could choose from the soups that were being served that evening. We chose the Butternut Squash soup and it was a creamy, rich, velvety consistency of awesomeness. For a dessert tasting, everyone got a zebra dome. Zebra Domes are little pieces of heaven with chocolate ganache, sponge cake, and Amarula liqueur infused mousse on the inside. After dessert, we were led right over to the next phase of our tour – Jiko.
Jiko – The Cooking Place, is a sit-down, order off the menu style of restaurant. The atmosphere has a more upscale feel to it over Boma. Our new Guide for Jiko was another young female from Africa who talked with us about her country and discussed the restaurant’s menu offerings along with hinting around the large hidden Mickey found in the dining room. Sampling consisted of 3 different bread offerings and 4 different spreads made of hummus. We were able to sit down at Jiko and sample the breads at a more leisurely pace, whereas at Boma we stood the whole time. Since we were seated, we were able to engage in more conversation with the members of our tour group as well. All in all, the tour lasted a little more than 30 minutes. Everyone in the group loved the items that they sampled and vowed to come back for more on a reservation.
Given the whole tour lasted around 30 minutes, you could do this tour as a whole family, a couple, or even solo. I would wholeheartedly recommend trying this culinary tour whether you are a seasoned Jiko and Boma veteran or a newbie looking to explore food options with an African flair. Have you been on this free culinary tour or is it on your Disney bucket list? What do you enjoy about Jiko and Boma?