'Harambe Nights' brings African and Indian food and drink to Disney's Animal Kingdom

May 16, 2014 in "Harambe Nights"

Disney has today provided some more information about the culinary delights that will await you at this summer's Harambe Nights events at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

If you have not been following the Harambe Nights news, you can read more about it here, but briefly, it is a hard ticket event at Disney's Animal Kingdom, that includes a viewing of a brand new theatrical show in the new Haramabe Theater, followed by a street party featuring an array of African and Indian inspired food and drink.

Disney Parks Blog author Pam Brandon reveals that chefs from the widely acclaimed Sanaa at Disney's Animal Kingdom have been working on the menu - and flavors will be similar to those found at Boma, Jiko, and of course Sanaa. This is great news - as all of those restaurants are among our favorites, and in our opinion, some of the best to be found at Walt Disney World.

On arrival, and before the show, guests will be treated to appetizers like Moroccan beef kefta with tamarind glaze, pickled fennel paneer cheese with tomato, Durban-spiced chicken bites and a safari cheeseburger slider with tomato curry aiol - paired with African-inspired wine and beer.

Inside the show, the food continues with “Lion Chow” – a salty-sweet combo of sea-salted pretzel chips, benne (sesame) crumbles, cardamom candied pecans, golden raisins, dried cherries and candied ginger.

Once the show concludes, it is on to the main dining event during the Street Party. Here is a rundown of what you can expect to find.

Fresh Cooked Breads, Salads and More

Watercress, melon, feta and berry balsamic onion salad
Kachumbari salad with tomato, paneer, carrot and cilantro
Roasted beetroot salad with sunflower seeds
Creamy mac ‘n cheese
Spicy vegetable samosa with mango chutney
Traditional naan, onion kulcha and pappadum breads
Roasted pepper hummus, raita and garlic-ginger pickle

Surf and Turf

Mango, radish, lime and mustard seed salad
Watermelon, cucumber and fennel salad
Coriander chutney roasted potatoes
Line-caught corvina filet with goan curry sauce
On-stage-seared lamb chops with tamarind pomegranate sauce

Slow-cook Action Stations

Fork-tender peri barbecued pork
Vegetarian eggplant tikka masala curry served over creamy goat cheese pap
Butter chicken thighs
Vegetarian legume wat served over basmati rice


Golden pineapple with toasted coconut
Apple slices with Amarula caramel sauce
Ripe melon with minted lime yogurt dip
Rice pudding, dried fruit compote and pistachio gremolata
Caramel salted Tanzania chocolate Kenya coffee bite
Chai cream with zebra stripes
Ice cream bars

Back on the Disney Parks Blog, Pam Brandon spoke with Chef Robert Gilbert for a bit more information about the food.

Chef Robert, tell us about the menu.
When we began working on this menu it was all about harmonizing the Harambe Nights’ experience with the exquisitely refined influences of Africa’s diverse cuisines. We tried for balance, for seasonality, for local ingredients – and most of all an authentic experience.

What was your inspiration?
Disney isn’t just a theme park or resort, it evokes a feeling, and we tried to capture that feeling through an immersive food experience – it was a strong collaboration with Chef David Njoroge at Sanaa, a native of Kenya who embraces true African-style cooking.

How long did it take to develop the menu?
We did four tastings before the menu got the green light. And we had some of our chefs and cast members work with the Sanaa team to truly appreciate and understand what goes into African-style cooking. It took us more than a month to get it right.

What are some of the unique African ingredients in the dishes?
We use paneer, an Indian cheese similar to queso blanco, in the appetizer with pickled fennel. The kachumbari salad – kachumbari is a Swahili name for fresh tomato and onion salad – is a popular food in East Africa. We use masala spice blend. And, of course, the traditional naan bread with chutneys and pickles is a favorite of guests.

Do you have a favorite dish?
That’s easy – the butter chicken with basmati rice – you can’t eat just one piece, it’s that good.

Tickets start at $119, and the first show is on June 7 , continuing throughout the summer on each Saturday night. Get the full details.

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Article Posted: May 16, 2014 / 4:53pm EDT