You can have your fun and eat it too.

As a part of our mission to get our seasonal groove back at Universal Studios Japan (USJ) this winter, P.K. Sanjun and myself often found ourselves famished.

Luckily, this place had no shortage of good food. In fact, even my Tokyo-based counterpart mentioned that the meals here blow a certain major theme park in Kanto — that we shall not name — out of the water.

So, here’s what we felt the five best meal options of the bunch were for the winter season of 2021. 

#5. Question Block Tiramisu — 700 yen (US$6)

This dessert hits so many right notes, they probably should have made it a note block cake instead!

It excels at both design and execution with a really cool interpretation of the classic item spawn point. The sides are all made of fresh cookie with a randomly selected chocolate power up popping out of a bed of whipped cream.

But that’s just the beginning, inside is a densely packed and very creamy rich chocolate tiramisu.

#4. Super Mario Burger — 2,000 yen ($18)

Okay, I know all this stuff so far has been around since last spring, but screw it. It’s all just that good. I always think the appeal of Super Mario is that he’s a hero grounded in reality, in the sense that he’s just a pot-bellied plumber at the end of the day.

▼ It is amazing he can jump so high with that spare tire weighing him down.

And that’s the appeal of this sandwich. It’s doesn’t go over the top to try and impress you but delivers the straight goods that a burger should. Bacon, mushrooms, cheese, and a reasonable amount of tangy sauce make it full-fledged burger experience without it becoming a sloppy mess like so many other novelty burgers do.

I’m rather partial to this food too because it’s served in the Kinopio’s Cafe restaurant in Super Nintendo World (Kinopio being Toad in the Japanese version). The interior has windows all along the walls that look out into the Mushroom Kingdom while you eat.

And let me tell you, I could sit all day and just stare at this little burger-flipper.

#3. Help! Fat Santa Steamed Buns — 600 yen ($5)

A lot of different types of steamed buns based on characters like Hello Kitty or Minions are sold here, but this one is available just for the holidays.

Before seeing the sign, it took me a minute to get what was going on here, but those two little brown parts are his feet and the white rim is the trim on his Santa suit. The whole thing is meant to represent what it would look like if Old Saint Nick had one too many steamed buns himself and got lodged in a chimney.

It’s a simple taste of tomato sauce and chicken that does the job nicely for a piping-hot light food on the go.

#2. Christmas Tree Gateau au Chocolat & Pistachios — 900 yen ($8)

The Beverly Hills Boulangerie has also developed a special line of Christmas themed cakes. Each one not only looks the part but is also filled with seasonal flavors. The best of them in my humble opinion is the Christmas Tree Gateau au Chocolat & Pistachios.

Although “gateau” simply means cake in French, when used in Japanese it usually describes a thicker cake without cream or frosting that’s comparable to a brownie. In this case it’s topped with a pistachio cream Christmas tree, coated with a layer of dark chocolate, and has many more nuts inside.

It’s sold alongside two other cakes, the Santa Claus Honey Mousse & Nuts and the Red Nosed Reindeer Chestnut Mouse & Cassis for 850 yen ($7.50) each. Despite the cute appearance, they’re all rather mature tastes, and maybe not suitable for little kids.

#1. Jungle Christmas Tree Set — 1,900 yen ($17)

It’s a Christmas tree made out of a big pile of roast beef, and need I say any more? Forgetting for a moment that it’s shaped and decorated like a tree, the beef is so well cooked and juicy that you’d easily forget it was cooked up by a theme park.

It’s served atop a bed of seasoned rice with sides of potatoes, corn on the cob, and other vegetables, and also comes with a soft drink. On top of it all, you can get it at the Jurassic Park section of USJ at the Discovery Restaurant, which was playing seasonal Christmas carols on djembe drums.

So those are the best foods you’d want to check out at USJ this winter. I’d also like to give an honorable mention to the set of British foods like sausages, roast chicken, and Brussels sprouts served at the Three Broomsticks restaurant in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter area. Unfortunately much like it is in the films, the dining room was dark and the photos we took of it didn’t turn out very well.

In fairness I should also say the list is somewhat biased in that it was impossible to eat everything on offer in the park’s 25 restaurants and even more food stands in a single day. For example, the stall that sold the hot Santa buns had several others nearby with Christmas themed hot dogs, risotto, and more.

▼ The I’m Melting!! Snowman Cream Risotto.

Kinopio’s Cafe also had Yoshi’s Hot Apple Tea for 700 yen ($6) and Super Star Hot Yuzu Lemonade for 600 yen ($5) both for a limited time during the winter months.

Whatever you get, however, you’d be hard-pressed to find something bad to eat here. So if you happen to visit the park this holiday season, be sure to bring an empty stomach!

Photos: ©SoraNews24
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