It was right around the time that my lips and tongue started violently tingling, that I realized I probably should have paid more attention to what the alien bartender said.

The bartender probably wasn’t really an alien (probably). Her name tag read Karen, which was not a very alien name. But the role the bartender was playing — and playing well — was that of a mixologist at an establishment called Oga’s Cantina on the faraway planet of Batuu. As she put my drink, a “Fuzzy Tauntaun,” down on the incandescent bartop, Karen asked me “Do you know about this drink?”

“Nope,” I replied honestly. I had picked it basically at random from the menu. She then proceeded to relay a surprisingly intricate story about the origins of the Fuzzy Tauntaun; it is supposedly a favorite of the bar’s unseen proprietor, and customers are warned never to breathe in the mysterious foam on top. There was more, but the place was very crowded and very loud, and I missed some of the details. A few sips later, when my lips started reacting, I regretted not paying more attention.

I called Karen back over. “Does this ... is it supposed to make your lips tingle?” She nodded and pointed back at the menu, which describes a “‘Buzzz’ Foam” that did indeed adorn the top of my glass. A secret ingredient in the foam causes a physical reaction on contact with human beings, resulting in the odd but entirely intentional sensation I was experiencing. With that, I relaxed and enjoyed the rest of the cocktail and its blend of vodka, peach schnapps, orange juice, and cane sugar.

The Fuzzy Tauntaun from Oga’s Cantina

The Fuzzy Tauntaun was both tasty and distinctly alien, and a pretty good microcosm of the larger gastronomic experience at the new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge lands in Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Everything I ate and drank there — and I ate and drank a lot — was pleasing in its flavor combinations, but unfamiliar in its presentation and ingredients. Through the years, as I’ve reported on menus inspired by The GrinchX-Men: Apocalypse, and even Solo: A Star Wars Story, I’ve become something of an unwilling expert on food inspired by movies. Most of these meals have been almost entirely unpleasant, with foodstuffs that bear almost no connection whatsoever to the movies they supposedly represent. (What the f— did Kong: Skull Island have to do with Johnny Rockets “street tots”? Better yet, don’t tell me.)

I journeyed to Galaxy’s Edge for the first time with the mindset that its food — already a subset of theme park food, a debased culinary discipline that often makes the International House of Pancakes look like the French Laundry — would be of similar quality. I packed more Pepto-Bismol than a convention of competitive eaters. I wrote all kinds of jokes that could be used at the expense of the weird space food. Basically, I prepared for the worst.

Instead, I found the greatest movie-themed food I’ve ever eaten — and maybe ever devised in history. The food at Galaxy’s Edge isn’t just good by the standards of theme park food or movie food; it’s just plain delicious. When I was in other parts of Disneyland, I found myself waiting to buy food or drinks so I could try more Batuu nibbles. My initial plans to write a guide to what to eat and what to avoid went right out the window almost immediately after I landed on Batuu. What should you eat at Galaxy’s Edge? Literally everything.

I had multiple meals at both of Galaxy’s Edge’s restaurants. All of them were both totally succulent and impressively Star Wars-y. Attention was paid not only to the taste, but to the presentation. The meat in Docking Bay 7’s “Fried Endorian Tip-Yip” (it tastes like chicken, because it is chicken) was crispy on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside — and it was served as a long rectangular slab laid carefully atop mashed potatoes nestled in a moat of surprisingly savory herb gravy.

Fried Endorian Tip-Yip from Docking Bay 7

This is a far cry from Han Solo pop-rocks pancakes at IHOP.

The theming in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is incredible. The land is designed to mimic a sleepy village named Black Spire Outpost on the remote planet of Batuu, and the food has been engineered to match its surroundings. In Black Spire Outpost’s marketplace, for example, you’ll find Ronto’s Roasters, which gives off the vibe of a quirky street food stand. In the front, an animatronic droid cooks strange alien meats over a podracer engine. Inside, you can get the tastiest food item I had on Batuu, the Ronto Wrap, a funky Star Wars-ish riff on a gyro, with roast pork, sausage, cole slaw, and a tangy sauce in a warm, soft pita. Ronto’s also sells spicy turkey jerky (served in large slabs of appropriately peculiar sizes and shapes) and several shockingly refreshing non-alcoholic drinks. I recommend the Sour Sarlacc, a tart raspberry limeade, or the Tatooine Sunset, a blueberry Arnold Palmer. (I’m already craving another one. They should bottle this thing and sell it in stores.)

Even the most notorious item in Galaxy’s Edge, the blue and green milks, were much better than I expected. These drinks, which have their own dedicated stand in the First Order section of Batuu, have already garnered a bit of a reputation, probably because they are so famous within the lore of Star Wars, and because they are not at all what guests initially anticipated. Despite their name, they’re not milk-based and they don’t have the taste or consistency of milkshakes. They’re more like fruit smoothies with various tropical and floral flavors. I tried them both, and liked them both — the blue slightly more than the green, although they’re both satisfying. I preferred the juices over at Ronto’s Roasters, mostly because they come in larger cups and cost less ($5.49 versus $7.99), but I did have multiple milks over the course of my time in Batuu, and would happily drink another.

Disney Parks / Lucasfilm

The Orlando version of Galaxy’s Edge offers the option of blue milk with alcohol, which sounds intriguing; at California’s Batuu, alcohol is only available in Oga’s Cantina, which is also the only restaurant in Batuu that requires a reservation. The reservations are hard to come by (you better make one in advance if you want to get in), you’re limited to just two drinks and 45 minutes of partying, and the place could use more food options (there’s a bar mix, and that’s about it). Still, the actual experience inside the cantina is amazing, with a robot (voiced by Paul Reubens) spinning space tracks in the corner, and an entire menu of colorful, boozy concoctions. (Non-alcoholic drinks also are available.)

Not everyone is going to want an alien drink that makes their lips tingle, but the Fuzzy Tauntaun also made for a good conversation ice breaker. Guests on either side of me at Oga’s long bar got the drink too, and talking about the weird sensations led to all of us getting into a long chat about Oga’s and the rest of Batuu. The gentleman to my left, who was visiting with his wife and teenage daughter, chuckled and said “I can’t believe they really made this.”

I knew how he felt. According to some observers, demand for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge has been far below expectations, and people are already writing it off as an expensive disappointment. From the perspective of Disney’s bottom line, it very well may be. From my perspective, it is a thrilling success, exceeding Universal’s Harry Potter lands and Disney’s own Avatar land in Florida in terms of theming, immersion and — most importantly for our purposes — food that is both flavorful and exotic in its plating and components. From the first tingle of my lips to the last sip of blue milk, I felt like I was in the hands of a creature only vaguely familiar with the fine points of human ingestion would invent to approximate Earth delectables. Which is exactly how it should be. I can’t wait to go back.

Smoked Kaadu Ribs and Moof Juice from Docking Bay 7

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