Travel with your taste buds

Published on May 23, 2024

Collage of three images showing dishes from African Dream Cuisine, Chilakillers and Kimchi and Bap.

As summer approaches, many are feeling the itch to explore new experiences. Expand their horizons. Connect with different people, places and cultures.

But if you don’t have plane tickets purchased or the time to travel the globe, you can explore several rich cultures through food just a few minutes away at the Lenexa Public Market.

The Market is home to chef entrepreneurs whose menus meld authentic flavors, family recipes, culinary expertise and a passion for bringing joy and camaraderie through food. We asked four of our chef/owners to share what makes their globally inspired cuisine unique and which dish they’d suggest to someone trying their delicious offerings for the time.  

African Dream Cuisine

“Our cuisine is an authentic West and Central African cuisine – precisely, from Cameroon. Our flavors are derived from bell pepper, garlic and a pinch of ginger. Both our family recipes are the foundation of what we do, and we have put a lot of work on these recipes to present to our customers a fresh, simple, healthy and tasty meal. Our style is to put less in food.

“The first thing I want people to know is that our food is not spicy, and it’s gluten- and dairy-free. We do have our spicy sauce on the side for those who want to spice up their food.

“We always recommend our “meat and three sides” concept, which gives the customer protein, vegetables and carbs options. For vegetarians, they get to enjoy five items on the menu – fried rice, sautéed cabbage, Banso potatoes, fried sweet plantains and the dream sauce.”

African Dream Cuisine is open Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Sunday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.


“Mexican food has always been rich in cultural heritage, like corn tortillas originating from Aztecs and Mayans as a staple food. Chilaquiles started as a dish with left over tortillas turned into crispy chips, adding creamy salsa, cheese and other toppings. Now always inspiring creativity and versatility, chilaquiles can be enjoyed at any time of the day, whether as a breakfast dish, snack, lunch or dinner by just playing with the toppings.”

Chilakillers is open Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Mr. D's Coffee

As an Asian American Pacific Islander owned, woman co-owned, small business we are proud to introduce unique items into our community. Johnny and Boggie (the owners) have created donut flavors such as Ube, Thai Tea, Matcha, and Black Sesame as a nod to Taiwan, where Johnny is from. Boggie has used her experience and love for cooking with her family in Mongolia into creating new recipes for items such as Mochi Donuts. With a rotating specialty menu, they've created a sweet interactive treat for people to discover Asian culture.

"Our Thai Tea Latte is authentically brewed by one of our donut shop workers from Thailand, this sweet drink is a refreshing way to get caffeinated. Made with Ceylon Tea imported from Thailand, we make our own concentrate recipe and then pair it with whatever milk you would like. Go traditional and get it breve style (half and half) or try it with one of our alternative milks."

Mochi donuts are a specialty Taiwanese donut made from rice flour and wheat flour. The additional rice flour gives the donut a more bouncy and chewy texture, commonly known as "QQ" texture in Chinese. Our mochi donut flavors are on a monthly rotation and this month's include: Ube, Raspberry Sprinkles, Mango Chamoy collab donut with ChamoyBoi KC, Chocolate Strawberries, Lavender collab donut with Sava Trading Co, and Coca Cola. 

Mr. D's Coffee is open Monday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Tuesday-Thursday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Kimchi and Bap

“When making Korean food, I stick with traditional flavors to bring that “home-cooked” feel to my dishes. I strive to find the freshest ingredients and use as many Korean products as possible. With the different seasoned vegetables known as banchan (side dishes), there are endless food options making any table more colorful.

“Korean food brings a variety of different textures, from crunchy to crispy, and flavors such as sweet, savory and tangy. For the food who likes spicy to the person who loves vegetables, there is something for all to enjoy.

“I would suggest a rice bowl or japchae. A rice bowl has rice with a choice of protein (beef bulgogi, spicy chicken bulgogi or tofu) and a side of kimchi. Bulgogi means “fire meat” and is a popular dish paired with kimchi – another staple in Korean food. Japchae consists of sweet potato noodles with vegetables, such as spinach and carrots. It’s savory with a slight sweetness and served with a side of rice and protein. Both these dishes would be a solid introduction into Korean food.”

Kimchi and Bap is open Monday-Tuesday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Thursday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Sohaila’s Kitchen

“Sohaila’s Kitchen offers authentic Pakistani cuisine. Pakistani food is unique in that it’s a blend of various regional cooking traditions from South Asia, Central and Western Asia, and even elements of the Mughal Empire. As such, Sohaila draws inspiration from Afghan, Indian and Persian cooking, resulting in a very aromatic and rich flavor profile. At the core of Pakistani food are spices like saffron, cardamom, cloves, turmeric, and coriander, and the list goes on.

“When Sohaila’s Kitchen opened for business in 2018, authentic Pakistani food was a rarity in Lenexa and the greater Kansas City area. Coming from San Francisco, where one can find a Pakistani restaurant on every single block, we were very nervous about how people would perceive us and how they would feel about our food.

“Of course, we will say, “You can’t go wrong with anything you try!” But, to newcomers, we recommend our most authentic dish – Biryani. If the dictionary had an image for Pakistani food, it would be Biryani. It’s authentic, contains a variety of whole and ground spices and is iconic to Pakistani culture. Our Biryani is also the dish featured on many news segments in Kansa City, the recipient of countless awards, and the focus of food critics’ recognition around town over the years.”

Sohaila’s Kitchen is open Wednesday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Sunday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.