Travel with your Taste Buds

Travel with your Taste Buds
Posted on 03/14/2023

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

Even if you don’t have plane tickets purchased or time to travel the globe, exploring the flavors of several rich cultures is possible at the Lenexa Public Market and is only a few minutes away.

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 three 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 first time.

African Dream Cuisine: Chef/Owners Neba Ngwa and Stella Musongong

“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 2 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 potato, fried sweet plantains and the Dream Sauce – for just $10.99.”

African Dream Cuisine is open Monday–Thursday, noon to 6 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Sunday 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Learn more about African Dream Cuisine

Sohaila’s Kitchen: Chef/Owner Sohaila Humayon

“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, we draw 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.

“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.

Learn more about Sohaila's Kitchen

Kimchi and Bap: Chef/Owner Lisa Hamblen

“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 foodie 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 a pop-up restaurant in The Kitchen on the upper floor of the Lenexa Public Market. Visit the Public Market's event calendar for upcoming dates.

Published March 14, 2023