Answered: “I would love to know what the cool ethnic food places are.” — Reader Annie E.
As we continue our quest to answer 22 of your questions in 2022, we turn to world cuisine. They don’t call America a melting pot (really more of a salad bowl. Or, is it a bowl of chili?) for nothing, and we’re lucky to have such a diversity of cultures that call KC home. We’ve rounded up some of our personal favorites + some places with rave reviews. Here’s the world at a glance, broken down by region.
Asian food covers a lot of ground — from traditional eastern influences to experimental fusions, variations on noodles + the western world of Indian cuisine. Here’s our best attempt at highlighting just a few very deserving spots from the world’s largest continent.
- Lulu’s Noodles | Thailand | Childhood flavors from a chef born in Bangkok.
- Viêtnam Cafe | Vietnam | Among the best pho in town.
- ABC Café | China | Recommended by these food critics.
- Mama Ramen | Japan | Editor Dayten likes the takoyaki (fried octopus balls).
- Chewology | Taiwan | Authentic gyoza + elevated street food.
- Moti Mahal | India | Enjoyed by Made In KC + Editor Dayten.
Africa + the tropics
The most prevalent African cuisines in KC are eastern (think Ethiopia + the Horn) and western (think more Nigeria). African influences are also found in tropical cuisine, like in Jamaica.
- Blue Nile Cafe | Ethiopia | Stews with injera bread + an African beer selection.
- Elsa’s | Ethiopia | African in Overland Park recommended by local foodies.
- Fannie’s African & Tropical Cuisine | West Africa | Traditions from the opposite coast.
- Wah Gwan | Jamaica | A new, authentic spot with “tallawah” energy, Indigenous flavors + Caribbean sodas.
This region encompasses Central + South America — Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries in the Americas. There are a lot to choose from, and we could spend a month on Mexican food alone (we’re not going to do that… yet). For a deeper dive, here’s KC Mag’s Mexican Food review.
- Taste of Brazil | Brazil | Editor Travis loves the coxinha + Indigenous Amazonian Xingu beers.
- Fogo de Chão | Brazil | The centuries-old grilling tradition of churrasco on the Plaza.
- Miranda’s Mexican Food Truck | Mexico | Super authentic, really nice family, and a selection of tropical fruit drinks.
- Jarocho | Mexico | Seafood specific + for authentic ceviche.
- Empanada Madness | Venezualen | Specializing in a food common in South America.
From the iconic foods of Italy + Germany to the blending waters of the Mediterranean Sea, Europe has a lot to offer. Some of KC’s oldest restaurants (and families) come from European immigrants, and the businesses tell these stories.
- Browne’s Irish Marketplace | Ireland | The oldest Irish business outside of Ireland with the best reuben known to man.
- La Bodega | Spain | Tapas + sangria on happy hour, built on the Spanish tradition of socializing around the table.
- Grünauer | Austrian | Coming from a restaurant family in Vienna, serving truly Germanic faire + an exhaustive list of imported beers. That Pauliner Hefewiesen, though.
- Jasper’s Italian Restaurant | Italian I One of the oldest Italian restaurants in KC passed down through generations.
- Jerusalem Cafe | Greece | Gyros, falafel, hummus, and flaming cheese.
- Le Fou Frog | France | Soft red lights, escargot, and duck in an unpretentious orange building.
There’s only one spot in the metro that’s authentic to Aussies — but what exactly is Australian food? Apparently, “Australian native bush spices,” + “simple comfort foods, like meat pies and sausage rolls.”
- Banksia | Australia | Straight from Sydney to Kansas City. Dayten is a fan of the pork and fennel roll + chocolate ganache tart.
A note from Editor Travis: While writing this story, I was dying to know if there was any such thing as Antarctic cuisine. Well… there’s not. Veggies can’t grow, and the animals are protected. However, I did find this fascinating piece on what people eat when visiting the tundra. Mmm… sledging biscuits.