Dozens of residents explored Historic Northeast and experienced cultural cuisine from around the globe this past weekend at the 2019 International Marketplace Taste and Tour.
Hosted by the Northeast Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, the tour began at the American Sons of Columbus on Independence Avenue.
Travelers received a passport with their photo inside and were met with traditional entertainment, including African drumming, a Congo dance team, a female Mariachi vocalist, booths that held traditional gifts from around the world, and a little taste of Italy with food provided by Musaletti’s Pizza.
Musaletti’s Pizza is a one-of-a-kind pizza shop that recently opened at 4807 Independence Avenue. Their menu includes deli sandwiches, toasted subs, flavored wings, made-to-order pizza, and pasta.
Boarding a shuttle bus, the attendees were whisked around Samuel U. Rodgers Health Clinic to visit their first stop, Somalia, at Yasmeen Cafe, located at 1447 Independence Avenue.
Translating to “Beautiful Flower,” Yasmeen Cafe is owned by the Hatimi family, who came to the United States in 1999, and serves traditional African and Mediterranean fare.
Tourists were welcomed inside and offered beef samosas, mandazi, and deliciously rich chai tea lattes.
Most of the travelers on the shuttle said they had never stepped foot inside the restaurant before, but would definitely be making a special trip back.
Boarding the bus again, the tour continued through the Historic Northeast to experience traditional Myanmar (Burmese) cuisine at Sone Ze Ya, located at 4432 St. John Avenue.
Sone Ze Ya translates to “all come together,” and the Rohingya refugee family who own and operate the restaurant, exhibited that meaning to the fullest extent.
Swa Dit, the owner, and his son, Ramat, welcomed guests with a smile on their faces, greeting every person who walked into the restaurant.
The family arrived in the United States in 2007 and later graduated from the New Roots for Refugees program.
Their restaurant is supplied by their own farm in Kansas City, Kansas, where they grow their own produce to sell at City Market and to provide all the food at their restaurant on St. John.
Tourists devoured the freshly prepared spicy noodle salad, bean noodle salad, and tea leaf salad, and even took some home for later.
The attendees said goodbye and thanked Swa Dit for his hospitality and were taken across the globe to Mexico, where pork, chicken, and cheese gorditas were served with fresh horchata at Elvira’s Cakes, located at 3838 Independence Avenue.
Known mostly for their pan dulce and exquisite cakes, Elvira’s also serves traditional Mexican food from their kitchen. Elvira Anzemdo, the owner, said everything in the restaurant is made from scratch daily.
Continuing to explore Mexican fare, tourists were taken across the street to Frutopia, located at 3737 Independence Avenue, to finish off their dinner with paletas and churros.
With 30 flavors of ice cream, fresh elote, tortas, filled churros, quesadillas, empanadas, and ceviche, this restaurant offers a wide selection of traditional Mexican cuisine.
After dessert, guests boarded the bus one last time, paletas in hand, buzzing with excitement from their experiences.
One couple, who lives in Johnson County, said they had never ventured to this part of Kansas City before, but were in awe at the amount of diversity not only in residents, but cuisine that can be found in one area.
One gentleman said he is coming back specifically for the samosas.
For more information on this year’s International Marketplace Taste and Tour, please visit nekcchamber.com.