Kansas City: America’s Next Great Culinary Destination?

By: Lysa Allman-Baldwin

January 15, 2014

There are two things that can unify people across all cultural boundaries, and that’s music and food. In Kansas City, the latter has grown immensely from simple Midwestern fare centred around meat and potatoes and homemade comfort foods, into an expansive, rich culinary palate peppered with Udon, Shish Tawook, Pho, Panes Rellenos, Brodet, Moussaka and other mouth-watering intercontinental culinary indulgences.

Within this breadth of outstanding gastronomic fare you’ll find a cornucopia of award-winning recipes from a bevy of homegrown celebrity chefs that have been featured in some of the country’s A-list food and drink publications and reviews. In fact, Saveur, one of the nation’s top culinary magazines, proclaimed Kansas City as “America’s Next Great Culinary Destination.“


An International Gateway of Flavours 

Barbecue lovers the world over know that KC’s premium steaks””including its namesake Kansas City Strip””and its over 100 finger-lickin’ barbecue restaurants that contributed to the title “The Barbecue Capital of the World,” are among its signature calling cards.


Chaz Restaurant | Kansas City

Gastronomic delights at Chaz Restaurant © Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association


But the secret ingredient in this former Cowtown, is the dollops of ethnic diversity found throughout the metro area, which reveal a delightfully pungent and intricately-woven tapestry of epicurean excellence. Effortlessly drawing together both tourists and locals alike, the breadth of culinary influences in KC has produced a borderless, international melting pot teeming with flavour and literally, colour.


The end result is a more sophisticated and adventurous gourmet landscape that allows locals to travel sans passport and experience an inviting global dining table of amazing people, places and eats.


Jazz Kitchen | Kansas City

World flavours at Jazz Kitchen © Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association


The “Variety is the Spice of Life” concept is easy to grasp here, given the United Nations of 60-plus different cultures and languages on both sides of the Missouri/Kansas State Line, including Spanish, Russian, Korean, Greek, Vietnamese, Hebrew, Italian, Chinese, Tagalog, Croatian, Japanese, French, Arabic and Wolof, just to name a few.


Bringing with them their own cultural and family recipes and cooking traditions, these folks have created a scrumptious smorgasbord of international dishes found everywherefrom food trucks to neighbourhood bistros and cafés, hidden hot spots and upscale, award-winning restaurants.


From the Farm to the Table

You might not think that such a meat-centric town would have much to offer the leaf eaters among us. But Kansas City can roll with the best of them when it comes to veggie-friendly food.


City Market | Kansas City

Browse local fresh produce at City Market © Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association


The bounty of fresh dairy produce and products reaped from the region’s copious organic and independent farmers and suppliers, are essential components in every chef’s daily repertoire here. And in the last several years, a penchant for wholesome plant-based indulgences has deeply taken root, yielding a burgeoning harvest of outstanding vegetarian and vegan eateries, where even the staunchest of carnivores can enjoy a delicious meal.


The Proof is in the Pudding

Just one trip to Kansas City and you’ll see that superb knife and fork adventures””each serving up their own unique flavour and flair of the city””can be found around every corner.


Gram & Dun | Kansas City

One of many exceptional eateries in Kansas City © Kansas City Convention & Visitor’s Association


It’s just these types of tantalizing experiences that people can’t seem to get enough of, moving KC into the minds of many a foodie from the proverbial kids’ corner at a casual family gathering, to the head of the table at Thanksgiving dinner.


So bring you cravings to Kansas City, and Bon Appétit!


Visiting Kansas City has never been easier with our partnership with Delta with daily flights across the Atlantic.


Have you sampled Kansas City’s dynamic food scene? Where do you go for a great meal when you’re in town? Let us know in the comments below.

Written by Lysa Allman-Baldwin


Lysa Allman-Baldwin

For almost 20 years, Lysa has fed her wanderlust for "everything the world has to offer" by writing passionately about travel, cuisine, historic sites and attractions, cultural events, spas, festivals and other subjects for numerous print and online publications. She is also the Publisher and Editor of Amazing Escapades: Adventures for the mind, bod and belly (, designed to offer a wide array of domestic and international feature destinations, articles, themed travel ideas, travel resources, photo galleries, ways to give back through travel and more.

Categories: Our Places