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Each week, KCUR's Adventure! newsletter brings you a new way to explore the Kansas City region.

Kansas City's best South Asian restaurants explore a wide range of cuisine. Here's where to start

A bowl of pav bhaji, tomato-based Indian curry with bread.
Of Course Kitchen & Company
Kansas City area restaurants offer a variety of South Asian cuisine options, like pav bhaji at Of Course Kitchen & Company in Overland Park, Kansas.

Across the Kansas City metro, you can find businesses selling spices and sweets, curries and tandoori dishes, reinvented classics and quick bites — spanning the cuisines of India, Nepal, Pakistan and more.

This story was first published in KCUR's Adventure newsletter. You can sign up to receive stories like this in your inbox every Tuesday.

Kansas City is gaining a well-deserved reputation as an international food town, and that includes a growing South Asian culinary scene.

Even though we just came out of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, it’s always a great time to explore the wide diversity of Kansas City’s communities.

The South Asian region encompasses the eight countries of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, and more than 10 million Americans trace their roots here.

At these Kansas City businesses, you can find spices and sweets, curries and tandoori dishes, reinvented classics and quick bites. And this is only a start: Kansas City offers a lot more South Asian restaurants that you can find on your own!

Midtown Market

Inside view of the bright orange and green Midtown Market, with display cases, refrigerator cases and product stacked on shelves.
Sonia Khosla
KCUR 89.3
Midtown Market, on Main Street, has both international products and ready-to-eat options.

Step off the beaten path on Main Street and you’ll find Midtown Market, a combination grocery store and restaurant that serves Indian food.

You’d be forgiven for not knowing about this hidden gem: Originally a traditional grocery store called Thriftway, this space has at turns housed a hamburger joint and a juice bar.

Now, within your first few steps into the international grocery, you’ll come across Mint Masala, painted in vibrant lime green. They sell fresh appetizers like samosas, naan, house-made chai (made with black tea, milk, and spices) and mango lassi (a refreshing drink made of mango and homemade yogurt), and both vegetarian and non-vegetarian entrees.

Open the refrigerator and find sweets like gulab jamun (deep-fried dough balls soaked in fragrant syrup) and milk cake (a sweet, melt-in-your-mouth milk-based fudge).

For $12.99, you can enjoy cashew masala curry, a creamy and rich sauce made with roasted cashews, tomato, onion, and spices like cumin, turmeric, chili powder and bay leaf. It’s perfect with a side of garlic naan, a soft flatbread sprinkled with minced garlic and enriched in ghee (a clarified butter).

Grab a seat in the front of the store and enjoy your meal while watching a Bollywood film on the television.

Your visit isn't complete without trailing the market's aisles. You'll find most of the trimmings of a regular supermarket, but with a lot of South Asian flare: Frozen Indian meals and appetizers, fresh vegetables, a wide array of spices and rices, and exciting snack foods – like West Indies' Hot 'n' Sweet Chili Lay’s.


Rice, naan, lentils, and curry on a metal plate on a metal surface.
Shagan's, in Overland Park, specializes in North Indian food.

Deep in Overland Park, you'll find an Indian restaurant with cobalt lettering and a drive-thru called Shagan's. You heard right: drive-thru Indian food! Previously, the spot was a BBQ joint, an ice cream shop, and other businesses.

But since 2018, Shagan's has served mouth-watering North Indian food that is made from scratch by Shagan Bajwa. Shagan's keeps its menu updated on its Facebook page with a variety of dishes like rajma (made with red kidney beans cooked in a flavorful sauce with spices, tomatoes and onions) and channa puri (a deep-fried, puffy flatbread served with chickpeas in a spiced gravy topped with cilantro).

Shagan’s specializes in homemade paranthas, buttery flatbreads that are crispy on the outside and flaky on the inside. They're stuffed with savory fillings like spiced potatoes, fenugreek, herbs and spices, lentils, or even raw vegetables like radishes.

Shagan's paranthas pair best with their thalis, which are traditionally round metal platters with small compartments each holding a different dish. A thali is a complete meal in itself, with a variety of flavors and textures, and at Shagan’s you can even get them to-go.

Shagan's thalis consists of rice and two entrees. You can try their vegetable korma, a rich and creamy curry packed with tender potatoes, carrots, and sometimes cauliflower mixed with bright bell peppers and cashews, or butter chicken, a crowd-pleasing comfort dish of tender chicken in a spiced tomato and butter sauce. KCUR’s Up To Date ranks Shagan's thalis with some of the best Asian and Asian-inspired food in the Kansas City area.

Recently, Shagan's expanded to Kansas City, Missouri, with a location just off Ward Parkway. While the locations serve the same delicious foods, their vibes are different. The Ward Parkway is a more streamlined space for a quick and convenient meal. Check back for their daily specials, to keep your taste buds guessing!

Touch of Asia

A meal setting, with Indian food on a white plate and silverware, on a red paper placemat.
Sonia Khosla
KCUR 89.3
Touch of Asia has an extensive menu with options from both India and Pakistan, vegetarian and non-vegetarian.

Another Overland Park gem is Touch of Asia, a family-owned Indian restaurant that serves a vast menu of South Asian dishes.

The menu includes over 10 pages of vegetarian and non-vegetarian fare from India and Pakistan. Especially exciting are their chaat, a category of tasty Indian street food that’s not super common in the Kansas City area.

Try the lunch box and thali special, which is served Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., and on weekends from 11:30-3. For $14.95, you’ll get rice, a vegetable samosa, raita (yogurt with cucumber, cilantro, and masala), chutney, and naan.

The non-vegetarian thali option includes a changing selection of chicken and lamb dishes alongside dal makhani. Vegetarians enjoy the same delicious spread but with two rotating vegetable curries instead of meat.

The restaurant comes alive at dinner time. Start with aloo tikki chaat, an appetizer that combines crispy potato patties with sweet, sour, and tangy chutneys. Follow it with fresh chapatis (a warm, slightly puffy pancake made with whole wheat) or a dosa, a deep-fried lentil crepe made of rice and lentil flour that’s served with coconut chutney and sambar, a lentil and vegetable stew.

For dessert, try kulfi, an Indian ice cream that is creamy, rich and bursting with pistachios and cashews. On the side, you can order one of their lassis – mango, sweet or salty.

Of Course Kitchen & Company

Interior view of Of Course Kitchen and Company, with a wooden bar with white stools and a painting of a tiger on the wall.
Zach Bauman
Of Course Kitchen & Company
Of Course Kitchen & Company offers a mix of flavors.

Opened in 2023 by Swetha Newcomb, a former private chef in Kansas City, Of Course Kitchen & Company brings together a melange of Indian and American flavors – in both their food and their bar program.

Newcomb is a graduate of Johnson County Community College’s culinary program, and offers dishes that feature classic Indian spices paired with proteins like scallops and halibut and creative condiments like horseradish crema.

Start with an order of golden beet carpaccio, featuring thinly sliced beets braised in warm chai, drizzled with cashew and curry leaf pesto, topped with greens and crispy paneer, and finished with a bright orange vinaigrette. Next, dive into the heart of Indian comfort food with pav bhaji. Their version has two sweet rolls that you dip into a tomato curry with spiced potatoes, okra and carrots.

For the main course, you can cut into a tandoori pork chop that’s been brined in Taj Mahal beef, or try a tikka masala made with grilled fish.

Cleanse your palate with a cocktail curated by Newcomb and Jay Sanders, owner of the renowned Shawnee bar Drastic Measures. "Neverita," a tequila masterpiece infused with tropical guava, tangy lime, and refreshing cilantro, is the perfect accompaniment to these powerful flavors. And you shouldn’t skip the mango butter cake for dessert.

Special note: Of Course is allergen-friendly, accommodating diets like vegetarian, egg-free, nut-free and soy-free. These notations are included on their seasonally changing menu.

Tikka House

Naan and cucumber salad in to-go containers.
In the City Market, Tikka House sells spices for at home cooking and popular dine-in options.

Overflowing with colorful and fragrant spices, and located inside the ever-buzzing City Market, Tikka House is a culinary experience like no other.

If you’re hoping to cook South Asian food at home, you’ll find a lot of what you need here, like tandoori masala, ground ginger, and fragrant garam masala.

The lunch special features a fan-favorite chicken tikka masala, which is marinated in a blend of spices like cumin, paprika, cayenne, ginger, and cloves. It's served over turmeric rice and accompanied by a refreshing raita and a simple salad of tomatoes, romaine lettuce, cucumbers, and a dollop of feta cheese.

Don't forget to explore appetizers like homemade chicken samosas and chicken pita pockets, along with vegan pita pockets for a plant-based option. The pita pockets come with a cooling cucumber raita and hot sauce for dipping.

Beyond the lunch specials, sample their hearty lentil soup made with split pea dal, savor shawarma sandwiches featuring beef or chicken, or explore other lunch specials like lamb shish kebabs. End on a sweet note with a refreshing glass of homemade tamarind tea and a piece of homemade baklava.

Seva Cuisine of India

Indian food garnished with a lemon, served in a cast iron skillet of a wooden platter with tongs.
Sonia Khosla
KCUR 89.3
Seva Cuisine of India in Liberty has traditional dishes and also offers different versions, like "dietician approved" Seva Squash.

A short drive to Liberty, Missouri lands you at Seva Cuisine of India. Seva boasts a moderately sized menu of about four pages with chicken, vegetables, freshly baked naan, fish, paneer and desserts.

Try the tandoori chicken, marinated in yogurt and fragrant spices then touched by a fiery tandoor oven served with basmati rice, onions, tomatoes and cilantro.

Seva stands out from other South Asian restaurants with their embrace of butternut squash. Their butternut squash masala features those tender orange cubes simmered in a rich tomato and onion gravy, seasoned with warming spices like turmeric and coriander. The result is a deeply satisfying and aromatic curry that's a great choice for those seeking a milder experience.

They also have a butternut squash korma that showcases the natural sweetness of the gourd, bathed in a creamy cashew and coconut milk sauce with hints of cardamom and cinnamon.

Your adventure at Seva wraps up with a warm cup of chai or cool glass of mango lassi.

More South Asian options

A variety of South Asian dishes on cream and orange colored woven placemats.
Alyssa Broadus
Sohaila's Kitchen
The Kansas City region has a range of South Asian options, including Sohaila's Kitchen, serving Pakistani cuisine at Lenexa's Public Market.

These restaurants are just a starting point for an exploration of South Asian cuisine in Kansas City.

KCUR's Up to Date recommended Sohaila’s Kitchen, which is located in the Lenexa Public Market and offers Pakistani cuisine. Immerse yourself in the warmth of chicken biryani, a rice-based dish flavored with spices like saffron and served with a signature mint yogurt sauce. Don't miss their homemade naan.

Craving a quick and delicious Indian fix? Look no further than Raj Express! Housed within the Crossroads Food Stop, Raj Express offers a variety of grab-and-go options, perfect for a satisfying lunch or a light dinner. Their menu features Indian classics like chicken vindaloo, saag paneer (spinach and cheese curry), and chana masala (chickpea curry).

New to the scene is Flavor of Himalaya. This Raytown spot offers a taste of north Indian and Nepali food. You’ll want to try their momos, which are Nepalese steamed dumplings filled with savory ingredients like green chili, soy sauce, ginger, onion. Looking for something new? Flavor of Himalaya offers a number of goat and lamb entrees, including mango lamb and Achari goat, which is made with pickling spices. Their pan-fried okra is a great vegetarian option.

On our recent Adventure! exploring Kansas City’s food halls, one of the standouts was Elephant Wings, a creative North Indian restaurant that is now located in Parlor in the Crossroads. In addition to their inventive chicken tikka masala poutine, you can try their new special, Namaste Shrimp: grilled cilantro shrimp with a zesty coriander chutney and pickled cucumber and slaw, served on a baguette. Quench your thirst afterward with an iced masala chai.

A Kansas City native, Sonia is a style blogger and communications professional. She has written for Made in KC Explore and the K-State Collegian where one of her articles was published in "America Now: Short Readings from Recent Periodicals 12th Edition." Currently, she maintains the style blog jemappellechanel.com where she muses about regenerative fashion, timeless style and self-discovery.
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