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Meeting Biological Korean Parents for the 1st time in KC...where to eat?

Here's a little more of a backstory:


But my biological Korean parents are coming to Kansas City on Friday afternoon and staying until Saturday evening. My twin sister and I are unsure of where to take them when we go out to eat because 1) we dont have a ton of money between us 2) they dont speak english 3) i dont want to introduce them to something totally offensive or foreign

By point three, I mean that I heard certain things about asian perferences such as they dont really like dairy, (cheese too?) or Mexican cusine. Plus, since Asians typically eat their meals family style (at least I did when I visited them last year) would it be weird to order for them and what if they dont like the food?

We are going out to lunch on Friday afternoon, preferably somewhere close to the airport / Northland (think like Barry Road...chain heaven, ugh) eating dinner and breakfast at my sisters apt and going to the plaza for lunch and dinner before they catch their flight home that evening.

I was thinking perhaps Genghis Khan...i saw this coupon online


and they do have AMAZING basil chicken pots, calamari and chicken wings. but is it a bad idea to take koreans to an american chinese restaurant?? Furthermore, i know Genghis Khan's claim to fame is their bbq but honestly im just not that impressed (i know its my fault since i make my own stir fry but still) and i know that big grill and ingredient bar might confuse my parents (remember, they dont speak or read english!)

My sister was voting for Chipolte, haha but I was ADAMENT that our parents would not leave with the impression that this is American food.

Dont crucify me, but would the Horizons at the Ameristar be a bad idea...its got food from everywhere, and frankly, it does LOOK impressive...i'm desperate here.

What is a good semi-inexpensive place in the northland for lunch and one dinner on the plaza???

Thank you SO much!

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  1. Chipotle? that's a McD subsidiary isn't it? KC can do better, but food is just a distraction, it's the spirit of hospitality and reconciliation that counts or just do the best you can at home (even better, cook together and share ideas)

    they're prob. as nervous as you are - the gesture is the point.

    Best wishes.

    1 Reply
    1. re: hill food

      Chipotle is not owned by McDonald's any longer

    2. Chappells in downtown NKC would be my choice for lunch
      O'Dowds in Zona Rosa?
      Cheesecake Factory on the Plaza or maybe Hoolihans

      1. Why don't you take them somewhere that is distinctly American, rather than Asian? I think if I was going to Korea, I would want Korean food. I don't know much about Korean food, but don't they eat quite a bit of beef? I think a good BBQ dinner would be a good start. Definitely American, but probably not too exotic.

        1. Don't limit yourself to the Plaza. How about 39th St.? A cool funky KC neighborhood. Pick a restaurant where you can share. Pizza at D"Bronx. Dumplings at Blue Koi. Or the Nelson-Atkins Rozelle Court cafe. The food is fine for lunch and what a great museum. And no, no, no to Chipotle. There is much better Mexican to be had.

          1. I have many Korean ESL students, and over the years we've done a lot of lunching. Absolute NO to Mexican or Italian (including pizza) -- steer clear of cheese. In general, they are not fond of typical American food. They like Japanese food a lot, as well as good Thai and Indian. I'm sure they'd enjoy Chinese food if we had a decent Chinese restaurant in town. They really like excellent fish, simply prepared, so if you have a good fish market, you could cook them up some fish.

            1. I'm Korean and I wouldn't take them to an American Chinese restaurant - too greasy. For good cheap food, they might like Thai, Vietnamese or a good burger. Vietnam Cafe on 39th is great. Unless they are vegetarian, you can't go wrong with beef. You might not be able to afford steak but I would think a good burger with fries is within reach - Fuddruckers or Chef Burger might be fun. If they absolutely need to get a Korean food fix, try Rainbow cafe on Metcalf - it's very casual, well-priced and the food was pretty good when I was there about 6 months ago. Is Horizons the buffet? If so, it's not a bad idea, Koreans love buffets if the food is good.

              1. There are several Korean restaurants in Johnson county, if your parents express a desire for native food. I'm partial to Choga on Metcalf at 103rd, and their lunch is quite reasonable, with several dishes for $8, including banchan and corn tea. They have a large tv, so it's definitely casual dining, but they make up for the lack of atmosphere with great cooking. Another choice down in JOCo, and considerably nicer in atmosphere but equally inexpensive at lunch, is One Bite Grill at 133rd and Antioch, with the shopping center facing south behind a big box store on 135th (Babies R Us?, sorry don't recall which one.) This place has modern decor and the food is Japanese with some Americanized touches, always fresh and delicious, probably appealing to native Koreans.

                If you must stick to the Plaza area, I'd go with Westport, 39th St., or closer to downtown-Korma Sutra, Blanc Burgers and Bottles, Sung Son, Hien Voung or one of the places on Cherry St. You all can judge whether the atmosphere is as important as the food. Do you all have any idea if they want to try American regional food, or are you just going to have to play it by ear once you meet them?

                ETA: http://onebitegrill.com/ http://www.blancburgers.com/ http://redyor.free.fr/com.html

                1 Reply
                1. re: amyzan

                  I want to kind of know ahead of time where we're gunna go...otherwise my chain loving sister will automatically default to the nearest crapplebees.

                2. On Barry Road, a few blocks east of I-29, is a wonderful little restaurant called Malay Cafe. The lunch prices are extremely reasonable, and the food is fantastic. I cannot recommend the place highly enough. I am sure that your Korean parents will be able to find something on the menu that they will like. Have a good visit!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: ragamuffin

                    I second, third and fourth Malay Cafe. They will most definitely find something familiar or enjoyable there. But despite that, it's simply one of the best restaurants in the Northland. I've never had a single bite there that wasn't delicious and unbelievably consistent. In fact, I'd probably say it's the most consistent restaurant I've ever eaten at.

                  2. AS, I am with Heather Kay, above. I have had a number of friends from foreign countries, and when they went out they often wanted to try good American food--they ate food from their own countries at gatherings with family and friends all the time. Barbecue is a good bet, because most countries have some version of that dish, but the American versions are unique. Have a great time!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Jim M

                      How about Strouds? Family style and there is nothing more American than Fried Chicken.

                      1. re: Jim M

                        Ha! We had an optical repairman shipped in to us once from Japan. We, his fellow
                        glass guys decided to take him to a Royal's game w/ Nolan Ryan pitching.
                        We stopped at Bryants and took it to the game where we had a feast in the upper deck. I still remember the strange looks on his face. He enjoyed the game, the Que not so much.
                        Too hot!

                      2. It would be somewhat embarassing to host a meal and watch them push the food around their plates. My suggestion for the first lunch would be someplace serving Asian food where they at least can have decent rice and tea and there's a chance at spicy main dishes. My order of preference would probably be: Korean, Japanese, Thai, Hunan/Schezwan Chinese, Vietnamese. If you discover that they are adventuresome eaters, then I would look for a place that served spicy fried chicken. Perhaps the KFC's in KC have this variety, like they do in my town.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: honu2

                          > Korean, Japanese ...

                          Scratch Japanese. Virtually all Korean nationals hate the Japanese ... taking
                          them to a Japanese restaurant is almost certainly insensitive, possibly

                          1. re: rainsux

                            NO! Older Koreans my hate us, but few Koreans hate our food.

                            asiansensation007, take them to Japanese, Thai, or Vietnamese!

                            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                              asiansensations007, I loved your story.
                              I think its great that you can connect and especially good fortune that you were able to travel to Korea and do what you did.
                              Like a few others, I felt that that the food would be secondary to the reunion itself, but totally understand your anxiety of wanting it to be perfect .

                              Seems that this took place last weekend "coming to Kansas City on Friday afternoon and staying until Saturday evening."
                              Curious to know how things panned out. What did you guys eat restaurant wise and kitchen wise? Were the folks happy (I'd like to know their take on the situation as well)? Were you and your sister happy?

                              Hope I'm not too forward in asking!

                              1. re: porker

                                Me too! I'm dying to know how everything worked from, at least from a food perspective! Hopefully, everything worked out beautifully from a personal perspective, too.


                            2. re: rainsux

                              My experience with Korean Americans and Korean nationals has been that Japanese food is their second preference for ethnic foods. I agree that many older Korean nationals dislike Japan as a nation because of World War 2 , but considering the many number of Korean nationals that now live and work in Japan as well as the number of Japanese restaurants in Japan that employ Korean chefs, I don't think it would be either culturally "insensitive or possibly insulting" to offer to take Korean nationals to a Japanese restaurant in the U.S.

                          2. Wow...
                            I am adopted as well and on the verge of finding my birth parents so I am SO looking forward to hearing your story.
                            I would do BBQ since you are in Kansas City..Gates or Arthur Bryant's are excellent..not too expensive and captures what KC is all about.

                            I am happy to help out monetarily if needed for your meal.

                            All the best to you asiansensation!

                            1. just in case you don't follow the Home Cooking board, an update here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5914...