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African Dream Cuisine

Cherished Aspirations

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Article by Adriane Taylor

Photography by Paul Versluis

Originally published in Johnson County Lifestyle

There is a union of ambitions. It is a merger of ideals, traditions, and passions. It is a great love story that has only been enhanced by the captivation of a sensational meal. For high school sweethearts, Stella Musongong and Neba Ngwa, this transformation of the sentiment of African cuisine is a dream that they have been craving to share with the Kansas City area. It is now their reality.

Since meeting in Cameroon in 1996, Musongong and Ngwa have been best friends. They built their lives together through careers in nursing and sales. Upon moving to the Midwest, their marriage was further strengthened by the birth of their son and the comfort that comes with a thoughtfully prepared meal that brings their close-knit family together. Musongong’s enthusiasm for cooking and developing recipes she inherited from her mother and grandmother has always been at the center of their merriment. Having friends and family gather around the dinner table with an assortment of delicious food often provided them with a stress-free repose. It is an experience they wanted to give to the world. 

"This is how we decided to open our Dream Cuisine, which was only a dream until the management of the Lenexa Public Market gave us this golden opportunity to bring our concept to life," explains Musongong. "Our concept is a simple and exciting one that creates a memorable experience to our customers, and our main goal is assuring their satisfaction and sharing happiness with them."

The first African Dream Cuisine pop-up came to fruition in June 2019 on the second floor of the Lenexa Public Market. It was met with an exceptional turnout. In visiting African Dream Cuisine, patrons can expect a variety of foods displayed buffet style that allow customers to build their own plate at an affordable price. With a variation of eight to 10 items including: coconut-flavored rice, green rice, barbecue chicken, pork ribs, spinach, fried cabbage, fried sweet plantains, steam fried Irish potatoes, bacon/ham/fish rolls, dream sauce and their signature Puff Puff. They encourage guests to name their plates and post it on social media.

Musongong and Ngwa consider themselves the craftsmen with the customers the architect of their plates. In preparing the food, dishes utilize touches of traditional African spices like fuloo (country onions) and jansang paired with ginger, garlic, and black and white pepper that give each dish a distinctively savory taste.

A trip to African Dream Cuisine is not complete without sampling the unique Puff Puff. Puff Puff is a dessert made of a mixture of flour, yeast, sugar and a pinch of salt that is deep fried in vegetable oil. The decadence of this treat is only matched by the touching story behind it. 

"In Africa, where we come from, the frying and selling of Puff Puff is a business that empowered a lot of African women financially to be able to support their families. We have some engineers, doctors, nurses, lawyers, teachers and more who could only make it this far today because their mothers had to fry and sell Puff Puff to pay for their tuition. This is our own humble way to honor those mothers and tell them, thank you," says Musongong.

Musongong and Ngwa are excited about the future of African Dream Cuisine. They are currently offering catering for families as well as office events. In developing and growing their business they foresee great things and hope to expand in 2020 with hiring and training two new Dream master chefs. They are also working on building a delivery network for office launches and are also looking into developing multiple locations. But their focus continues to be their customers, and they even encourage them to write reviews so they can continue to provide stellar service. The Lenexa Public Market will always be their No. 1 location, and they are forever thankful to their Market Family and all the other vendors for their support and encouragement. By extending their joy of cooking Musongong and Ngwa are inviting everyone to partake in their delectable dreams. 

To experience African Dream Cuisine, visit the Lenexa Public Market at 8750 Penrose Ln. Lenexa, KS 66219. For information about their upcoming pop-ups, find them on Facebook @ African Connection, or (913) 963-8737 for their catering line. 

We thrive every day to provide a top-notch customer service to all those who come to eat or those just stopping by to find out about us.

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