Last evening musing over my culinary journey in Nepal I fondly made a statement that “Everybody should visit Nepal to eat momos”. Nepal is a momo-maniac’s paradise. Having spent my formative years in bustling North Campus of Delhi University – which houses some of the city’s best and cheapest momo joints my taste buds were introduced to this delightful dish in a small Tibetan joint near Rabindra Sadan Metro Station Kolkata.
When I moved to Delhi, outings with friends meant going for momos. I remember fondly our first visit from our paying guest accommodation on a fatal Tuesday evening to spare ourselves the torture of “Puri( fried bread) and Chchole(Chickpea curry)” all the way to Knags( Kamala Nagar) a shopping place close to North Campus, University of Delhi for a plate of momos with our seniors. Momo’s Point clearly has stood the test of the time. Many places have come and gone in this lane of Kamala Nagar but it has never matched to the popularity of this joint which is famous among people across ages in North Campus. Mostly frequented by students, Momo’s Point serves momos of three different fillings: chicken, pork and vegetarian. Though I have not tasted the vegetarian momoes because I think they taste the best in Kalimpong bus stand, a hill station on the way from Siliguri to Darjeeling rest of the momos are heavenly. The momos are served with a fiery red hot sauce.
Momo’s Point is housed in a lane close to Mac Donald’s if you come from Hansraj side. Tell any rickshaw puller from the university that you want to go to Momos’s Point he would take you and drop you near Macdonald’s from where you will walk into a lane where either a cow or a bunch of flies will graciously greet you on your way to Momo’s Point. This lane is hugely popular among students. Though joints have come with Tandoori Momoes I like steamed momoes and Kothey (half steamed and half fried). If you want to taste a special sauce that goes well with momos; you have to visit Noodles nestled in the same lane as Momo’s Point. Along with the fiery red hot sauce they also serve a mild sauce which cools the hotness of the red sauce.
I was hugely disappointed when Belle Momos (a momo joint hugely popular in Kathmandu) made a quite entry and exit from Delhi. They served momos with mustard sauce and fiery red hot sauce. In Kathmandu there are several places where I gorged on Momos but my favourite picks in Kathmandu are Belle Momos, Durbar Marg, Kathmandu and Dhokaima Cafe, Patan Dhoka Lalitpur. Unlike the momoes that I have eaten in Kalimpong, North Campus, Delhi University and Tibetan eateries in Majnu ka Tila ( a Tibetan Settlement in North Delhi) the momos in Nepal are not only served with mustard and the red hot fiery sauce but also the fillings are pre-cooked. Belle Momos is primarily a momo- cafe and serves more than 35 varieties of momos from our very familiar chicken, mutton momos, pork momos to even low cholesterol momos. And there are lot more exciting options for vegetarians as well. Check out the link to believe it
As I finished a meeting with a group of colleagues and friends they decided to satiate my momo appetite they made me walk for 20 min to reach Dhokaima Cafe, Patan Doka nestled in the heart of Kathmandu and yet far away from the madding crowd. It sits pretty with open air cafe, a book store, an art gallery and even a bar. When you walk into Yalamay Kendra you enter a different world. And Dhokaima Cafe sits pretty with an old world charm. The official web portal of the cafe tells us that the building was built in 1920 and it was used as a store to a Rana’s palace. Well, one of my close friends from Nepal had told me that apparently he had heard from somewhere that the cafe actually used to be a horse stable. Well kings have various fancies and kings had horses so they needed horse stables. But whatever it was the cafe has been beautifully re-done by architect Siddharth Gopalan to reflect the old world charm. Even though their website menus does not mention of momos they do serve momos and some amazing fresh summer juices which are absolute heavenly. Dhokaima Cafe is a place where you can unwind your day with a plate of momos and your favourite drink. For details on Dhokaima Cafe visit the following link.
So, it’s time when you are next in Nepal go beyond Thamel to Durbar Marg and Patan Doka to these two places to gorge on Momos. If you are a momo maniac and if you have the money and desire for momos give yourself a momo holiday in Nepal and combine it a trip with Pokhra to shred those extra calories. And for all those who made fun of my travel plans to Nepal for momos should remember that the most exciting historical voyages were about the trail for spices. So, momo maniacs it’s time we head towards the momo city of all times- Kathmandu.