Trails of a Momo Maniac

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

http://www.cafereena.com.np/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/pg4-momo.jpg

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.

http://dhokaimacafe.com/index.php?page=about-us

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.

© itiriti

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4 responses

  1. Momos Point is an offshoot of Moti Tea Stall. In 1998 the lane where the present eateries described, are located, did not have any. Moti Tea Stall was the only eating joint with a few unmemorable ones offering not competition but compensation in case Moti Tea Stall had run out of its wares. The speciality then was mutton momos which came for Rs 25, a princely sum for students in those days.

    All the eateries served mutton momos which were more popular than their chic-(ken) counterparts.The complementary hot soup with a garnish of coriander at Moti Tea Stall, was a must if you had runny nose. Else, the fruit beer was there to slake thirst. Other sundry items included omelette, toast, pastries, and of course the tea (I never tried it).

    Nowadays the soup has disappeared. Sometime around 2000, to our dismay, Moti Tea Stall shut down.The reason trotted out was that the Kamlanagar Traders Association (KTA) had objected to the sale of non vegetarian items in an area which predominantly housed pious god fearing Hindu vegetarians. After hectic parleys,(and the choicest of abuses hurled to KTA by die hard customers) it was decided that the non-veg vertical of Moti Tea Stall would be relocated to another premise.

    Momos Point was born. In the end it was economics which won over gastronomics. The proprietors are the two brothers who look alike and manage the counter nowadays. One of them had a MSc. degree in Phsyics from DU. For aspiring Physic’s undergraduates, the joke at that time was if successful, good, else one could always open a Momo joint.

    Momos Point might be doing good business, but the charm and ambience of Moti Tea Stall is missing. Crowds have increased, tastes have changed. Mutton momos are not available anywhere.

    The metamorphosis from a breakfast joint to a proper Chinese fast food zone is a bit unnerving for those who bore witness to this transition at the turn of the millennia. The only trace of Moti Tea Stall in Momos Point is Kailash ji, the person who used to serve at Moti Tea Stall and is still around at Momos Point. Maybe someone should chronicle his experience of the change.

    P.S. Moti Tea Stall still exists. Walk straight down the lane from Momos Point and hit the road to bada Gol Chakkar. Cross over and you will find it tucked in a corner.

    Its high time we had tea at Moti Tea Stall.

    • hello, thanks for the comment and sharing with us the history of Momos Point. I was not aware of this. Now that you have told us about Moti Tea stall its time for a treat there. By the way has Chinese Hut shut down?

  2. Dear Itiriti

    I waxed nostalgic after reading the piece on Momos Point. I thought I would take the liberty to draw up its genealogical tree for the benefit of others who might not know its pedigree.

    Thanks for spurring me to respond in this manner. Hope that such collaborative exercises will enhance the content and scope of Itiriti and benefit one and all.

    Looking forward to more such food for thought.

    Zing-Zing-bar

    • Dear Zing-Zing-bar,

      Good to know that the post made you nostalgic and share with us the making of Momos Point. Looking forward to your comments and many more fruitful insights.

      Itiriti

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