Whether the reason be for the fast food or the taste, momo is that famous food of Nepalese that anyone can hardly resist. Originally a type of dumpling where a grinned meat mixed with various spices and vegetable is covered with a dough, today we get its variety from mixed vegetable to banana, and we won’t be wrong to say momo as an unofficial national food of Nepal!
Said to have brought in Nepal by Newar merchants from Tibet in the course of trans-himalayan trade, this dumpling has been modified to fit the taste of what we call a Nepali taste! This momo was so dear to the Newar community that they even added ‘cha’ after the name of momo (Newars add ‘cha’ at the end of the name to call their dear ones) therefore calling it ‘momocha’. However, the popularity of momo was not widespread until two decades earlier as it is today, probably due to economic condition, and were limited to Kathmandu and some selected places. Today still it has to penetrate the remote places of Nepal. Nevertheless, with the increasing popularity that time is not far to declare momo as Nepal’s national food.
Momo has not only been a favourite food for many Nepalese but also a fortune fetcher for many. The price of momo that was NRs. 10-20 per plate, obviously 10 pieces!, two decades before but now it is sold as lowest being NRs. 80 to highest being NRs. 600 that ranges from small momo restaurant including ‘thelas’ to 5 star hotels. Despite the skyrocketing price of momo we will not stop to order a plate of it after spending considerable amount of time in the restaurant’s menu and whatever the price we pay for, momo is the dearest fast food for us! Albeit using unhygienic food materials such as excessive fat, momo is one of the hygienic fast food we Nepalese can get among our Nepalese delicacy as it uses almost no oil to get it cooked and contains meat which is rich in proteins and other vegetables rich in vitamins, fiber and other nutrients also accompanied by either an achhar (spicy dip made of tomatoes, peanuts, etc) and or soup made of either tomatoes, or bone marrow.
With the establishments of thousands of momo places around Kathmandu there might be the confusion about where to go and eat the momo with satisfaction. Of course you pay for it and you need to get satisfied! I am as worried as you are to get best momo in this crowded Kathmandu, therefore I use three indicator i.e. taste/quality, quantity, and price with respect to ambience which allows me to decide whether to come back or search a new place for momo. With my eight years experience of eating momo in Kathmandu, I will here reveal some of my favorite place to have momo eventually based upon above mentioned three indicators with emphasis on less fat option. For the price range of up to 150 delicious momo of Jamal (C momo cost a bit more), kharlyoom momo of Sukhedhara are to die for. In my experience of taking over dozen of friends in these two places, hardly anyone disliked it. Quantity of momo that they give is sufficient for your tummy unless you are that ‘Food Kumbhakarna!’.
If you want to try a bit different taste of jhol momo (soup dipped) then you can go to solu sherpa khaja ghar located at Gabahal inside the premises behind NMB bank ATM. They offer the thukpa type jhol momo giving the option to add red pepper paste, garlic, soya sauce and salt! For the fat free option the sandar momo located at Sankhamul and shree banglamukhi swadista mahabharat momo situated at Patan Dhoka is the better option.
Similarly, above the price range of 150, barely anyone can resist the jhol momo of Le Trio located at Sanepa. You will get that quantity and taste with the price fitting the ambience.
In addition to this, the jhol momo of highland beans coffee located in Kathmandu and Lalitpur is better option if you prefer very thick jhol. For the momo adventurer who like to taste variety of momo, Sinka located at Kumaripati and Bota located in various places of Kathmandu can be a good option, however these two option didn’t do well on my three indicator momo test.