Food for a Quid: Spicy Buff Momo, Kathmandu, Nepal.

You don’t have to spend long in Nepal to realise that momo make the world go round: delicious, meaty dumplings in a super-light dough, they’re reminiscent of the northern Chinese jiaozi, and arguably ancestrally related to all the filled pastas of Europe from Turkish mantı westwards.

Traditionally, momo are served either steamed, fried, kothey (fried on one side only), or in soup, but nowadays they are also served “spicy”, AKA, in sauce.

Spicy buff (buffalo) momo at Momo Star, Kathmandu, Nepal.

These are “buff” (buffalo meat) momo, served in a sauce of tomato, bell pepper and chilli peppers at the excellent Momo Star in Thamel, Kathmandu, for 130 Nepalese Rupees.

The verdict? Buffalo makes an outstanding momo filling, the best alternative to pork out there, and the dumplings are succulent and juicy, with a flavour-packed filling. The sauce is simple and unsubtle, a variant on the pasta sauces tourists brought with them, and could do with a bit more by way of herbs and flavouring: the momo would arguably work better served with vinegar, jiaozi style.

All in all, though, it’s a filling, nutritious, flavoursome meal. Although I think Momo Star’s more traditional variations on the theme are better.

THE VERDICT
Cost: 130 Nepalese Rupees (93p)
Flavour: 6.5/10
Presentation: 6/10

If you’re in Kathmandu, you can find Momo Star at the Thamel Road end of Z Street, on the left as you walk down from Thamel Road.

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Comments: 4

  1. Alyson November 15, 2012 at 10:44 am Reply

    You’re taking me back a bit now! We stuck to veg momos on trek but had buff a few times in Kathmandu. We even went on a Tibetan cooking course in Dharamsala and learnt the art of the momo. I’ve never been able to get it right at home, neither has my husband ( chef) Love my momos and dahl bhat!
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    • Theodora November 15, 2012 at 10:51 am Reply

      They don’t seem THAT different from Beijing jiaozi, which we’ve managed to make relatively successfully (although the dough is a bugger to get right): I think the art there is keeping the water temperature just below boiling so that they don’t fall apart… famous last words, obviously. The veg momo don’t quite do it for either of us. I keep comparing them to Beijing jiaozi, or buff, and finding them wanting.

      I love dhal bhat as well. I’d like to say that I couldn’t get tired of it, although, given that we’re likely to be trekking for over a fortnight, I think I probably will….

  2. Daniel McBane December 15, 2012 at 9:25 pm Reply

    I definitely preferred Buffalo to Vegetable Momos too. I once tried tuna momos (canned tuna, of course). Big mistake–tuna does not go with the other flavors at all.
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    • Theodora December 19, 2012 at 10:22 am Reply

      I was never brave enough to try those. Cooked canned tuna is kinda disgusting in most circumstances, and I could only imagine it being vile in momo…

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