Food from Nepal: Momos (tourist version)

Plate of momo in Nepal
A plate of Nepalese Momos
A plate of Nepali Momos

Momos are one of the most addictive & tasty foods you can find in Nepal

Ask many a tourist what their favourite food in Nepal is and there’s a strong chance they’ll reply “Momos!” There’s a good reason for this. Momos in Nepal are delicious!

There’s also a substantial difference in tourist or upper scale momos and locally made momos in Nepal. I’ll cover real locally made momos later, for now this type of momo is commonly found in tourist restaurants and in mid scale Nepalese cafes.

What is a momo?

A momo is made from thin flour pastry with a filling inside. It’s essentially a little dumpling.

Momos are found in Nepal and Tibet. There are many other variations around the world though from India and China all the way to Europe. But in Nepal the momo does have some unique attributes and variations worth mentioning.

What types of momo are there?

The most common types of momo are the steamed kind. There’s also a popular fried momo.

Close up of Momos from Nepal
Chicken Momos from Nepal up close

Popular momos include:

  • Chicken momos
  • Vegetable momos
  • Buff momos
  • Cheese momos (usually “Yak” cheese in Nepal)
  • Momo soup
Momos are often severed with a dip. In this case it’s a light masala dip.

Where to find the best momos in Nepal

The best place to find momos in Nepal is where ever they are freshly cooking them. The worst place is some side cafe that has them sitting there all day in a low-grade electric steamer.

Many locals will have their favorite place to get momos and will tell you to avoid other places. Saying things like the chicken momos from a certain restaurant are made from claws, beaks and skin. This is typical of Nepali favoritism. Take it with a grain of salt.

Momos can be greasy so watch out for your waistline

Avoid expensive restaurant momos or small hotel momos as they are likely to be expensive due to the long time it takes to make and cook a momo.

Tourist momo’s can run anywhere between 150 to 600 rupees a plate! There’s really no reason or need to be paying over 300 rupees. The momos photographed here are all under 150 rupees a plate.

How to make your own momo!

There are three key things to make momo. A Steamer. Thin pasty shells which are much easier to buy than make yourself. And, typical momo spice. Without these, it’s not really possible!

  • All-purpose flour 1 kg
  • Water – for dough 4 cups
  • Minced (ground) meat 1 kg – or cheese/veg substitute)
  • Shallot/spring onion – finely chopped
  • Onion – 1 tablespoon finely chopped
  • Ginger ½ cup
  • Garlic paste 1 tablespoon
  • Oil 2 tbsp
  • Cumin powder (to taste)
  • Garam masala (to taste)
  • Salt (to taste)

Steam momos for 10-15 minutes! 

Garam masala is one of the key ingredients for momo. You can find it at most Nepali or Indian supermarkets or in Ason Chowk.

Later on I’ll cover local momos which are a little different to these tourist or mid scale momos. Which are better? The one’s featured here!

 This is an additional article highlighting food from Nepal

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19 Replies to “Food from Nepal: Momos (tourist version)”

  1. I’ve never been to Nepal, however maoniu momo (yak dumplings) were definitely my favorite food in Tibet!

    In China there is something similar, people generally refer to them as 饺子 (jiao zi) even though there are three kind of dumplings (steamed, fried and boiled) and each of them has a specific name which I forgot.

    My favorite place to eat them are crowded (no touristic) small restaurants (usually about ten small tables and no bathroom) where you can have 15 of them for less than 2 USD.

    p.s. great photo

    You want to choose the crowded places because 1) if locals go there it means it’s good 2) The meat is fresh as they make a lot of dumplings every day

    1. Thanks for the great insight into Tibetan and Chinese dumplings!

      In a few weeks I’ll be writing up about “local” Nepalese momos. It would be interesting to hear from you about if you think they are closer to Tibetan and Chinese dumplings. I’ll include more photos!

  2. Funny, we just had exactly the same thing in a typical Japanese restaurant. This seems to be something South East Asian countries have in common. I enjoy these fried too.

  3. The food has a lot in common with Japanese dumplings. Also, I know some with the same recipe only being fried.

  4. Momos!!!! I waited so patiently for this post! I would add that my most favorite plate of momos was in a cafe in Dharamsala run by Tibetans. They were just incredible – potatoe and cheese served with a really spicy sauce. I ate them enjoying the view of the Dalai Lamas residence. I never did like the Buff (too greasy) or the fried (again to greasy). What to do? I am in Germany – not a Momo in sight :-(

  5. Momo fan here. Took a Tibetan cooking class in Dharamsala & learned how to make them.

    Elle– we probably had them in the same cafe. There’s one cafe which had awesome momo soup and momo platters. I went there a lot within a month’s time.But being a Tibetan town, there were a lot of momos around. Street vendor to cafes and each place had a slightly different flavor.

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