In the good old days, just a couple of months ago, when walking in the neighbourhood was a pleasurable activity, I used to marvel at the enterprise of some of our people. They would stand at a busy corner of my residential colony, next to a small stand that carried an aluminium steamer. Inside it were hot momos — filled with minced chicken or vegetables. Those days when social distancing happened only if you had conjunctivitis, people would stand next to the young vendor, and have their fill of momos.
Nnow that walking occupies a spot somewhere between human trafficking and smuggling, I don’t go out — and I am certain the momo sellers don’t stand where they used to, either. It’s human nature to yearn for something that you don’t see any more. I had been wistfully thinking of momos — when I heard about Momo King.
It’s a momo outlet with five branches and a base kitchen in Okhla (selling mostly momos, but there are other times on the menu, too) and it delivers across south Delhi and Gurugram (9999377811). A representative tells me that a strict hygiene regimen is followed by all staffers, including delivery men.
I looked at the menu and realised the momos, with fillings of chicken, vegetables, cheese and minced soya, were steamed, pan-fried, cooked in a tandoor, coated with masala or presented in gravy.
Momo King deals with Himalayan momos — so it offers dimsums from Darjeeling, Nepal, Ladakh and so on. The sandheko momos are spicy and tangy pan-fried dumplings; the jhol momo comes in a thick curry and the kothey are Nepali momos pan-fried and dipped in butter.
You can ask for a plate of five or eight. We went for the five-momo plates, and asked for Steamed Chicken Masala (₹119), Darjeeling Chicken Kothey (₹129), Cheese Jhol Momo (₹169), Darjeeling Chicken Tandoori Momo (₹169), and Spicy Choila or Steamed Veg Momo (₹129). Along with that, we ordered a plate of Hakka Chicken Noodles (₹169).
I particularly liked the Jhol Momo; the gravy had softened the dumpling, while giving it a zing. The Choila Veg Momo had a spicy coating, which we all enjoyed. The stuffing in each of the momos was lightly flavoured, which was nice.
I now hear that the menu is expanding from June 10. It will then offer Malaysian Laksa momos, with a spicy coconut curry broth, and meal boxes (momos, curries, rice or noodles and hot sauces).
Wheat momo Photo: Special Arrangement
It will also include wheat momos, Ladakhi mutton momos, beetroot momos, spicy cottage cheese momo, chicken and water chestnut, soya-and-nut free momos with spinach, corn and mushrooms and even Tibetan pork momos.
The rates are reasonable. I paid ₹690, and had quite a nice meal of momos and noodles. The noodles, however, were a little too dry.
Very recently, someone asked me what I thought a true pan-Indian street food item is. I said it was the momo. You find it everywhere in India, and every neighbourhood has its own small momo corner.
Momos are wholesome and fill the stomach. And if you want, you can experiment with the casing, and the filling.
The writer is a seasoned food critic