Like gyoza in Japan, gnocchi in Italy, Momo is the Nepali version of dumplings. With an average Nepali consuming at least 4 plates of momos per week, i.e. 40 pieces of momos, it has been declared as the unofficial national dish of Nepal. Hole-in-the-wall eateries serving only momo are as ubiquitous as temples in Nepal. Any comparatively decent restaurant in Nepal will undoubtedly have momo in their menu. Available in several fillings with accompaniment of various types of soups and sauce, and done in different ways, momo is for everyone.
Let us spare you from the ‘okay-ish’ momos and fill you in the top 10 momo places in Kathmandu. Don’t expect swanky eateries, if you want the authentic Nepali momo experience then you need to go where the locals go (oh yeah, carry a hand sanitizer). Many of these eateries don’t have a name, but like Shakespear said, “What’s in a name?”
In the heart of Thamel a recently opened momo joint is drawing crowds for all the right reasons. The small place with modern vibes serves freshly made pork momos with a tasty clear soup - unlike any other place.
- Location: Under Phat Kath, Thamel
When strolling through the junction of Asan Tole make sure to pay a quick visit at the town’s best Halal momo place. Even though to some this place might look a bit sketchy have no fear, these momos are the best halal momos in town served with the owner’s homemade signature tomato soup. They are fat-free, moist and flavorful, and the thick tomato soup is just the crown piece. Also, try their homemade kebab. You won’t be disappointed.
- Location: The place is located inside a small alley in Janabahal, halfway through your stroll from Basantapur to Ason. Finding this place will be an adventure in itself, but don’t give up on the quest. Ask around.
The Shakya couple who run this small family eatery make their momos from scratch, saving you from eating the same frozen momos that many restaurants in Kathmandu procure. The owner himself or his wife will serve you their freshly made buff momo and let it be up to the customer whether they like to add their homemade cold soup on top. If you take my advice you’ll add it.
- Location: It is located right in front of the Kathmandu Durbar Square before entering the famous Freak Street.
Nothing gets as local as this place. You will smell the momos before you even reach the doors. The door that is covered in emerald curtains, opens up to a room the size of a matchbox and two tables filled with townsmen having their lunch. Their buff momos here have been receiving raving reviews from everyone ever since it’s opening. The momos are big, juicy and succulent. Paired with peanut and tomato sauce, they are small balls of heaven in your mouth. Do try the other very famous dish here. It is a steamed meat patty, topped with poached eggs. Delicious!!
- Location: Kaigunani, Gabahal, Patan. Take the alley opposite A.N.F clothing store.
Now, here is something for the vegetarians! Filled with well-seasoned cottage cheese, the momo is soft and juicy. Pair your portion with their tomato sauce and gobble it up. The place itself is not very big and thus lingering after your meal is not entertained. When done with the momo, don’t forget to try their kheer (rice sweet pudding) – yum!
- Location: When you reach Kupondole from Thapathali, you will see a small temple adjacent to the footpath. The alley behind the temple is where your destination lies.
This is a no-nonsense eatery tucked inside one of the building in New Road. Their menu includes undoubtedly the best pork momo in town. The rule here is to order, eat, and leave. The seating is limited, and they clearly have too many people to cater to. Enjoy the food!
- Location: From New Road enter the road leading to Khichapokhari. Look out for a Shiva Linga on your left. Amidst musical instrument stores, you will find the board that indicates New Dish.
Everest momo is still one of the most popular momo places in Kathmandu, decades after it first opened its store. Affordable and perfectly seasoned, these momos are perfect for those who have never had a Nepali momo before and don’t know what to expect. Accompanied with a soupy sauce, the locals call it vyar-vyare momo and are a delight in every mouthful.
- Location: Patandhoka, Patan
The restaurant is known for their open momo. Available with three different dips, sweet, tangy, and peanut based, each one equally complements the main dish to make it a hero. Try filling each hole on the open momo with a sauce to bring out the best in flavor.
- Location: Teku, Kathmandu
Another typical small momo shop with no seating arrangement but I assure you, you will enjoy the momos and different sauces just as much standing. If you take my advice you’ll mix the two sauces for an explosion in your mouth!
- Location: Opposite Suraj Arcade in Basantapur Durbar Square.
Before you head off to these momo destinations, remember that momo is a very delicate dish, so try not to break it to pieces. Savor every spoonful of it. Since momos are made in batches, you have no control over the spices, but don’t let that dissuade you. Bon Appetit!