Published By: Puja Sinha

Himalayan Delights: The Local Momos of Darjeeling

Momos in the hills is testimony to time and history and recalls days bygone when flavours from further east were brought into the local markets and tweaked delightfully 

Momos are a crucial part of the town’s local gastronomy and tourism and they symbolise the queer blend of taste and tradition ever so beautifully. The food dish came to India with the migration of the Tibetans during the zenith of the political turmoil of 1959. Along with their culture and norms, the Tibetans brought a rich culinary heritage to places like Sikkim, Ladakh, Kolkata, and Darjeeling. In these places, the art of making momos evolved as per local taste.

Today, momos is a quintessential part of the everyday menu for the Himalayan people and to miss it is to give up a slice of the mountain holidays. The variants of the filling add to the craft and creativity of momo-making; from minced veggies to cheese to chocolates, the locals have had their share of audacious experiments to render momos a more mainstream and accessible option.

Momo Types in the Hill 

The dumplings have evolved into different categories of favourites and here they are:

Steamed Momos: With steamed momos, the filling is wrapped in a dough of flour and water and steamed gently. 

Fried Momos: The fried momos are usually deep fried for a crispy texture and golden exterior with a juicy and mouth-watering interior. 

Kothay Momos: The Kothay is a darling variant which is prepared by gentle cooking of the momos in steamed for a soft and well-steamed centre and crunchy outside. To complement the taste, Kothaymomos are served with tomato chutneys. 

Sadeko Momos: The unique Sadeko Momos is a medley of flavours and is made by pan-frying or pan-searing the momos for optimum crunch and crispiness. They are dipped in a blend of Nepali spices for the tanginess. 

The selected ingredients for the seasoning are somewhat basic and constant: salt, grated ginger, and pepper.

Find the Best Momos in Queen of the Hills:

Strolling in the hills, do visit these eateries for your share of the heavenly dumplings.

Soaltee, Mall Road

The Indo-Chinese restaurant is quite old with a reputation for momos—a fact well-evident by the flock of tourists and locals to this eatery. 

Noryang Tibetan Kitchen, Limbugaon

This restaurant is a steep climb away and their plates of fresh, aromatic, and juicy momos are definitely worth the climb. The chefs prepare the momos right from scratch which explains the freshness. 

Kunga Resturant, Gandhi Road

Kunga has a raging popularity for its Tibetan delights and is located just opposite Clun Side Taxi Stand, a well-known landmark. What sets apart Kunga’s momos? The proportionate filling, the optimum cooking, the right texture, and consistency of the skin. Here, momos are put on a divine pedestal which is apparent from the business flourish. 

Chok Resturant, Chauk Bazaar

Chok is a hidden gem and is enveloped in a string of aromas emanating from the kitchen. The momos here are comfort food and could easily lull anyone into a state of peace and poise. Chok famously serves taipho, which is the bigger version of the usual momos: almost thrice the size. This gigantic variation of momo is hearted for the delicious range of fillings cooked by the Nepali, Bhutia, and Lepcha population. 

Gang Jong Restaurant, NB Singh Road

A darling fast-food joint, Gang Jong evokes nostalgia. The place serves Nepali specialities and North Eastern favourites which explains its fond association with momos. The chutney here is a banger for sure.

Some hilly restaurants add a bowl of soup or broth to momos during the colder months whose therapeutic effect perfectly complements the lip-smacking taste of the momos.