AN ELGIN EXCLUSIVE FEATURE
Great things are done when Men & Mountains meet. This is not done by jostling in the street. -William Blake. And the greatest among the things being- The food.
So, you go to a restaurant, look at the 10-page menu, and then order MOMO! There are many meals to choose from, but you won’t skip that one, will you? The official national cuisine of Nepal is gundruk, dhedo, or Dal Bhat, yet we all know Momo is the unofficial national dish of Nepal. Who wouldn’t like these flour pieces bursting with flavor and paired with scrumptious ‘momo ka achar’ or jhol?
Image by Manumint[BUSY], Flickr
Dal bhat is a traditional Nepali staple food consisting of steamed rice and cooked lentil soup dal. It is often served with vegetable tarkari – a mix of available seasonal vegetables. This could be served with yogurt or curry. A small portion of pickle (called achar) is usually included.
Apart from affecting Sikkim’s customs and culture, these nations have also had a significant effect on its food. Sikkim’s cuisine is an explosion of savor and flavor, both to inherent indigenous tastes and those imported from the nearby regions. Some would argue that one of the prime reasons for visiting this state is its distinct and enriched cuisine.
Momos are the delectable appetizer being native to Nepal’s Himalayas, are usually eaten as a street snack. The flavors would mark your head and bring you back just to have another plate of this delicacy.
As we venture down the food lane, the aroma following the people across the streets with plates of succulent-ness, to relish the mountains with a bite of flavor-bombs, is something that cannot be mentioned without a strong remark. Wonder what it is? It’s not that hard to guess, as momos and Sikkim are complementary to one another.
“Interminably waiting to board the cable car, and we were dreadfully peckish”, explained Subha J Rao, a tourist on a trip to Darjeeling. “A guy from the queue stepped out and returned with a plate of noodles, definitely, a signal we were looking for.”
Exchanging the tickets with someone who seemed like they’d weep if they didn’t get a cable car trip, Subha with other tourists headed off to find the source of the decadent plate. And then, she found Urmila and Ambika, two affable women manning a shack that sold noodles, tea, and momos! A match made in the Himalayas!
Image by Natgeotraveller
Tuk means noodles, and thukpa is a nourishing noodle soup that could be devoured for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Ambika presented the momos — eight on a plate — with a spicy chutney, transparent, with a filling of flavors beyond unexplainable. “What is it”, Subha inquired to Urmila, who was busily churning out more to keep up with demand while stirring a batch of instant noodles. “Take a guess,” she said before disclosing what it was. Good old squash! The watery vegetable is coarsely chopped and mixed with garlic and onion before it is ensconced in a casing and steamed. Six dishes of momos, two plates of noodles, and an adrak chai – the order on the table.
Moving across Gangtok, you would hit many stalls and before you know it, you’d find yourself losing the counts on plates with momos.
Himalayan foods – Yak meat and butter tea pop to mind when we think about Himalayan cuisine. However, Himalayan cuisine is more than simply yak meat and tea. Many iconic meals may blow anyone’s mind, ranging from mild to spicy foods, vegetarian curries to delectable meat, and much more.
As momos travelled around the world, its recreations are countless. They could be served with pizza sauce, tomato sauce, cheese but tastes incredible with its authentic irreplaceable spiced tomato red sauce.
Momos, among other things, are Sikkim’s pride and mountains’ companion. Despite being a borrowed dish, the inhabitants of Sikkim have managed to infuse their indigenous tastes and enchantment into the recreation of the momo. While beef and pork are typical fillings, chicken, veggie, and cottage cheese momos are also popular among visitors, as a vast majority of Indians are vegetarian.
If you enjoy traveling as much as the momo did and enjoy tasting new foods, a trip to the Himalayas is a must. And once there, don’t miss out on a tempting quantity of steaming, flavor-packed momos that will leave the taste of these dough balls etched in your memories.