Momos are a new favorite for us from our visit to Nepal, so I was delighted to find a couple of Bay Area restaurants serving them. But, some first-hand experience was needed to compare the Bay Area offerings.
What are Momos?
Momos are a type of steamed dumpling originating in a region covering Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, and northern India. They are typically round or crescent-shaped, similar to a pot-sticker. Fillings vary from spiced minced meat (pork, chicken, turkey, goat, lamb or buffalo), chopped vegetables, or even cheese and are usually served with a tomato-based dipping sauce. I find the wrapper especially nice as they are generally thinner than those used in pot-stickers, providing more of a spotlight on the flavorful contents within.
Momo Grill in Saratoga
On the corner of Prospect and Sunnyvale-Saratoga Road, the Momo Grill had the nice, quiet ambiance of a neighborhood bistro. Alongside the namesake dumplings, the menu featured Indian food and, oddly, chow mein. We tried the chicken and chili momos, the latter being fried in a spicy sauce. Both were very good and a decent representation of what we tasted in Kathmandu. Free parking was easily found in front of the bistro. For our many South Bay friends, I think this place is worth a stop. Map.
Bini’s in SF
I first learned about Bini’s from an article about cheap eats in SF. Needless to say, I had to stop in the next time we were passing through The City. Located at 6th and Howard, Bini’s is only open for lunch, so some planning may be required. The menu here was fairly simple, with a choice of turkey, lamb or veggie momos along with a few other Nepalese staples. We had some tasty turkey and veggie dumplings with an order of “pork chhoila”, a fantastic, spicy, fried pork dish served with rice. Of course, some roti (bread) was a nice accompaniment, too. Free and paid street parking is available nearby. It is also only a few blocks from the Moscone Convention Center. So, if you find yourself “hangry” around lunch while attending a conference, consider checking it out. Map.
Momo To Go
No time to cook? You can order a 40 momo dinner pack online (link) from Bini’s and pick them up on 1001 Howard Street, another outpost for them. From the Momo Grill in Saratoga, you can order to go. Momos can be a nice way to cover dinner or, for the next party you get invited to, dump the chips and salsa and be a hero by showing up with momos. Everyone will want to try them and no one else will be bringing them.
What dumplings are you craving?