Momos, which is also known as dimsums made its first appearance on the Delhi streets sometime around 2004-5. Till date, our Nepali brothers have continued their monopoly on the momos that are widely available on the Delhi streets. Initially, some of our Nepali brothers used to sell them from cycles. There used to be one such vendor in the New Friends Colony Community Centre. He used to place a wooden board on the cycle carrier atop which the burner and the momo stand was kept. The burner was lit from a small cylinder that was placed on the ground.
Gradually, momos were being sold from small counters made of plywood. A lot of shops started giving away a little bit of area to the momo sellers, and soon Delhi became flooded with the momo counters, so much so that they became a part of popular Delhi culture. Remember that scene from Anurag Kashyap’s film Dev D, where Abhay and Kalki are seen enjoying a plate of momo?
In order to survive the competition, the momo vendors started replacing chicken with soyabean in chicken momos. Gradually, the carrots also started disappearing from the vegetable momos. In last ten years, the scene is such that there are only a few momo vendors, who genuinely sell chicken momo now. One sits opposite the 3C’s complex at Lajpat Nagar and another is next to Deepauls’s at Janpath Market. The momo sellers of Sector 18, Atta Market, are also decent, although not sure about the quality of the chicken in the momos, and also whether it is the taste of the chicken or the monosodium glutamate in it. There are more, but they are so few that they can be counted on the finger tips. The only other places other than the counters, where proper chicken stuffed momos are available are the vans that sell Chinese food. They are sold from Rs 70 to Rs 110 a plate. Some such vans are Garden Café opposite Lodhi Garden, there is one at Jangpura Extension and one at the beginning of the road leading to Hauz Khas Village.
How a soyabean stuffed boiled dish became a rage in Delhi is nothing less than a curious case of Benjamin Button. So, how did the oil-fried and spicy loving Delhittes fell in love with momos? The first innovation that happened with the Tibetian and Oriental momos was that the accompanying spicy chutney became spicier; corn floor was mixed to add to its consistency and mayonnaise was also served with the chutneys. The biggest innovation was momos were fried and also made in tandoor.
Now, hold your breath, if you thought that was enough then you were wrong. A momo vendor opposite Jangpura sells butter brushed momos. Yes, you read that right. Butter-dripping momos just like your malai tikka.Good or bad, but you definitely cannot ignore the Delhi momos.