When June in Jackson Heights approached me to do ‘something‘ for their yearly series of events, I looked into my bag of tricks (which I’ve been delving into a lot lately (World Record Crawl, Taco Bell vs Mexican Restaurant Mexican Comparison Tour – you’ll read about them soon), and pulled out my Momo Crawl.
The idea is to have one (1) momo from every Himalayan restaurant in the neighborhood. It wasn’t until I counted that I realized that this was an incredible task! In the last 4 years, the size of the Nepalese and Tibetan population has ballooned. As of June 2012, there were FIFTEEN Himalayan restaurants serving momos. – And if you don’t know what momos are, CHECK OUT THIS!
These cultures are very important to me. Most of the people have been wonderful at any of our interactions, and what I’ve seen are nothing but peaceful, hard working, and creative people. I expect big things from these new immigrants, but they need your help and support. First, however,let me tell you something: Whenever I do tours, EVERYONE loves Nepalese food. It’s like Indian food, but kinder. And as for ordering, it’s sooooo simple. Let me introduce you again to the THALI PLATE. You can eat like a local by simply ordering momos or a thali plate. Over half of all customers order this. It is too easy to fit in.
Our great turnout yielded 3 groups of 8 to do the Momo Crawl. Each group would traverse the neighborhood and get ONE order of momos from each purveyor – figuring that the standard for an order is 8 momos, everyone in the group would eat ONE single momo from each place. I did not tell any of the restaurants we were doing this because I figured one plate of momos shouldn’t overwhelm anyone. It didn’t, but that didn’t mean there weren’t some translation troubles (like when Group 2 mistakenly ordered 8 separate orders of momos from Himalayan Yak!) — just another day in Jackson Heights…
Below is my map. The goal was to get all the info on paper and get a general path going. Here I drew 2 plates of 8 dumplings each, with each restaurant and address written on a dumpling, in the order of our route going clockwise. I knew the directions were totally awry, so I made sure someone in the group knew where each place actually was.
Congrats to Chris, Peter, this girl below, and myself from Group 3 and 7 of the members of Group 1 including Erika, Jenn, Richard and Loren who completed the entire 15 momo Momo Crawl. I knew it would be tough, and even I had moments of potential breaking down where I questioned if I could make it, realizing that this was an incredibly stupid idea… I’m not sure how Group 1 did it, but for our Group 3, it was after a genius idea (by me) to do the 2nd half of orders by walking in a giant circle twice: First to order the momos at all the restaurants, and then again to pick them up and eat them. This worked much better than ordering and waiting at each spot. We ended up doing the last 6 in 30 minutes.
Group 3 winners (excluding me) at Bhim’s Cafe:
I learned that momos are generally simple forms, but the Nepalese versions are more likely to have some sort of curry spice inside. I also learned that everyone likes momos.
Favorite momos? I think Woodside Cafe, Tawa Foods, Tibetan Mobile, Laliguras, Bhims, and Peace Cafe showed the best. At least that narrows it down for you.
What’s next? How about every time there is a new entrant to the momo mix, we do another crawl?