The moment you exit the Janak Puri West Metro Station, two different aromas will greet you. The first being that of the mouth watering Kathi Rolls and the second one would be of this humble delicacy called Momos. The metro station at Janak Puri (West) is just one of the countless spots where Momo-wallas operate. All it takes for a Momo walla to set up his stall is a rickety stool and a steamer. Ah, I forgot to mention the countless hungry faces that surround the stall in utter desperation.
A plate of veg Momos will cost you somewhere around 30 bucks/ plate and Chicken Momos (they’re a mixture of chicken and soyabean) cost somewhere around 40 or 50 bucks/ plate. The mushrooming of these small but popular dedicated stalls and outlets selling Momos sheds light on the common Delhi guy’s love for it. The city has become a home to many standalone kiosks with Momos as the main item on offer. The fact that Momos are relatively cheaper when compared with Kathi Rolls and sandwiches has also added to the overall popularity of it.
Right from the hustle and bustle of the commercial town to the outskirts of the city, the Momo has made inroads everywhere. They’re all-pervasive. The stall from where I buy Momos used to be the only stall in the area till 2015, but presently, the stall is facing tough competition from as many as 10-12 stalls. More competition has given way to innovative fillings as the guy now sells mushroom Momos as well and I just love them. Well, it has also ensured that the quality remains good.
I’ve had chats with my friends who belong to the so-called Momo creed, and they say they love Momos because it isn’t very expensive and it is something that fills their stomach when they’re dying of hunger. I’ve met food entrepreneurs who supply them to Momo vendors who steam them up and sell them with red hot chilli sauce and white mayo to customers who never seem to get enough of them. There was a time, not too long ago, when people associated Momos with the Northeast. Well, some do it even today, but today Momos have become an integral part of the menu cards.
There was a time when Chole-Bhature, a deep fried Indian bread served with hot Chickpea curry used to be the favourite dish of Delhi residents. But, with time the love for Chole bhature has given way for easy to eat dish, the Momo.
There was a time when the humble Momo was confined to the menus of Chinese restaurants and star-rated hotels only. However, of late Momo has become a street phenomenon. The thing that deserves a special mention over here is Momo has surpassed the geographical and cultural differences; the Momo has made its way right from the stomachs of the Delhiites to their hearts.
These stalls have now become an industry unto themselves. Hygiene is certainly not a priority for the legendary Momo walla, who sits right outside the Janak Puri West Metro Station. The guy has a team of 3 people who make hundreds of Momos everyday for crowd that waits atleast 15 minutes next to an open drain in order to be served. Momo business, he says is doing wonders. The old momo steamer is the busiest appliance at the stall.
Momo business requires very little investment. All one requires is a steamer and a bag full of Momos, that’s all. The Momo has come a long way and it looks like it’s here to stay as the favourite fast food for a long time. But we Delhiites have very dynamic taste buds, which crave for change every now and then. Maybe Momo will too, one day lose its popularity to, say, something like pasta. But till then, all we can do is dip a steaming hot Momo in red hot chilli sauce and mayo. Let us just savour its taste.