The moment you exit the Janak Puri West Metro Station, a myriad of aromas will greet you. The first being that of the mouth-watering Chicken 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 soybean) 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 the snack. 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 popularity of it.
Right from the hustle and bustle of the big city to the serenity of a hill station, the momo has made inroads everywhere. It’s 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 soybean momos as well, and I just love them. Well, it has also ensured that the quality of the momos being served 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 across the country.
Served with red, hot chilli sauce, the momo has become everybody’s favourite. It is available everywhere. The kiosk outside the metro station at Janak Puri (West) is my destination when I de-board the rapid transit at 8 pm. Hygiene doesn’t make it to my priority list when I stand there, in front of his kiosk, in order to be served.
The guy has a team of two people who serve momos to a hungry crowd that desperately waits right next to an open gutter for it to be served. The stall sells noodles as well, but momos remain the most popular dish at the stall.
Momos are cheap because they require very less investment. A stall selling momos can be set up on a shoestring budget. That is exactly why its popularity has grown by leaps and bounds. Moreover, it requires fewer ingredients and is easy to make.
When the momo began gathering heat a few years ago, people in Darjeeling and Nepal, driven by unemployment began feeding people and propelled the growth of the delicacy.
In June this year, a Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) legislator named Ramesh Arora called for a ban on momos. His campaign got the Twitterati buzzing. He demanded the popular dish to be banned because it contains Monosodium Glutamate, a cancer-causing substance.
While Arora was busy campaigning against the humble dumpling, he couldn’t make people stop eating this delicious and ‘addictive’ snack. Banning it sounds a bit too harsh. If momos are harmful, one can always make them at home. Despite all the criticism, momo joints across the capital continue to flourish because no matter where they come from, they’ll always remain a common Delhi guy’s favourite comfort food/snack. So, forget everything and dip a steaming hot momo in chilli sauce and savour its taste.