Cute, Tasty, Comforting, Darling Momo

-- Niru Tripathi, The Nepali Times Australia / प्रकाशित मिति : मङ्लबार, फाल्गुन २१, २०७५

“What have you brought for lunch today?”

This is a question often asked by my colleagues as the lunch time approaches. If your Nepalese colleague has not brought lunch from home, more often than not, he or she will be getting some Momos for sure.

And what happens when there are Momos for lunch? Simply, you go for lunch together and share the momos with your workmates!

That’s the beauty of Momos—you can’t eat them without sharing! They bring compassion, unity and harmony apart from their mouth-watering taste. They bring everyone together from any part of the world.

A few months back, I wanted to take my intern out for lunch to thank him on his last day. Naturally, I took him to a Nepalese restaurant. I didn’t expect him to be familiar with Nepalese cuisine. As we sat down, he glanced at the menu and said, “Why don’t we go for Momos?”

Reading my surprised reaction, he smiled back and asked, “Isn’t Momo your most popular food?”

That’s the recognitions Momos have gained around the world. Momos have overwritten the history or origins of cuisines and earned the label of ‘popular Nepalese cuisine’.

I have encountered many situations where I am reminded of the love for Momos by friends from other countries. Last year, I met one of my Columbian friend who was my classmate during my university days in Melbourne at the most popular ‘Momo Festival’. It rained heavily and I ran quite a bit to seek shelter for my camera. I happened to pop into a corner of a food stall in the festival. Delighted I was, to see my old Columbian classmate gobbling up the Momos and the sauce. A rendezvous by chance after a long time ended up in having a long conversation about his love for Momos.

Almost all of my friends, Australians, Indians, Europeans or from other parts of the world know Momo and associate them with their Himalayan origins.

Honestly, far from Nepal, we eat Momos for breakfast, lunch or dinner. We lovingly accept Momos as our own. It’s something we strive for in our family and social gatherings. Momos win everyone’s hearts.

Celebrating this passion, love and desire for Momos have now become an annual festival in Melbourne. Conceptualized by Solangture Director, Raju Shakya and his team, the first Momo Festival in 2017 became a huge success in Melbourne. The popularity of the festival even earned Raju the nickname, ‘MoMo Dai’ (‘dai’ means brother in Nepali). The festival returned a year later in 2018 with two days of wonderful treat. Despite the foul weather, the festival drew huge numbers.

This year, the Momo Festival is back! Momos are set to tantalise the taste buds on Sunday, 17th March at Coburg Velodrome.

Raju tells us that this year will see a full spectrum of entertainment ranging from live music featuring international and local bands, DJs, multicultural performances, kids’ entertainment, face painting, workshops and Momo eating competitions! The exciting line-up also includes the Indigenous Hip Hop Projects which are making a positive impact to the indigenous youths through hip hop dance. Also featured are ‘The Kazoos’, one of Australia’s most acclaimed independent children’s entertainment acts, the popular local all-girl band – Party Girls (Divas of the 80’s show) and globally renowned Nepalese music sensation Bipul Chettri and the Travelling Band.

This annual festival has seen strong growth year after year and has also been listed in the list of best things to do in March in Melbourne by the popular digital lifestyle influencer ‘Time Out Melbourne’. Momo Fest is also mentioned by many popular food and event influencers on Instagram. The weekly printed magazine Moreland Leader, distributed to over 70,000 households in Moreland council, also features Momo Festival on a full spread.

Deepa Rai from the MoMo Festival organizing team informs us that the MoMo Fest 2019 has FREE ENTRY. The Festival also believes in giving back to the community. It is one of the first of many events that has embraced the green concept enforcing their vendors to use eco-friendly serving plates and take away boxes. Like previous years, one can give voluntary donations at the entry gate which will go towards MIT Group Foundation’s charity projects in Nepal to uplift the life of the disadvantaged communities in Nepal, especially in the education and health sectors.

We wish MoMos to make our lives beautiful as delicious they are, and become a top choice for people from any part of the world. Last but not the least, you will come across many cute, Tasty, Comforting, lovable, Bubbly, Sexy, Darling ‘Momos’—don’t miss the chance to tease your taste buds!