Sept. 26, 2018 By Tara Law
More than 1,000 people are expected to explore Jackson Heights and Elmhurst on Oct. 7 in a quest to try a unique Tibetan and Nepali specialty— the momo.
Attendees of the neighborhood’s seventh annual Momo Crawl are invited to taste $1 momos from more than 25 local Nepali and Tibetan restaurants.
After the crawl starts at Diversity Plaza at about 1 p.m., participants will tour restaurants serving momos in the area. Traditional Tibetan and Nepali music will play at the plaza until 5 p.m.
The event, which is being organized by the nonprofit Students for a Free Tibet and is sponsored the NYC Department of Transportation, aims to raise money for the nonprofit’s advocacy work and to promote the neighborhood’s vibrant restaurant scene.
What makes the momo crawl exciting is that each restaurant has a unique recipe, according to Urgyen Badheytsang, the crawl coordinator and the campaign director for Students for a Free Tibet.
While momos are basically meat-filled dumplings served with spicy sauce, each restaurant’s recipe varies significantly based on the origin of the chef, said Badheytsang.
In Tibet, momos typically accentuate the flavor of the meat, which is encapsulated inside the momo with soup.
Nepali momos, meanwhile, are known for their spices and the sauces served alongside. A famous Nepali specialty is the jhol momo— momos served in hot liquid chutney.
However, the diversity of momos goes far beyond whether a dish is Nepali or Tibetan, Badheytsang explained.
“Everyone makes their own momos,” Badheytsang said. “Even inside Tibet, different regions have different momos. Momos are different in every household, they’re different in every restaurant.”
“Passports” for the crawl, which serve as a guide to the participating restaurants cost $10. The passports also provide free transportation on a vintage trolley hired for the event, which will drive along the perimeter of the crawl.
Funds raised from the passports will go towards Students for a Free Tibet, and the restaurants will keep the proceeds from the momos.