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Momo Madness Submitted by: byerswithoutborders
Thimphu, Bhutan

Being in Bhutan means adjusting how you celebrate March Madness. This year we filled out our brackets with momo restaurants instead of basketball teams. Momos are the ubiquitous fast food of Bhutan. They can be found from high-end tourist restaurants to street-level hawkers. I’ve eaten them in hospital canteens, at picnics, off plates and out of plastic bags. They were even offered as a post-race snack at the Bhutan International Marathon. Usually steamed, these little dumplings traditionally come in two flavors, meat (ground beef) or vegetarian (cabbage-cheese mixture). Occasionally fried, they always come 5 to a plate, with a good-sized dollop of chili. Oddly, momos are not Bhutanese at all, but a Tibetan import. And like many things Tibetan, they flourish outside their Chinese-occupied homeland. Having eaten hundreds of momos, and inspired by our friends at Eat Your World, we decided to create a momo-lovers guide to Thimphu. So, for any future volunteers, or tourists who can escape the guide-approved trail of bland buffets, we offer to you the standouts of the Thimphu momo scene. Please note, only veg momos were sampled during our research, as most were had during one of Bhutan’s meatless months. #1 Momo Corner Nestled next to the rice merchant’s area of the weekend market, these have to be our favorite momos in the capital. It is said the 5th king enjoys eating here. However, royal recognition is not the sole reason for their popularity. They seem to have the highest cheese to cabbage ratio (a bonus in our book) and both steamed and fried are on offer. Only open on market days, seating is sparse so be prepared to jostle. #2 Zambala 1 Whereas Zambala 1 is the quintessential momo dive, located down a small alley with plastic chair seating and camp-level hygiene standards. Locals agree this was the best momo in all of Thimphu until Momo Corner came to town. Many loyal adherents still claim they’re the best. An added bonus of Zamabala 1, is the option to wash down your snack with a cold beer. To read more of our favorites and notable mentions please visit